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Dragon Ball: 5 Things GT Did Better Than Z (& Vice Versa)

Comparing Dragon Ball GT to Dragon Ball Z should be a recipe for disaster. After all, the former is the reviled sequel to one of the most influential and important franchises of all time. Even as an anime, Dragon Ball Z was as much a game changer as its manga counterpart. Here’s the thing, though: Dragon Ball Z was always just an adaptation with flaws. 

RELATED: 10 Things You Never Knew About Goku’s Gi In Dragon Ball

With that in mind, how different was it really when compared to the series that followed it up? Dragon Ball GT may not have had a manga to base its story off of, but it was the direct continuation of Dragon Ball Z, sharing many of its strengths and flaws. When it comes down to it, it even outshone Dragon Ball Z in some areas. 

10 GT: Pacing

It doesn’t matter how bland or uninteresting Dragon Ball GT is when it actually manages to tell a cohesive story with next to no padding. No, not every episode is good (most aren’t) and the series does love wasting time, but only ever one episode at a time. Rarely does GT drag itself out the way Z did. 

To be fair, Dragon Ball Z was following a manga and ended up needing to pad out of necessity, but that doesn’t excuse its faults. When it comes to pacing, Dragon Ball Z does a pretty bad job that comes off even worse when taking into account the manga’s naturally fast pace. 

9 Z: Character Development

GT might have an edge when it comes to pacing, but it has nothing on Dragon Ball Z when it comes to character development. Akira Toriyama is a master when it comes to character writing. With a single moment, he can naturally pivot a character down a new path or revelation. Since his writing wasn’t used for GT, it only makes sense that the series suffers as a result. 

Worse yet, GT has two characters prime for development: Oob and Pan. Unfortunately, while they both have character arcs, they don’t develop naturally, consistently, or satisfyingly. Pan especially is a bit of a disappointment considering how much of the series she’s in and how little she meaningfully develops. 

8 GT: Completing Character Arcs

With that said, however, Dragon Ball GT does do something Dragon Ball Z doesn’t: it definitely ends character arcs. Not just that, it respects character arcs that are over. It doesn’t bother bringing back fully developed characters, even refusing to leave them in the background. If someone is developed, they simply won’t participate much. 

Piccolo’s arc comes to a definitive close, ending with him dying while reflecting on his relationship with Gohan; Vegeta’s arc is already over by the time the series starts and he acts far more mature and less egotistical as a result; and characters like Yamcha and Tenshinhan exist in the background as their arcs are long over. Fans may not like it, but it allows GT to breathe as its own show. 

7 Z: Resolving Character Arcs

That said, Dragon Ball Z may not complete most arcs, but it does resolve them. Every single character in the series’ run either started DBZ with a resolved arc or reaches a natural resolution. This isn’t hyperbole, either, this is true for every character in Dragon Ball Z. The heroic ones at least. 

RELATED: Dragon Ball Super: 10 Changes It Makes To The Canon

GT doesn’t have that luxury. Goku doesn’t even have an arc to resolve in GT after the Baby arc (and even then his character arc is very weak.) Dragon Ball Z, on the other hand, is constantly pushing Goku forward, resolving his current arc with each passing saga. As a result, characters may linger in the background, but always with the promise that they might be developed further. If not, they’re in a good spot. 

6 GT: The Music

Dragon Ball Z’s music is legendary. Anyone who grew up with the real soundtrack will never forget Cha-La Head Cha-La or Zenkai Power. That said, this doesn’t mean that Dragon Ball GT’s music isn’t great as well. Specifically, its opening and ending themes. Everyone knows Dan Dan Kokoro Hikareteku, but those endings are equally fantastic. 

With four different ending themes, most of which are actually sampled in the show’s score, Dragon Ball GT ends up creating a very cohesive sound that doesn’t rely on Dragon Ball or Dragon Ball Z’s scores. The fact that Kikuchi didn’t work on the soundtrack is a minus, but the fact it doesn’t sound derivative is a huge plus. 

5 Z: The Score

Speaking of Kikuchi, Dragon Ball GT really cannot compete when it comes to pure score. The music that plays during Dragon Ball Z’s moment to moment action is incredible. Well, so long as it’s not the Faulconer soundtrack. Kikuchi’s original score is downright legendary, solidifying a tone for Dragon Ball that perfectly matches Toriyama’s manga. 

It isn’t as if GT’s score is bad, far from it, but it lacks Kikuchi’s signature style while also just lacking his general quality. He understood Dragon Ball on a level that no other composer for the series has other than Kenji Yamamoto. 

4 GT: Gohan’s Character 

Gohan has an incredible character arc in Dragon Ball Z… that doesn’t really reach a logical conclusion. After coming to terms with the fact that he needs to take responsibility for the world and train himself even during times of peace (both in the Cell arc and even more prominently in the Boo arc,) he ends the series a retired martial artist. 

