Generally, video games based off of Dragon Ball are typically fighting games. Every once in a while, there may be something out of the ordinary such an RPG game or an adventure game. While those games may not be for everyone, it is great when the license branches out. One of the few instances is with a game series called Dragon Ball Heroes. The game started out as a Japan exclusive in arcades, that was created by Dimps (Company responsible for the Dragon Ball Budokai and Xenoverse series), that acted as a turn-based card battle RPG, which utilized real cards that would be automatically dispensed from playing the game, and could be used to battle with different characters.
Despite moving to the Nintendo 3DS and out of arcades, the series continued to stay exclusive to Japan, and importing wouldn’t work due to 3DS being region locked. Thankfully that has ended, and western Dragon Ball fans finally get a chance to try out this series, the newest entry in the series at that called Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission. How does the newest and most international friendly handle? Well, let’s hop on our Nimbus Cloud’s and take a look.
Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission is available for purchase on the Nintendo eshop for $29.99.
The game takes place in a world where the Dragon Ball characters are seen as fictional characters, and there’s a virtual game where players can use cards of all the characters from the series. Think of it like if Dragon Ball characters were the dual monsters in the Yu-Gi-Oh anime series. Beat, the main protagonist, is a young boy who is a huge Dragon Ball fan that wants to start playing the game and become the best player. He starts playing the game and does very well against players, and is introduced to a master of a group dedicated to playing the game, named Great Saiyaman 3. However, it get’s serious when the real world is attacked by characters from the series. Beat and his group of Dragon Ball Heroes players are transported to the world inside the card game, to find out what is causing this disturbance.
Unfortunately, the game is not dubbed in English, so there will be a lot of reading on the player’s part during cutscenes, as generally most smaller anime game releases are rarely dubbed anymore. It’s understandable, considering the scope and circumstances of the game, though still could have helped make the story more enjoyable. One of the largest draws of the Dragon Ball Heroes games is all of the “what-if” scenarios they bring to the table such as stories and versions of pre-existing characters. It’s refreshing that games like Fighterz and Xenoverse have been trying to do different things with the story of the series and this game is no exception. There’s interactions between characters that one would normally not expect such as Burter, Neize, and Dyspo teaming up because they’re all “the fastest in the universe”.
Beat and his allies also get to interact with the idols which is nice, especially in one case where the character named Froze, who idolizes Frieza, is shaken up from meeting him and almost being killed by him. One last little touch I thought was interesting, is that in the hub world there are many buildings and signs refrencing Dragon Ball characters and lore. While the story isn’t exactly groundbreaking, and can definitely be all over the place at times, it’s still enjoyable, full of fanservice, and provides yet another fresh take on the Dragon Ball universe.
The game has a hub world, where you can run around as Beat and visit various places to customize and add to your deck (your “party” in this game). The story proceeds in a chapter format, that consists of battles and maneuvering around a game board like design in which you can select battles, purely cutscenes, or mini-games to get items. The battle system takes time getting used to, but it’s simple while also not feeling mindless. It starts off very easy, but there is a jump in difficulty as the game goes on that isn’t overwhelming. While sometimes there is a lot going on, such as many different mini-games that are can be thrown at you, they’re all pretty simple and are a good way to keep the player engaged. The “mini-games” like charging up and timing when to hit a button, generally depend on the abilities of the characters that are being used.
You have a party of seven characters (or cards), that goes against another team. There are different layers on the board that cost different amounts of power and stamina from each character that you have to consider when to use them. At least early on, you can probably just put all your characters to the very front and have them all attack the opponents. It’s especially easier if you pre-ordered the game and got the powerful starter cards for DLC like I did. While battles are fun and engaging, they do tend to drag especially when you’re fighting more powerful opponents. There will be opponents who may only have one character in the deck, and the power level is so high that they always get to attack first and they take quite a bit of time to knock out. This can make some battles drag slightly, especially since there are a lot per chapter.
While Beat is the main character, you can choose what he looks like in during gameplay due to each main character having an in-game avatar. While the customization is non-existent compared to Xenoverse and Dragon Ball: Fusions, this game has the greatest selection of races to choose from. It was great to finally be able to have my avatar be an android or a demon. Not to mention there are two other classes you can unlock for each race, with different stats and abilities.
The fan service in this game is huge and one of the largest draws to it. There are many characters that rarely if ever get to be playable, as well as some forms and characters that are made up purely for the game. Unfortunately, this does come at the cost of many unique animations during battle. This is to be expected though, and at the very least each character does have their own unique super move. One aspect that is disappointing is that there are many characters that were in the Japanese 3DS games that sadly don’t appear in this. It was disheartening to hear that one of the “what-if” characters I was looking forward to the most (Baby Janemba) is not in the game. However, they have teased they are adding more (such as the version of Broly from the newest film). Even still it would’ve been better if the game was packaged with all characters from previous entries.
The primary method to generally unlock characters is through a “Gacha shop” which is entirely random, though they are divided into different packs that you can at least see what you can pull from. There are tickets that can be obtained from battles, a standard blue one and a rare gold one. There are doubles of characters you can get but they at least turn into smaller ticket pieces that could be exchanged for full tickets. Thankfully there are no microtransactions. Granted even though this is not the worst rng in recent games, getting a character you want could still take a while to obtain. You can all also create stickers with characters that you may not have in Create a Card mode, however, they can get very expensive with the in-game money.
Graphics And Sound
The graphics of this game are something do tend to be frowned upon. As they are graphics that have been used by Dimps, since the Budokai games back in the PS2 era. However, I think this is not an issue at all for a few reasons. First of all, there are many different models in this game due to the immense roster of characters. When a game has this large of a roster (fighter or not), typically the graphics tend to be reduced at least slightly. Secondly, the “Budokai” style graphics I think have aged fairly well. Not only that but as a frequent player of those games, these graphics are definitely at least slightly crisper and more smooth than Dimps’s older games. It isn’t exactly a shining aspect of the game, but it is definitely not a drawback.
In regards to sound, the sound effects used are sounds generally from the series, that most games have used now. It definitely conveys the feeling of Dragon Ball Z fights despite the uncommon genre for it. The music shares the same feel of previous Dimps Dragon Ball games, with it’s up beat rock and techno. Nothing entirely memorable, but it still can pump you up and get ready for battle. One memorable track is the game intro that also plays in the Dragon Ball Heroes episode shorts.
Overall, Super Dragon Ball Heroes is great for longtime Dragon Ball fans and provides a lot of fan service. It doesn’t even rely purely on fan service either and has a fun and mostly accessible battle system. As well as a long story mode and multiple other modes like Arcade and multiplayer. Some times the pace of the game does drag, and it would’ve been great if there was less random mechanics to unlock characters, as well as not having to wait for characters to be released that should’ve been part of the game. Otherwise, if you’re a Dragon Ball fan, that wants something different from a fighting game with a near unlimited roster, this game is definitely for you.
|+Fun addicting gameplay||-Battles can drag on at times|
|+Loads of Fanservice for Dragon Ball fans||-RNG character unlocking can be frustrating|
|+Fun and wacky storyline||-Missing characters from previous entries|
|+Good Replay value|