Dragon Ball Z: Infinite World Hands-On

We go for one last romp on the PS2 with Goku and the Dragon Ball Z cast.

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The popular spiky-haired Saiyan is back in Dragon Ball Z: Infinite World, where developer Dimps--responsible for the Budokai series--has taken the best features from the last three games and combined it into Infinite World. This PlayStation 2 game is still a fighting game at its core, but it includes minigames to break up the gameplay and a cast of over 40 characters to choose from. This may be the last time we see a Dragon Ball Z game on the PlayStation 2 from Atari, and from our brief playtime with a yet-to-be-finished build at Atari's Gamers' Day in San Francisco, it seems to be coming along nicely.

It wouldn't be Dragon Ball Z without the Kamehameha.
It wouldn't be Dragon Ball Z without the Kamehameha.

Fans of the series should note that the story will cover all of the Dragon Ball Z storyline as well as some of Dragon Ball GT. For newcomers, this wouldn't be a bad place to start, as you can catch up with the entire Dragon Ball Z storyline with Infinite World. We sat with producer Donny Clay, who told us that the game could take anywhere from 15 to 20 hours to complete, depending on the player and how thorough you want to be.

Whether or not you liked the board game system from Budokai 2, it's back, and you have the freedom to walk around the map and hit up locations for a battle or a minigame. More areas will open up as you complete the markers on the map. The single-player campaign is called "Dragon Missions," and that's where you'll progress through the story and see scenes from the series. Different mission types are spread throughout; sometimes you'll play in a time attack mode, or sometimes you'll have to fight under certain parameters such as beating your opponent using your energy beam only.

We got a chance to play around with Goku in a few matches to see how the controls work. Infinite World will look and feel like a simplified version of Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, which was released earlier this year. Your battles aren't limited to the area that you start in, and the over-the-top special attacks are fun to watch and a blast to execute, once you've figured out how. The controls feel solid and responsive in the battles that we played, and the developer has included moves from previous games such as teleportation.

The minigames are what Dimps included for the fans, and even though the meat of the game is still in the fighting, some of the minigames we saw could be a welcome break. They weren't very involved or complicated; the ones we checked out included shooting boxes out of the sky and chasing around a monkey. We were told that there would be a variety of games to check out when it's done, so hopefully we'll get to see more of those soon.

That monkey is as slippery as a banana.
That monkey is as slippery as a banana.
The cel-shaded graphics look great, and the original Japanese and English voice actors can be set in the options. We were told that there's also character customization similar to Budokai 2 that uses the capsule system--so by using the in-game currency zeni, you can build your characters and beef them up with special abilities. There is a training mode for beginners, plus a secret mode for players to discover.

Be sure to check back soon for more details, because Goku's final appearance on the PS2 will be in November.

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