RELATED: Dragon Ball: The 10 Best Villain Transformations, Ranked

Which Dragon Ball GT completely ignores. Yes, he’s a scholar now, but he’s a scholar who understands the importance of his own power, going so far as to keep his Gi around in the event that he needs to suit up and fight. He may not be the Great Saiyaman anymore, but he’s a scholar who also happens to be a martial artist instead of one over the other. 

3 Z: Fight Choreography 

There really is no competition when it comes to Akira Toriyama’s fight choreography. Although the Boo arc’s fights are noticeably shorter, Toriyama never loses his luster, providing amazing moment-to-moment action in a clean, refreshing way. Something the Dragon Ball Z anime adaptation translates rather well. 

Goku’s first fight with Vegeta is a standpoint example. It’s a movie quality fight in a weekly anime, and it’s easily the best bit of animated action the series has ever seen (sorry Dragon Ball Super: Broly.) Dragon Ball GT doesn’t have anything that even compares to Akira Toriyama’s choreography at its absolute worst. 

2 GT: The Final Battle

The final fight against Pure Boo is incredibly cool. Goku, Vegeta, Mr. Satan, and Fat Boo all work together to take him down. But it’s not Dragon Ball Z’s final battle, that honor belongs to Oob. And, while it’s an interesting fight, it doesn’t last long and it isn’t too exciting. By proxy, Dragon Ball GT has something of an edge. 

Of course, choreography wise, it doesn’t compare, but the final fight against Omega Shenron is surprisingly emotional and somber. Dragon Ball GT takes on a completely different vibe in its final episodes and it leads to a sentimental finale that transitions rather well from the final battle. Many would argue that GT’s ending is better as a result, but many would be wrong. 

1 Z: The Ending

Yes, the seemingly reviled ending to Dragon Ball Z is better than GT’s. Why? Because it actually feels Dragon Ball. GT goes too sentimental, contextualizing Dragon Ball as an epic scope story that begins and ends with Goku. DBZ takes a more mature approach, keeping things grounded and focusing on the series’ core themes.To someone who only watches Dragon Ball Z for the action, the ending is underwhelming. For those who cares about the arcs and themes (while also understanding Goku’s character,) it’s a poignant finale that lingers on threads that link back all the way back to the beginning of the franchise. What’s not to love?

NEXT: Dragon Ball: The 10 Best Fights (That Don’t Feature Goku)


2019-07-12 01:07:32

Renan Fontes

KOTOR & Dragon Age Lead Designer To Head New Wizards Of The Coast Studio

Wizards of the Coast announced earlier today that the company would be launching a brand new studio in Austin, Texas, that will be headed by industry veteran James Ohlen. Ohlen is famous for a 22-year career at BioWare that saw him garner design and writing credits for Dragon Age: Origins, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire, Neverwinter Nights, and the Baldur’s Gate series.

Ohlen stated when he left BioWare that he wanted to get back to Dungeons & Dragons, a game he loved, launching Arcanum Worlds, a publishing venture he co-founded and one that will release a new adventure book called Odyssey of the Dragonlords. Ohlen has a pedigree in role-playing games, and Wizards of the Coast has made a push to digitize its tabletop offerings, with the recent Magic: Arena online game garnering hundreds of thousands of views on Twitch and generating an esports tournament series that will award $10 million in 2019 alone.

Related: Fixing BioWare’s Problems Are A Top Priority For Studio

Wizards of the Coast’s new studio will have a strong start with Ohlen at the helm, a lead designer who can draw on decades of role-playing game experience to craft whatever venture will be the first project for the Austin-based company. Ohlen himself stated he was a little taken back by returning to gaming so quickly after he’d publicly stated his wishes to depart for a while to pursue other ventures, but in a quote released during the announcement, he also acknowledged it was an opportunity he was intrigued by:

I didn’t think that I would be coming back to the game industry so soon but working with Wizards is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Our mutual love of RPGs, world-building, and interactive storytelling is a perfect match.”

It’s unclear exactly what that match will end up producing, but it will involve something new, as the press release also stated that the studio will focus on creating an “original IP outside of the Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons’ brand.” It’s a curious decision given the resurgent popularity of both those franchises, but clearly Wizards of the Coast is looking to expand its offerings beyond its already successful IPs. Chris Cocks, the president of Wizards of the Coast, gave a vague clue as to the direction of the studio:

James [Ohlen] brings experience in creative direction and studio leadership that will prove important as we look to develop compelling new experiences that engage gamers all over the world.

Whatever the compelling new experience that the Austin-based Wizards of the Coast studio will offer, it’s going to be helmed by someone who is very capable in delivering premium RPG content to gamers. While the new IP will definitively not be based on an existing Wizards of the Coast property, there’s still a chance we’ll see a few crossovers, and with a company like Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast behind it, Ohlen’s new studio has immediately established itself as one to watch as time passes. Given that Ohlen wanted to leave the game industry for longer than he’s been away, there must have been something very tempting on offer with the new studio, which should excite fans just as much as it’s seemed to excite Ohlen’s creative side.

