E3 2012 Impressions: Dragon Ball Z Kinect (Microsoft Xbox 360)

Call me crazy, but when Namco Bandai announced that they were making a Dragon Ball Z Kinect, I couldn’t help but think that perhaps this would be the game that would make me want Microsoft’s motion peripheral. It has everything going against it: the motion controls might not work right, the game might not have much depth, there might be a lack of characters with which to play, and the list goes on and on. That didn’t stop me from remaining optimistic; my mind likening future experiences to that of Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 for the Wii (which I preferred to play with motion controls). So when I saw this game at the booth, I had to give it a try.

It took a little tinkering for the game to get calibrated and actually recognize my motions, but once I got started, the controls actually worked out quite well. There were a couple of scenes from the series from which to pick from, but I opted for the Goku vs. Vegeta fight from near the beginning of the series. As you play the game, you do so from a first person perspective, so the only thing you see in regards to your character is your hands. If you make punching and kicking motions towards the screen, your character will likewise do those things. If the enemy is far away, you can make pushing motions with your arms while your palms are open to shoot ki blasts at them. If they strike at you, you can duck, lean left or right, or block by putting your arms up. If there was a bit of an issue with the “controls”, it’s with this last bit. Mainly because you really have to exaggerate your motions in order to do these things which doesn’t always leave you with much time to perform them in the nick of time. Moves that require you to have your arms at your sides and do almost like a squatting motion similarly has to be done in a fashion that resembles someone wanting to use the toilet.

Performing the special moves is what made the experience, well, special. As Goku, if you cup your hands as he does, you can charge up a Kamehameha and then unleash it as you bring your hands forward. It takes some time to power up, so you only want to do this if your opponent is stunned or some distance away. When you finally pull it off and witness the devastation though, it makes it all worthwhile. Similarly, there are some other cinematic moves at your disposal that can be initiated by performing whatever motion that is detailed on the HUD located on the sides of the screen. Others are executed just by punching furiously enough, leading into a combo that allows you to smack them around in the air using different moves, as at certain points the combo will give you a choice of what motions can be performed before you actually perform them.

I was disappointed to hear that there would not be multiplayer in DBZ Kinect, according to the Namco Bandai rep that was helping me learn the game. He did say that there would be over 50 playable characters, which even though that doesn’t sound like much compared to previous DBZ games, it is a new approach for the series and there’s always the potential for DLC. At any rate, playing one battle was downright exhausting, so if nothing else this would make a great workout game. Dragon Ball Z Kinect will be releasing October 30th for Xbox 360.



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