After what feels like an eternity, Dragon Ball Fusions for the Nintendo 3ds has finally released for Europe, New Zealand and Australia. But was it worth the wait? Dragon Ball fusions starts off with letting you create your own OC (original character) and gives you the option to chose from 1 of 5 starting races such as Saiyan and Namekian, but for the most part what race you choose doesn’t really affect the story or game-play too much.
The story here is pretty much Deviant Art tier, but I found myself oddly enjoying it’s quirky charms. During dialog it should be noted that sometimes text cuts off or just make no sense, whether this is a result of a bug or just poor translation I don’t know. The story follows your OC and his Saiyan friend Pinich just after they summoned Shenron and wish for a tournament to decide the strongest in the universe. This leads to a disturbance in the time space and basically Dragon Ball characters from across all media get brought forth into the world.
Gameplay consists of flying around areas from the Dragon Ball universe and recruiting famous characters, as well as several hundred original characters made up for the game, then battling other teams. A team consists of 5 characters and characters can have 1 of 3 attributes which follow a rock, paper, scissors deal. The game recommends you try to build a team with enough variety, but aside from how the Ki blasts work, I didn’t really notice any differences to how the characters played.
The combat is turned based with a bar at the bottom showing when each character will get to have their turn. Each character can choose to attack physically, shoot a ki blast, use a special move (which requires charging ki) or charging their ki. Some fused characters will usually have an EX move as well, which can do anything like power them up, or speed up an ally. After progressing in the story a bit you also gain access to an Ultra gauge which allows you 2 more options in battle and is charged over the course of a battle.
The first ability Being Zenkai Attack, which uses 1 bar of ultra and basically allows you to do a super powered version of one of your special techniques (Zenkai Attacks are also how you recruit characters in battle). The other being Ultra fusion, which requires at least 1 bar of ultra gauge but will use however much you have saved up regardless. This fuses all 5 characters into one extremely strong character and admittedly makes all the fights a breeze. Ultra fusion only lasts for one attack, which consists of a mini-game where you chase the enemies down and pulverise them before blowing them up.
While the story and fighting make up the meat of Dragon Ball Fusions, the game does sport a few additional things to do. These additions include daily quizzes which give you prizes, side-quests for experience and additional characters, clothes to collect to dress up your character, and perhaps best of all a Pokemon-esque goal of recruiting all the games characters which consists of both the main characters as well as several hundred original characters, though most are just re-skins of each other. Also, disappointingly, most of the Dragon Ball cast isn’t available till post game, which takes some of the fun away.
Fusions does possess online modes but I was unable to get a connection and try these out. Perhaps the biggest draw of Fusions is discovering all the possible character fusions, but sadly unlike advertised, not everyone can fuse with each other. The only way to bypass this being to register a character to streetpass and hope you pass someone who has as well, which may have worked great for Japan, but the rest of the world isn’t so hot on Streetpass. So this seems ultimately like an odd choice.
At the end of the day Dragon Ball Fusions is a fun little game, although its likely to get more mileage out of Dragon Ball fans than anyone else. I found myself “fused” to my 3ds for the whole 50 or so hours I played before setting it down, despite its flaws like text issues and only having the Japanese voices. I look forward to picking it up again when I have some more spare time. If you’re a fan of Dragon Ball I highly recommend giving Fusions a go, or hell even if you’re not, but enjoy games where you have tons of characters to unlock you might still find it enjoyable.