Next: BioWare’s Future Doesn’t Hinge On Anthem’s Success Says Developer


2019-04-24 02:04:22

Cody Gravelle

Dragon Ball: 10 Storylines That Hurt The Series (And 10 That Saved It)

Dragon Ball, as we know, is one of the longest-running and most popular franchises around. Whether as a manga, an anime, a movie series, a collection of video games, or anything else than has carried the Dragon Ball name over the years, it’s just unstoppable.

Consistently popular, yes, but that doesn’t mean it gets a free pass. Sometimes, all that renown and international cachet can work against you. All eyes are on you, and if you slip up (even ever-so-slightly), your legions of fans are going to unleash the full fury of their snark on internet message boards and comment sections everywhere.

The Simpsons knows these pressures all too well.  As the show enters its third decade and approaches its 660th episode, things are getting more than a little strained. There are only so many absurd situations Homer can find himself in before they really start trying irredeemably hard, if that hasn’t happened already. The golden years of The Simpsons, even the most dedicated fans will probably tell you, are far behind it now.

The Dragon Ball series is even older (having been originally created by Akira Toriyama in 1984), and has experienced its own peaks and troughs. That’s just inevitable with any established franchise. Among them have been some major missteps like the Great Saiyaman saga and Society Survival saga, more than balanced out by fantastic storylines like the Trunks saga and original Frieza saga.

Let’s take a look at some of the lowest lows and highest highs the franchise has ever taken us to. Buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

20 HURT THE SERIES: The Garlic Jr. Saga

Now, it’s never a good sign when a particular Saga is completely absent from the source material (that is, the manga). Sadly, this is exactly the case with the whole Garlic Jr. storyline, which takes place in the anime between the Sagas of Frieza and Trunks.

This isn’t unusual in anime, as fans will know, but that doesn’t make this sort of thing any easier to swallow. All of this Garlic Jr. business draws on the plot of the movie Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone, and centers around the titular villain seeking revenge on Goku for sending him to said Zone.

There’s just something off about this whole thing. The fact that the two-bit villain of the piece (in the grand scheme of Dragon Ball) was defeated by the four-year-old Gohan, for starters.

19 SAVED THE SERIES: The Black Star Dragon Ball Saga

Now, stick with us here, because this one’s going to be a controversial pick for sure. The Black Star Dragon Ball Saga was the first slice of Dragon Ball GT most of us got; it proved incredibly divisive as a result.

The issue here is that GT wanted to reboot everything about the series. Dragon Ball Z was an intense, dramatic, super serious affair, while GT was all about returning to the sillier, more comedic leanings the show had prior to that.

Naturally, this move proved controversial, to the extent that Funimation cut 16 of the 17 episodes and threw in a flashback in their stead. It wasn’t until later that these lost episodes were released (literally titled The Lost Episodes).

Come on, Dragon Ball. You can’t hide them under the couch because you were ashamed of them and then later claim they were lost. Who do you think you are, Square Enix with Final Fantasy VIII?

18 HURT THE SERIES: The Society Survival Saga

We’ve all been suckered in by a good April Fools joke. Don’t be ashamed to admit it, it happens to the best of us. Back in the day, it was all about saran wrap on the toilet seat and that sort of thing, but the advent of the internet has made it simple for ever-more sophisticated jokes to reach all the way around the world in an instant. No website is safe on April 1, friends.

Embarrassing as being fooled can be, it’s always great to see otherwise po-faced companies getting in on the action and having a little fun themselves. For April Fools 2017, Toei Animation released the snarky Society Survival Saga, which saw Goku and Vegeta getting jobs at DB Commercial Affairs.

Office shenanigans, of course, couldn’t be further removed from Dragon Ball’s usual fare, although they did still manage to shoehorn a battle with Frieza in there.

17 SAVED THE SERIES: Whis’ Cheesy Deus Ex Machina

Now, this one’s a bit of a grey area. Did it save the show in a positive sense? Well, no, but it certainly did in a literal one.

Frieza is probably the most popular and prolific villain in all of Dragon Ball. Yes, he’s been defeated the most times too, but that’s more out of plot necessity most of the time. The big plus we do have to point out is that he actually did succeed in destroying the Earth, which could’ve been curtains for the franchise (what with Goku living there and all).

As we’ve reported before, though, this calamity was quickly and super-conveniently reversed by Whis, who simply reversed time a little and repaired the whole mess. While he did state that this wasn’t a simple deus ex machina, the fact remains that it… well, totally was.

16 HURT THE SERIES: The Namek Saga

Ah, yes. The Namek Saga. As with another other story arcs, this one has sparked a whole lot of debate among fans. Here’s the issue: the whole thing kicks off after the Vegeta Saga, which ended with a series of climactic battles that left just about everybody exhausted and barely capable of moving (if even that).

Unlike many such shows, Dragon Ball isn’t afraid to really (as in, really really) mess with its most significant characters. As such, Goku was incapable of fighting (or doing much of anything at all) when the Namek Saga kicked off.

This is no surprise, after that Great Ape business, but it still raises the question: what is Dragon Ball without Goku? Or, indeed, without the Dragon Balls?

As we’ve already argued over on The Gamer, perhaps not very much at all.

