Games tied into the popular anime have ranged from borderline unplayable to pretty damn good and more recently, the Budokai series has evolved from tepid beginnings to become a genuinely entertaining fighting game by its third installment. And so with the expected array of tweaks and refinements, the series now moves into a smaller and more portable new home with rather pleasing results.
It’s hard to see how the game could be any easier to pick up and play. The Ki gauge plays a major part, allowing all manner of attacks and evasive maneuvers – simple Ki Blasts (small fireballs, if you will), teleport dodges and attacks, transformations into more powerful forms and massive special attacks consume gauge proportionate to their usefulness. By holding the left shoulder button, it’s possible to focus and charge the meter while the opposite trigger drains it in exchange for Aura Blasts that enable quicker movement, stronger attacks and guard breaks.
While the sumptuous cel-shaded visuals might imply that Goku Battle is a somewhat basic fighter, this couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s fair to say that the combo system itself – a traditional set of strings and chains – can be filed under S for ‘simple’ but even though the game can be enjoyed and played to a fair standard with just a strong grasp of the basics, you’ll find as many advanced techniques here as you would in any traditional 2D beat-’em-up.
Kara-cancelling (quickly cancelling a basic attack into a throw or special for increased range), buffering moves and all manner of cancels are present and correct and it really is a joy to see such detail in what could easily have been left as a simplistic fighting game. Using the guard button (defaults to X) to cancel charged moves can be tough, since the main basic attacks that can be cancelled are activated by holding the triangle button, so unless you have the world’s thinnest fingers or a third hand, that combo is pretty tricky. Through practice or reconfiguration, it is possible but unless you’re playing a human opponent, there’s not much demand for such trickery anyway – it’s unlikely to fool AI opponents as it would a real player.
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