Hey what’s this Dragon Ball: Origins 2 all about? It’s a sequel to a game based on an anime, based on a manga, based on the true story of a boy with a monkey tail that rode a cloud (Look it up!). This action game takes everything from its predecessor and continues on with the story, which is great if you loved the first game and just wanted to play a lot more of it.
Origins 2 picks up where the original left off, and follows the anime’s plot through the next few arcs. Goku travels to the frozen north, fights the Red Ribbon Army, and meets back up with Krillin, Yamcha, and Bulma. The game is definitely geared towards fans of the series. If you’ve never watched the show, or didn’t play the previous game, you won’t know what’s going on.
Each level is loosely based on an episode of the series (all the important plot elements are told through cutscenes). Goku runs through the world in the same top-down view as the first game, beating up every animal, person, and animal-person he finds. Usually after punching his way through wolves, soldiers, and furries, the little Saiyan has to fight a boss.
Everything stays pretty fast-paced in the game (grades are given based on level completion time, urging players to make haste). Goku can use either his fists or his power pole, which offer different advantages.
I really like the combat in the game. It was like a 3D beat-em-up and the combo system worked well. Origins 2 is actually pretty difficult, forcing players to learn the combos and defensive moves if they want to beat the game without resorting to cheating (it’s easy to stock up on a large quantity of health packs if you know which levels to spam over and over). The bosses especially test a player’s skill, sometimes requiring him to play defensively, or to figure out the environmental triggers needed to make the enemy vulnerable. It’s pretty standard videogame strategy, but each boss plays differently, which is nice because the gameplay between is somewhat repetitive.
What keeps the game from getting overly repetitive are the additional playable characters. Krillin, Bulma, and Yamcha all play pretty big roles in the game, and players even control other people like Android 8. Each character has slightly different mechanics, so it keeps the game fresh for longer.
Origins 2 has two control options: buttons and stylus. Moving around is a lot smoother with the stylus controls instead of the D-pad, but combat works well for both. I found pulling off combos to be easier to pick up initially with the buttons, but ultimately the stylus controls offer more precision.
I do wish the game looked better. Everything looks fine from a distance, but when the characters models get enlarged for the cutscenes everything looks jaggy and pixelated. It’s a limit of the DS hardware, but there are workarounds for using low res character models (namely not making them gigantic).
Dragon Ball: Origins 2 is unabashedly for fans of the series. It’s not a game for people who like the big, over-the-top battles of Dragon Ball Z, or people who are looking to learn more about the story. This is a game for people that already adore the manga and anime. There’s a lot for fans to like: good controls, tough bosses, and multiple playable characters. However, it gets repetitive, and honestly the game could look a lot better than it does.