15 SAVED THE SERIES: The Saiyan Saga

Well, dang. Try saying Saved the Series: the Saiyan Saga with a mouthful of Dragon Balls.

Tongue twisters aside, the Saiyan Saga really was the business, wasn’t it? It consists of both the Raditz and Vegeta Sagas (such is the twisted and confusing nature of Dragon Ball story arc naming) and brought us the Saiyans doing what they do best.

Intense, protracted (and more than a little hammy, which makes them all the better) fight sequences, every more powerful forms being taken, emotionally resonant moments by the bucketload… when they said that Dragon Ball Z was going to put the silliness and humor aside and ramp up the battles and superpowers, they were not kidding.

What an introduction to this new style of Dragon Ball action.

14 HURT THE SERIES: Goku’s Handy Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free Card

As was the case with Whis’ convenient timey-wimey tricks (Doctor Who fans will understand), this next entry isn’t about a specific Saga in Dragon Ball history. It’s just another surprising little storyline moment that just reeks of cheapness.

As fans will know, Zeno is one of the most powerful beings in Dragon Ball history. He’s been known as Grand Zeno, Grand King Zeno and Grand Zeno the Omni-King, but all of these names boil down to the same thing: he can do whatever the heck he wants, so don’t mess with him.

When Goku meets this odd little blue/purple dude, he makes the wise decision to befriend him. As a result, Zeno gives him a curious artifact: a little button to push. On pressing it, he’s told, Zeno will appear and fix whichever mess Goku has gotten himself into.

As we’ve reported before, the prideful Saiyan isn’t the kind of guy who’d want to use such a thing often. Still, what a ridiculous backup plan to have in your back pocket!

13 SAVED THE SERIES: The Tournament Saga

The Tournament Saga is one of the earliest in the series (only the second in the anime, in fact). While it’s hardly a festival of character development and convoluted, plot-twist-ridden, Da Vinci Code-esque storylines, it proved pivotal to the anime and everything it would become.

As the name suggests, the Tournament Saga is all about Goku’s training with Master Roshi and participation in the twenty-first World Martial Arts Tournament. There’s a lot of the early Dragon Ball humor on display here (particularly in Roshi’s training methods), but this was the arc that first presented fighting as a focus for the story.

More than this, it introduced Bacterian, the most hilariously awful ‘villain’ the series has ever produced. A huge, powerful martial artist who never bathes or brushes his teeth to give himself an edge in battle (his opponents have to fight with one hand because they’re using the other to hold their nose). Sure, why not? Let’s not forget Krillin’s introduction either.

12 HURT THE SERIES: The Great Saiyaman Saga

You might know this one better as The High School Saga, which… probably tells a lot of you all you need to know.

This whole sorry affair is set seven years after the Cell Games, presenting Gohan as a teenager. Deciding to study rather than continue his training, he’s attending Orange Star High School. Vegeta is now married to Bulma, Goten has been born… it’s a wild time to be alive.

The trouble with all of this faux superhero business is that it’s all a little odd. Granted, oddness isn’t anything that anime series will ever really shy away from, but it’s all a bit too Persona and not enough Dragon Ball for a lot of fans. Still, some people are into that, and that’s totally fine too.

11 SAVED THE SERIES: The King Piccolo Saga

We’re only at the halfway point in this little rundown of Dragon Ball’s best and worst storylines, but we’ve seen a real mixed bag already. Powerful storylines, emotionally charged moments, and Sagas that eschew all of that for some pure martial arts action.

Then, of course, there were the shonkier storylines that didn’t manage to capture any of this.

The King Piccolo Saga certainly did, though, bringing us some of the most intense action Dragon Ball had seen up to this point.

The first grim demise of a major character, some incredibly gripping action, and a super strong villain made this Dragon Ball gold.

RELATED: Dragon Ball Super: Everything To Know About Goku’s New Form – Ultra Instinct

Heck, this was an excellent era for the anime in general, and King Piccolo’s Saga certainly played a big part in that.

10 HURT THE SERIES: When In Doubt, Throw In An Android Or Twenty

Now, we can totally appreciate the role that the Androids played in Dragon Ball history. They were formidable opponents, they tested our heroes and proved that all kinds of forces were being brought to face, they were just downright vicious. They also paved the way for Cell, and that’s a whole different level of threat right there.

Having said that, though, this sort of thing tends to give diminishing returns. As villains, the various Androids of Dr. Gero’s design really did vary in strength, threat level and impact on the series as a whole. They were a little generic at times, and that’s not really something that you can say of a lot of Dragon Ball’s villains.  The Android production line just went on a little too long.

9 SAVED THE SERIES: The Frieza Saga

As we know, then, Dragon Ball Z was the series that took everything into a more action-oriented direction. Yes, that silliness that defined the early installments of Dragon Ball Z was all well and good, but in this era of the franchise, it’s all about dramatic action.

Frieza can always be counted on to bring dramatic action to the table. Probably the best-known and most popular villain in Dragon Ball history, this malevolent mutant just could not and would not be stopped. Well, he certainly could, but not permanently.

