In the past couple of years, we have seen a surge in the amount of high-definition remasters of our favorite titles from the most recent generation of games. These HD collections do not only give gamers a taste of some of the games that they have missed, but they are also a testament to the overwhelmingly diverse library of the PlayStation 2. Some of the more notable titles so receive this treatment have been franchises such as Devil May Cry, Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Jak & Daxter, Shadow of the Colossus, Ico, and Beyond Good & Evil, among many others.
The newest franchise to enter the fray of HD remasters will be the Dragonball Z Budokai series. The collection includes both DBZ Budokai and Budokai 3 – Budokai 2 has been excluded. One of the most important aspects about an HD collection is the graphics and how well they stand the test of time despite the HD treatment. They certainly do in this particular collection. The character models and animations are all of the cel-shaded variety – to give the gamer the impression that the events they are controlling are taking place in an actual episode of Dragonball Z – and they lend themselves very well to the high-definition.
All of the models and environments were very crisp and smooth, on par with games of this current generation. The combat has held up pretty well over the past 10 years, the animations are also very smooth and the controls still fall into the easily accessible ‘pick-up-and-play’ variety. Some of movement and accompanying animations can be stiff at times, but for a game that was so early in to the PS2’s life-cycle, it has been updated superbly thus far. Other updates to the games include trophy/achievement support in addition to a brand new score with the original Japanese score as an option.
One of the aspects of the collection’s announcement that generated a ton of ire in many fans of the franchise, in addition to inducing much head-scratching, was the exclusion of Dragonball Z Budokai 2. I recently had the chance to speak with Jason Enos, a Senior Brand Manager at Namco Bandai, about what their goals were with the HD collection and their reasoning behind not including Budokai 2.
“[Dragonball Z Budokai] one and three were set up very much as straight-forward fighting games where you chose your characters and battled,” said Enos. “One and three kind of represented the best for the compilation. One you get sort of the beginning of what the Budokai series was and what it became famous for…Budokai 3 gave you the final evolution and all of the improvements that happened during the process.” According to Enos, Budokai 2 introduced, “new elements to the franchise,” and definitely, “improved upon [Budokai] 1,” but these were elements that the developers felt were represented better in Budokai 3. Enos also noted that the decision to start with the Budokai series and their choices regarding the games in the collection were influenced primarily from research and analysis of what both the majority of the fans and press wanted. When asked about the possibility for online multiplayer in the collection, Mr. Enos could only state that they, “had not discussed that yet.”
Dragonball Z Budokai HD Collection is being developed by Namco Bandai for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 and will be released on November 9th, 2012.