Namco had its upcoming PSP fighter based on the new Dragonball movie, Dragonball Evolution playable in its booth at New York Comic-Con. The game is being developed by Dimps, the studio that's been cranking on the DBZ fighters since the PlayStation 2, and feels a lot like those fighters. The unsettling aspect of the game is that the roster of fighters is patterned after the movie cast, so fans should prepare themselves for Goku to look more Canadian than he ever has. But once you get over the shock of Canadian Goku and Chow Yun-Fat (who plays Goku's mentor, Master Roshi) fighting, the game's got a solid feel to it. Dimps has changed the fighting system up a bit and scaled back the over the top attacks and flying. You'll still be able to do fast combos with punches and kicks, but some ki powered attacks, like Goku's kamehameha, will be more like the super moves in Street Fighter. You'll still be able to add some extra kick to your combos by hitting the ki button but you'll just trigger special melee attacks. This may sound a little straightforward but there's still some craziness to be had in battle with ki attacks. For example, Bulma drops motorcycles on you. While that's not quite the same as flying up in the air and unleashing a globe shattering fireball, at least it's something.
The work in progress game in the booth let us poke around menus and see the different game modes set to be included which should offer a decent amount of stuff to do. The arcade mode is a straightforward run through the roster with some light story sequences peppered through it. The story mode mirrors the movie's story and has you playing as different characters in each fight. The mission mode lays out character specific challenges for the members of the roster. The training mode will let you practice combos against a customizable computer opponent. Finally the game is set to feature an online battle mode, although it sounds like its local ad hoc and not proper online via infrastructure mode on the PSP but we'll doublecheck that next week.
If you can gloss over the movie tie-in Dragonball Evolution feels like another solid DBZ fighter from Dimps. The action is responsive, the fighting system is solid, and there's a decent helping of modes to try. The graphics don't look as sharp since the fighters are modeled after actual people and the stages are based on locations in the film. We reckon this one's going to be a tough sell even to die hard fans considering the reaction the movie's been getting, but at least the combat's solid. Have a look at the game in motion to see for yourself.