The action of the Frieza Saga mostly takes place on the planet Namek, and the highlight is the absurdly long battle between Frieza and Goku. That’s what we all came for, after all, and there’s no doubt that they milked every ounce of hype out of it. What a showdown.

8 HURT THE SERIES: The Babidi Saga

Unsurprisingly, the Tournament Saga was a popular concept, and the team went on to revisit it. The more combat-oriented Dragon Ball Z was the ideal place to do so, and so the World Tournament Saga was created. Sadly, the arc itself only showed half of the tournament action, with everything being wrapped up in the far less engaging arc that followed.

As a way of buying time until the whole Majin Buu thing kicked in, the Babidi Saga was a bit transparent. Babidi himself was powerful enough, but totally forgettable as a villain in the grand scheme of things. Perhaps it wouldn’t have been so bad if he wasn’t arriving immediately before a Big Bad that absolutely eclipses him.

Still, those are the breaks sometimes.

7 SAVED THE SERIES: The Trunks Saga

Dragon Ball has never been afraid to think outside the box, mix things up, keep fans guessing. This extends to the very layout of the show itself. These Sagas aren’t all neatly divided into even chunks, like seasons of a series. Interestingly, one of the shorter Sagas packs in much more action and drama than its measly eight-episode span might suggest.

The Trunks Saga definitely doesn’t outstay its welcome. Just eight episodes, perhaps, but what episodes they are. This was the arc that brought us one of the most iconic moments in Dragon Ball history: Frieza’s demise (or, one of them) by the blade of Future Trunks.

This storyline slots in between the Garlic Jr. and Android Sagas, definitely helping to build that momentum that the Android Saga would need.

6 HURT THE SERIES: Red Ribbon Army Saga

As we’ve established, long-running shows are always going to have highs and lows. Sometimes, creators just don’t get the memo that it’s time to stop, and things drag on and on rather than ending gracefully. We’re looking at you again, The Simpsons.

Nevertheless, there’s something else we’ve got to bear in mind too. Often, these sorts of things are just a matter of opinion. Every Dragon Ball fan has their favorite and least favorite arcs, and there will always be heated debates in the community about that.

There are certainly some that are less popular, though, even if they aren’t necessarily bad. Take the Red Ribbon Army Saga. There’s very little threat or excitement until Tao Pai Pai’s appearance, and it doesn’t contribute an awful lot to the series as a whole.

Is it especially bad? Not really. Would we particularly miss it if it wasn’t there? Not really.

5 SAVED THE SHOW: Captain Ginyu Saga

As we saw earlier in this rundown, the Namek Saga doesn’t tend to be a fan favorite. With its lack of focus on Goku and the Dragon Balls themselves, essential elements of the anime are missing. There’s a whiff of filler about it (which is nothing new in anime, of course), as we wait for Goku to inevitably return to his battling best.

The Captain Ginyu Saga kicks in immediately afterward (just before/as part of the Frieza Saga, depending on the ordering conventions you’re going by), and showcases a Goku who’s back at the peak of his powers.

In his defeat of Burter and Jeice, Goku sets the stage for Captain Ginyu’s attack, and, ultimately, Frieza’s.

It was all going off here, friends, that’s for darn sure.

4 HURT THE SHOW: Why Is Bio-Broly A Thing, Again?

The Dragon Ball fandom just can’t seem to agree on their feelings about Broly. Granted, no fandom can ever really agree on anything, but this is especially true where Broly’s concerned. The supposed ‘only’ Legendary Super Saiyan, canon just goes haywire around this guy. What’s real? What isn’t? How could we possibly know?

One thing we do know for sure is that he has a very shonky alternate form: Bio-Broly. It’s actually a mutated clone, and the star of its own movie: Dragon Ball Z: Bio-Broly.

The odd thing, though, is that we just can’t tell where this Thing From The Swamp wannabe ranks, strength-wise. Is it more powerful than the original Broly? Can it do things he can’t? Is there even any real reason for it to exist at all? The world may never know.

3 SAVED THE SHOW: The Cell Saga

The Dragon Ball franchise has seen a whole array of brilliant, creative and ridiculous villains. Some have failed horribly, some have come super close to achieving their aims, some have even done so. Quite a few of those have had their successes retconned out of existence, but heck, that’s not their fault, is it?

If you weren’t impressed by the Androids, behold Dr. Gero’s ultimate creation. Cell possesses the DNA of legendary warriors such as Goku and Frieza, and he was one heck of a villain. As we stated over on CBR, when he attained his perfect form and staged the Cell Games, it marked a standout moment in Dragon Ball history.

2 HURT THE SERIES: The Kid Buu Saga

As the Dragon Ball community will tell you, the whole overarching Buu saga is super polarising. It’s the marmite of Dragon Ball, if you will.

What’s at the core of this? It’s tough to say for sure. There’s no shortage of dramatic action here, that’s for certain, but we’ve become accustomed to high stakes coming with our theatrical Dragon Ball combat. Kid Buu destroyed the earth as first act on achieving this form, yes, causing the grim demise of Goku and Vegeta’s sons, but did all of that have any lasting repercussions?

