Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai Another Road First Look

Atari shows off its newest portable brawler for the PSP based on the anime classic.

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With the success of last year's Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai for the PSP, Atari and developer Dimps are prepping a new installment in the portable branch of the fighting series. Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai - Another Road offers refinements and new content to the framework of last year's game. We had the chance to try out a work-in-progress version of the game to see how the follow-up is coming along.

The follow up to last year's DBZ Shin Budokai, Another Road is heading to the PSP in March.
The follow up to last year's DBZ Shin Budokai, Another Road is heading to the PSP in March.

Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai - Another Road stays true to the winning formula introduced in the Budokai series on consoles three years ago, which set the standard for the recent renaissance of DBZ games. For fans who suffered through the earlier less-than-stunning entries in the series, 2002's Dragon Ball Z: Budokai was akin to discovering fire. Given the positive response to the game and its successors, Atari and Dimps aren't straying too far from what's come before. You'll find your standard array of modes, such as another road (the story mode), arcade, network, and Z trial. The story mode features a new twist on the DBZ narrative by offering an alternative scenario that follows Trunks in a distinctly different future from the established lore. The network mode offers ad hoc combat for two players. Finally, the Z trial mode features three different match types to test your skills: survival, time attack, and challenge. The roster of 24 fighters will feature a mix of fan favorites from Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT, and the Dragon Ball movies.

Combat in the game is faithful to the previous installment and leans more toward the system seen in the third console game. You'll have the same core attacks as in previous games: rush attack on the square button, smash attack on the triangle, and ki attack on the circle. You'll block with the X button, charge your ki with the left shoulder button, and trigger your aura burst with the right trigger.

The visuals in the game are on par with last year's game, offering some minor improvements to the camera system. Characters are detailed and sport a pseudo cel-shaded look that approximates the look of the anime and manga. The environments share the same aesthetic, but they feature the expected layer of interactivity, as it just wouldn't be a Dragon Ball game if you couldn't knock someone through a mountain. The crazy fighting is enhanced, as always, by a host of special effects to highlight various attacks, transformations, and crazy ultimate attack madness.

Much like the gameplay, Another Road's audio isn't straying from the standards set by the last game. You'll hear ample amounts of voice from the anime's voice actors, who nail their business like pros. Combat yields the same solid array of collisions and effects for everyone's attacks, with the supers offering the craziest audio.

Twenty four fighters will be featured in the game, drawing from both the DBZ television shows and the movies.
Twenty four fighters will be featured in the game, drawing from both the DBZ television shows and the movies.

Based on what we played, Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai - Another Road is shaping up to be a solid follow-up to Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai. The game appears to be covering its bases with its selection of characters and new modes. Although you won't find anything earth shattering, the new "what if" scenario adds an interesting wrinkle that should please fans. The multiplayer support is solid, but as with last year's game, we'd hoped for something more robust. If you're a fan of the DBZ fighters or dig last year's game, you'll want to keep an eye out for Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai - Another Road when it ships this March for the PSP.

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