Full of ingenuity, Dragon Ball Fusions proves that there’s still room for creativity in the Dragon Ball game library. With its endless number of fusions and surprisingly unique turn-based gameplay, Dragon Ball Fusions is another delight for fans of the series everywhere.
Dragon Ball Fusions
Console: Nintendo 3DS (reviewed)
Developer: Bandai Namco
MonsterVine was provided with a code for review
Having recently reviewed Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, one would think that I may be tapped out on Dragon Ball. Luckily, that’s not actually possible, so I jumped at the opportunity to review Dragon Ball Fusions. An RPG revolving around fusion sounds like a lot of fun, and thankfully, it is.
The plot of Dragon Ball Fusions is light, fun, and silly. Similar to the concept of the Xenoverse series, all of the timelines, canons, and characters of the Dragon Ball universe are mixed into one universe, but this time, for a huge tournament, wished for by your avatar, and rival Saiyan Pinnich. The story doesn’t try to be canon, or overly serious. If you’re going into Fusions expecting a serious, Xenoverse-style plot, you’ll be disappointed, but that’s not how Fusions should be approached. It’s a silly, fanservice stuffed story about fighting and friendship, which is the real core of the franchise.
Dragon Ball Fusions‘s gameplay is surprisingly diverse, as it successfully combines more unconventional RPG gameplay with the action of Dragon Ball Z. In battles, you and your team of four other characters take turns attacking enemies with melee attacks, ki blasts, and special attacks. The best part of combat is that, unlike most RPGs, your characters aren’t stationary. As you pick which enemy to attack, you’ll fly towards them in the “fighting ring” stage that each battle takes place on. From there, you’ll choose what side to attack from, as they choose what side to guard from. If you land an attack, you’ll hit your enemy and send them flying in the direction you attacked from.
“It’s a silly, fanservice stuffed story about fighting and friendship, which is the real core of the franchise.”
Enemies sent flying can collide with other enemies to deal extra damage, or your teammates to have them deal out their own mini-attacks. By hitting enemies near the edge of the ring, you can hit them out of bounds, inflicting damage, and resetting their turn-position. Enemies can do this as well, so it’s a matter of protecting yourself while maximizing the damage you do. Enemies are surprisingly intelligent, often targeting your weaker characters, those near the edge of the ring. This provides an interesting and uncommon type of difficulty that keeps battles from getting boring.
Outside of battle, you spend most of your time battling random fighters (not from the Dragon Ball canon universe) in order to gather energy to access new areas, and to recruit them as your own units. You can see these enemies on screen, making “random” encounters much more tolerable. You won’t necessarily need to do a lot of battling to collect the necessary energy for progressing, making Fusions a pretty speedy playthrough.
The real appeal of Dragon Ball Fusions is, unsurprisingly, fusing characters together. Every silly fusion you ever imagined is likely possible. Fusing Tien-Shinhan and Chaozu, or Goku and Krillin, or yourself and anybody (even a Saibaman) is as entertaining as it is useful. Combining the stats and attacks of your characters has you trying out all sorts of fusions, trying to find the perfect ones that are a combination of statistically powerful, and visually entertaining. Having to assign moves to characters every time you fuse or defuse characters can be a pain, but it’s by no means a major frustration.
The visuals of Fusions are a combination of Akira Toriyama’s iconic visual style with a more chibi-style. This works with the story’s tone perfectly, as everyone and everything looks bright and cheerful. They aren’t the most detailed or clean visuals , but the two styles blend really nicely, and make Fusions feel like a joyful romp.
Fusions‘ sound is just alright. While it’s fittingly fast-paced and exciting, it isn’t very memorable. Very few tracks stand out, making Fusions fall into the typical Dragon Ball game trap of having unremarkable music that serves more as a score than a soundtrack. The iconic sound effects are back, and the voice acting is entirely Japanese. While I love the Japanese cast, they’re incredibly different than the English cast, and will be very off-putting to people who aren’t accustomed to it.
The Final Word
Dragon Ball Fusions is a surprisingly unique RPG. Not only does it do the Dragon Ball license justice, embracing the silliness and fun behind fusing characters, but it also manages to give players a fun and robust experience. While it isn’t an overly long game, with a forgettable soundtrack, Fusions is a ton of fun that RPG and Dragon Ball fans are sure to love.
MonsterVine Rating: 4 out of 5 – Good