In the end, Goku simply (and literally) wished away everything Kid Buu had done, which made the whole storyline seem more than a little pointless. Not that it wasn’t a heck of a spectacle to behold.

1 SAVED THE SERIES: The Majin Buu Saga

So, yes, the Kid Buu Saga wasn’t all it could have been. Some of this is due to the ending, as these convenient little fixes to devastating events aren’t really what Goku and the Z-Fighters are all about. Still, you can’t question the Dragon Balls. Or the Namekian Dragon Balls, in this case.

Without the pressure of ending the overarching Buu business itself, the Majin Buu Saga was excellent. It’s also proven divisive but does boast some iconic moments.

Dragon Ball Z’s first showcase of the Super Saiyan 3 transformation? One of the franchise’s most creative and original villains? These are things that true fans must surely appreciate.

Majin Buu’s preferred way of dispatching his enemies is to transform them into cookies and then eat them. If that’s not a party trick that just demands respect and admiration, we don’t know what is.

NEXT: Dragon Ball: That Time Vegeta Was Defeated By A Super Saiyan Cat


2019-04-20 05:04:47

Chris Littlechild

Dragon Ball Super: 10 Things Fans Don’t Know About Jiren

When it comes to the powerhouses of Dragon Ball, a fairly predictable crop of characters tends to come to mind. Goku, of course, is the protagonist, with OVER 9000 different transformations (each more powerful than the last). Then there’s one of his best-known enemies, Frieza, the little space-mutant with the audacious golden form. These are characters we’ve known, loved and marveled at it action for decades.

RELATED: Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission Review — Only For The Fans

More recently, Jiren has arrived on the scene and turned our understanding of everyone’s power levels on their heads yet again. This mysterious warrior debuted in Dragon Ball Super and he’s a real force to be reckoned with. Hold on to your Kamehamehas, here come ten incredible facts about Jiren.

10 He’s Stronger Than A God

Well, that’s a doozy of an entry to kick off with. As Dragon Ball fans will know, the Gods of Destruction are… well, as Ron Burgundy of Anchorman fame once said, kind of a big deal. Heck, you don’t even need to be a fan to know that a being called a God of Destruction isn’t going to be someone you want to mess with.

The Destroyers, as they’re also known, work with the Supreme Kais (Gods of Creation) to maintain the balance of the various universes of Dragon Ball. Needless to say, they’re also incredibly powerful fighters. Nevertheless, they’ve previously been forced to acknowledge that Jiren is one of very few mortals that have been able to best one of their number in combat.

9 But He’s Not Stronger Than *EVERY* God

While it’s a heck of a thing to be deemed stronger than God of Destruction, let’s not get carried away here. As we know, there’s a different Destroyer for every universe, each from different species (unlike the Supreme Kais) and boasting wildly different power levels. There’s a sort of unofficial hierarchy among them in that sense. When we say that Jiren is more powerful than the Destroyers, then, there’s actually a piece of small print there: he’s more powerful than one specific God of Destruction: Belmod, Universe 11’s Destroyer.

As reported previously over on TheGamer, Beerus is said to be stronger than Belmod, so it’s tough to say where Jiren would stand with the Gods of Destruction in general.

8 He Gets By With(out) A Little Help From His Friends

As we know, Goku is a formidable fighter in his own right, felling opponents that seemed to outclass him on countless occasions. He’s performed incredible feats alone, but oftentimes, he’s supported by super-strong allies like the Z-Fighters. By contrast, Jiren does not believe in teamwork or relying on allies. Traumatized by the losses he sustained in his past, Jiren sees companionship and togetherness as a sign of weakness, believing that the only person upon whom he can rely on is himself.

RELATED: 10 Crazy Dragon Ball Fan Theories That Make No Sense

While this lends further credence to his personal abilities as a fighter, it’s a bleak world view that holds back his true potential.

7 He Puts Honour And Justice Above Everything

When Jiren made his Dragon Ball debut during the Tournament of Power, he was a real enigma. Over a little time, though, we were able to piece together his story. One defining characteristic of Jiren’s is that he’s a member of the Pride Troopers (hence his distinctive black-and-red outfit, their uniform). The Pride Troopers are a heroic band of fighters from Universe 11, committed to protecting their galaxy from threats. It’s a cause that Jiren takes super seriously, as he is nothing but an honorable fighter.

When Goku exhausted himself trying to hit Jiren with his ultimate power, Jiren refused to take him down while he was debilitated, indicating that he respects worthy opponents. Perhaps more than potential teammates.

6 But There’s One Thing That Means More To Him Than His Morals

While Jiren can be arrogant and distant, he’s also an inherently moral man who fights with honor. Interestingly, though, he’s prepared to put all of this aside for the one thing most important to him. As Vermoud tells Cae in “The Man Named Jiren:”

“Jiren is a man who is completely devoted to justice. He never acts on any of his own desires or interests. And no matter how evil a villain he’s up against, his absurd conviction is such that he won’t ever kill them. But there is one thing… He has a wish that he’d even be willing to set aside his convictions to have come true.”

