Eric Kelly On November 6, 2015 at 2:13 pm

Dragon Ball Z Extreme Butoden Logo

CONTEST ALERT! We are giving away a copy of Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden for 3DS to anyone in North America! Void where prohibited by law or affiliated with Gametactics, Namco Bandai Games and it’s promoters.

Simply LIKE the Gametactics page here (not a post, the actual page) to be entered to win. You can also follow us on Twitter to get a bonus entry! A random Facebook follower or Twitter follower will be chosen on November 30th at 12:01AM and will be contacted via Facebook or Twitter (existing followers and likers of Gametactics are already entered, no need to dislike/re like the page). Now go enjoy the review of the game below.

While the Butoden series of Dragon Ball Z Fighting games have remained home in Japan. But this game in particular is but a Butoden in name only, as many of the things that made that series stand out aren’t fully represented here. It’s also the third DBZ game developed by Arc System Works, and compared to its previous efforts, it’s lacking. There are a few interesting features that still make the game stand out a little, but it’s only just barely enough to hold any Dragon Ball fan’s interest.

The game is pretty much setup like many other Dragon Ball games, with a story mode, versus mode, and a Tournament Mode. Though you do need to play Story mode once to unlock Tournament Mode, but you also need to play Adventure Mode as well. Story Mode is just a typical abridged version of the Dragon Ball Z story line leading all the way up to end of the Buu Arc. There are character specific scenarios that unlock which offer ‘what-if’ scenarios, but most of these are just slight variations of the events in the series. It’s only when the Bad Guys storyline unlocks that it deviates quite a bit. Although the story mode in of itself is really not terribly interesting, existing as a means to unlock Adventure Mode. Adventure Mode is an alternate Story Mode where Li Shenlong from Dragon Ball GT for whatever reason has the power of Minus Energy, and has used it to resurrect all of the villains from the entire series. So of course the Z Team needs to save the day. Unlike story mode where your character is locked in, you can take on the challenge of a mission with any combination of playable characters. You can also buy items to help you in battle. The game feels like a challenge mode, with each mission needing specific requirements to clear them, like using a Super Combo three times before taking the opponent out.

The gameplay itself plays out like a simple fighter. You have a weaker melee attack, a strong attack, a dash maneuver, and a ki attack. The R button charges up you Ki Meter, while the L button is combined with the other attack buttons to launches specific moves. The rest of the signature attacks and super moves are executed by successfully pulling out different combos of attacks strings. They feel like the DBZ fighting game’s signature ‘Meteor Rush’ attacks and are also reminiscent of DIMPS own Budokai games. In fact unlike this game has more in common with that series than the Butoden name it borrows from, and that’s a big part in why the game falls short.

While the combat itself is simple and still fun, the game has a number of baffling design decisions that work against it. You can use both playable characters and Z-assist characters, which aren’t unlike the support characters in a Capcom Vs. game. The only problem is that most of them are unlocked through Adventure Mode, but only if you can get an S-Rank in a mission. Getting an S-Rank is of course difficult, meaning that you likely won’t be using them unless you want to invest the time into unlocking them. Not to mention that the game doesn’t give you any tips for getting a good rank. Another issue with the Z-Assists is that many of the playable characters that you might want to play as only exist as assists. Too many of the actual roster are just Super Sayian or other variations of one character, rather than it be something that they can transform into instead. The Z-Assists are also only accessible via touch controls, which might make it hard to pull-off if you are in the middle of a fight. The other big issue is that there is only limited using of flying in the game. Basically, the only way to fight in the air is to pull off a combo that launches the opponent in the air, and vice-versa. The special moves usually accomplish this, but good luck trying to pull-it off without eliminating your opponent, as the characters have small Hit Point counts. I imagine that VS. play is the real attraction of the game, but the fact of the matter is that there is currently no online play, although it will be added later. But you will still have to slog through the single player portions to get the most out of it.

At the end of the day, Extreme Butoden is at best extremely handicapped, and the game is a Butoden game in name only. Even the other Arc System Works games are better made than this. Voice-acting is Japanese only, although much of the work is heard through short voice samples. Music is pretty forgettable, although the visuals are pretty good. The sprites are large and decently animated. Considering the game’s issues, it’s hard to recommend to fans of the series or the genre, at least at this point. I’d wait until Online plays is ready, as you might be hard-pressed to find local players to fight with.


A simple fighting engine which while still entertaining, is hampered by having every attack being linked to a combo, among other issues.


The game doesn’t really use 3D effects all that much, but the sprites are nicely animated and are large.


Music is mostly just there for background noise. The game also only uses Japanese voice-acting, but it only amounts to battle cries and short phrases.


The game is a simple fighting game that is entertaining, but only barely rises above mediocrity, due to several design decisions.

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