DragonBall Z: Burst Limit nails the aesthetic that fans have longed for, while simultaneously providing a solid fighter.
Burst Limit's story spans across the first three sagas of the anime, Saiyan Saga, Frieza Saga, and Android Saga. The game also covers the Legendary Super Saiyan movie saga, and the fight with Bardock against Frieza, along with some interesting what-if battles with Bardock against the Z-fighters. With this story, when a battle calls for the villain to win, you get to play as that villain. You have every important fight in each saga, and some battles have two parts to them. This depends on whether it is a continuation of the same battle, or if you play the same match from the perspective from another character. The cutscenes draw extremely close to the anime and offer a special treat to those who watch the anime. Over the course of the story, you will unlock more characters, partners, and Drama Pieces (which will be discussed later).
The graphics of this game are among the most beautiful I have ever seen in any DBZ game up to this date. The cell-shaded character models, and spectacular lighting give the characters a distinct anime feel. The stages are amazing to look at too, but the action is what will grab your attention the most. The aura effects, attacks, and cutscenes really create an atmosphere the deepest of devoted fans will cringe at the sight.
When you first start the game, you are presented with only three characters, but you will unlock more as the story progresses. What is unique in this game is that you can choose a partner from the roster, and an ultimate attack before the match.
The most distinct feature of Burst Limit, drama pieces take the game's presentation to an unprecedented level. These are basically cutscenes that are short references to the anime, and when certain conditions have been met (ex. use a super attack on your opponent), these drama pieces activate, and grant bonuses that vary from drama piece to drama piece. Although long, they make you feel like you are directly controlling the anime.
For those who are fans of the Budokai-style games, Burst Limit will feel very familiar to you. Going to the Budokai formula, you fight with classic Budokai controls. Some of the new additions to the gameplay are the Aura Spark, which allows you to use more, and more powerful techniques and Ultimate Attacks. Ki is automatically filled during the match, but supers do not drain energy. There is plenty to learn with the combo system, and seems to fix the problems that the original Budokai games had with the move lists (only the combos that can be canceled into supers are displayed).
Aside from Story, you get Versus, Online, Time Attack, Survival, and Drama battle. Pretty much the fighting game norm, but Drama battle is peculiar. When choosing your character, you are restricted to using certain Drama Pieces, and you fight against random opponents. For certain battles, you can unlock secret drama pieces, so that encourages replay value.
Enough with the fanboyism, let's get to the issues with the game. First off, the character roster is severely lacking when compared to other Budokai games. The roster amounts to 21 characters, not counting transformations, because you cannot choose your transformation before-hand. The online gameplay runs smooth while fighting opponents in the same region, but fighting international opponents results in noticable lag that makes it frustrating at best, and unplayable at worst.
I thought that the game was superb. Being a DBZ fan (as hinted by my username), I felt as if I was looking at the anime inside of a video game, which I enjoyed far more than I should. My only nit-picking with the game is the lack-luster roster. While it has every important character from the story, the option to choose your transformation before battle and adding some minor characters to the roster would have helped the game a little more.
DragonBall Z: Burst Limit is an amazing game. However, it is just shy of otherworld greatness. With its stellar presentation, slick fighting, and lengthy story, it is just too difficult to stay away from this game. Despite a few shortcomings, the game is true to the anime from start to finish, and fans will definitely have something to keep them busy for a long time. To wrap this up, the only thing I can say about the rating I give it: "IT'S OVER 9000!!!"