What is this wish? Well, as Comic Book reports, his greatest desire (and Super Dragon Ball wish) was to bring his lost master (one of the many tragic losses of his past) back to life.

5 He’s Not The Quiet, Composed Fighter He Appears To Be

On the surface, then, we’re looking at another of those godly, justice-driven, unshakable warriors. That’s not a character trope we’re exactly short on in manga and anime, is it?

Scratch the surface, however, and you’ll discover that there’s much more to Jiren. You will not like him when he’s angry.

RELATED: 10 Dragon Ball Super Fan Theories So Crazy They Might Be True

While he’s been seen to truly revel in a challenging battle, against an opponent worthy of his strength, he’s not above getting rattled. When winning is everything to you and losing is unthinkable, the prospect of defeat is too much to bear. When he feels himself struggling in battle (as rarely as that happens), he enters a fierce, unrelenting, barbarian-like state. In Marvel terms, he Hulks out.

4 He’s Very Different In The Manga Than In The Anime

When video games are ported or movie adaptions of books are made, the same old question arises: how does it stand up to the original? With something like Harry Potter, it was inevitable that the movies would have to cut all kinds of content that featured in the books. Who’d want to sit through a fourteen-hour movie that was absolutely faithful to the source material?

Well, just about every Harry Potter fan. Sorry, that was a bad example. The point is that things are always going to be a little different, and that’s certainly true of Jiren’s conversion from the manga to the anime. In the manga, he’s a lot more outspoken, fleshing out his own backstory and motivations in a way that the anime simply didn’t have time to do.

3 He Loved Humiliating Goku

Well, maybe that’s doing Jiren a bit of a disservice. As we’ve already seen, the Pride Trooper is a proud and honourable fighter, but he does have one trait that contradicts all of this a little: his arrogance.

Being a fighter who values only victory, he doesn’t just want to triumph over his opponents. He wants to establish him dominance over them. During the tournament, he revelled in the opportunity to toy with Goku. First, he shrugged off Super Saiyan Goku’s attacks, which was not a good sign for our hero at all. Goku’s Super Saiyan God form even proved useless, and Jiren actually hoisted him out of the area by his hair (in a classic Frieza-like move).

2 He’s A Living Spacecraft

Now, this one’s a bit of a grey area, granted. Over the course of Dragon Ball, we’ve seen several Saiyans demonstrating their ability to survive in the vacuum of space. Generally, that’s not an effortless thing (they can’t actually breathe out there, and can only survive briefly, depending on Ki and such), but it’s a handy talent to have in a pinch.

Jiren is no Saiyan, of course, but he’s also demonstrated this ability. Heck, he’s gone one better: as the Dragon Ball Wiki reports, he’s able to fly at tremendous speeds and survive in space for protracted periods, rendering any sort of spacecraft largely unnecessary (especially as he’s not going to have any friends to take along for the ride).

1 He’s One Of Very, Very Few Characters Who Could Withstand A Spirit Bomb

Let’s be frank, here: what’s a major anime/manga character without a beautifully OTT ultimate move? From Kid Buu’s Planet Burst to Legendary Super Saiyan Broly’s Omega Blaster, there are a whole lot of these sorts of attacks in Dragon Ball, and they are for only the most melodramatic moments. We’re talking Top 10 Anime Battles material only.

Goku, being the star of the show, also has his own ultimate attack: the Spirit Bomb (actually devised by King Kai). During their encounter, he uses the technique against Jiren, who is not only unharmed but actually reflects the attack back at Goku. This makes him the only foe to ever bounce the attack back, and only the third who has ever survived it at all (the others being Frieza and Vegeta).

NEXT: Dragon Ball: 20 Facts Only True Fans Know About Jiren


2019-04-19 05:04:41

Chris Littlechild

Dragon Ball: 20 Strange Things About Saiyan Anatomy

As fans of anime will know, things tend to get all kinds of kooky around here. There are huge, dramatic fight scenes, a whole tidal wave of emotions, story arcs that are just brilliantly nonsensical at times… they’re like animated soap operas, essentially, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Naturally, anime tends to be steeped in Japanese sensibilities, which is why many shows revolve around martial arts, high school culture, and all these sorts of things. Not to mention, of course, extra-terrestrial warriors who can fire humongous energy beams from their hands.

The more melodramatic the fight scenes, the better. The super-popular Dragon Ball series knows all about that philosophy. With four different anime series, a glut of movies, and a whole heaping heck of a lot of merchandise to its name, Dragon Ball is about the most popular and successful anime (or four animes, as we’ve mentioned) in the world.

As such, the whole world knows all about the Saiyans. This alien race looks very similar to humans (which is how Goku passed for one for so long, of course), but sport some abilities that set them just slightly above the average Earthling on the power-o-meter.

Did you know about their tails, and the bizarre relationship it has with their bodies? Do you know what S-cells are, or what happens when a Saiyan goes Super Saiyan? If not, hop on board with us as we take a closer look at this fascinating extra-terrestrial race. Did someone say Kamehameha? Here’s Dragon Ball: 20 Strange Things About Saiyan Anatomy.

20 They Have Tails

Well, yes. Let’s kick this party off the right way, with one of the most downright peculiar elements of Saiyan anatomy: that tail.

If you’ve ever played Final Fantasy IX, you’ll know that unexplained tails where tails don’t belong are just a little bit on the questionable side. In a game full of odd rat-people and fish-men, nobody even looked twice at Zidane, but still. It was great to have his tail explained away later in the story.

As for the Saiyans, it’s a curious fact that every Universe 7 pure-blood is born with a brown, furry tail. They have (or rather, they develop) great dexterity with it, too, much like some species of real-world monkeys. As with Zidane Tribal, the fact that Saiyans are so humanoid and unremarkable otherwise (on the surface) makes this fact all the stranger.

19 Their Tail Is A Weapon

These tails are more than just interesting ice breakers at parties, though. More than just a curious biological characteristic.

The Saiyans tend to be renowned as a proud and powerful warrior race (whatever Frieza might tell you), and they hone their bodies to be powerful fighting machines. Not only can their tails be used as another ‘limb’ with which to fight, but it’s been referred to as the source of a Saiyan’s power. In “The Tail of Goku,” for instance, our hero commented that he felt as though he was weaker without it.

If you need proof of that, how about the whole Great Ape thing? Saiyans are able to transform into one during the full moon (thanks to Blutz Waves), while their furry appendage is still attached and good to go.

18 They can Fly

Ah, yes. Flight, that most enviable of superpowers. Who doesn’t wish they could just Superman their way around? Airplane travel can be an expensive affair, after all, and let’s not even get started on the food on planes.

Sadly, though, we aren’t Saiyan, and we’re stuck with our sad plight. In anime, flight is a super popular ability for characters to have, and it’s no surprise that the Saiyans are capable of it.

Not only can they levitate and fly by manipulating their Ki energy (more on that later), they’re able to implement these abilities into their fighting styles. Is this a biological thing? In a way, yes.

Needless to say, this amps up all the drama and destruction many times over, which is exactly what we’ve all come to expect of Dragon Ball.

17 Their Bodies Generate Mysterious ‘S-Cells’

The human body is a remarkable machine, isn’t it? Just stop for a moment and think just how amazing we all are. Did you realize that the human brain actually named itself? Well, dang. It suddenly got far too deep in here.

Sadly, though, we humans are nothing compared to Saiyans.

Today, biologists have most of the fundamentals of how our bodies work neatly mapped out and explained, but the internal workings of these guys are on a whole different level.

Their bodies accumulate special cells called S-Cells, which are produced by discipline and leading a quiet, sedate life. As we reported over on The Gamer, these are not qualities that some Saiyans are known for, which just complicates the whole concept even further. What a mysterious bunch these guys are.

16 They Can Become ‘Super Saiyan’

Speaking of those S-Cells, let’s take a look at one of the best-known and most unusual aspects of Saiyan anatomy: the Super Saiyan form. The Saiyans of both Universe 6 and Universe 7 can achieve this transformation, but it’s darn difficult to do and happens only on rare occasions.

The effects of transforming into a Super Saiyan are straightforward enough: the individual tends to become more muscular, sports golden hair, and has all-around dramatically enhanced abilities.

This isn’t all there is to it, though, because the effects of the transformation are not the same for every Saiyan. Throughout the Dragon Ball franchise, all kinds of different variations on the form have been documented. The individual, the circumstances and other such variables have a part to play there.

15 Some Can Even Achieve Super Saiyan God Status

You don’t even need to be a Dragon Ball fan to have heard of the power of the Super Saiyan form. The transformation, like the Incredible Hulk getting angry, has become synonymous with the idea of opening a can of righteous fury on all who oppose you.

That’s just not enough for some select Saiyans, though. There are ways by which some can achieve the Super Saiyan God form, which is really something to behold. This is far rarer and more difficult still, though Goku achieved it (by means of a ritual in which five powerful Saiyans channeled their Ki within him).

There are some curious guidelines in play as to how to attain the power, how it manifests and whether or not it can be kept. There aren’t really any solid answers to that one.

14 They Age Very, Very (VERY) Well

Now, we humans don’t tend to age all that well. Even those with bank accounts that rival one of the Kardashians, those who can afford the latest treatments and beauty products, are going to be looking pretty darn worse for wear at eighty. It’s just the way of things.

Saiyans, again, have us entirely beaten on that score. The race are renowned for keeping themselves in peak physical condition, so that’s no surprise, but did you know just how long a Saiyan remains in the prime of their life?

Human beings, as we know, don’t make it any further than 30 before they start groaning when they get out of chairs and constantly complaining that their back and/or knees hurt.  Meanwhile, the Saiyans (as we’ve reported on The Gamer) hit their prime at 18 and remain there until the onset of their 80s.

13 They’re Deceptively (And Absurdly) Strong

Let’s not get bogged down in all this Super Saiyan and Super Saiyan God talk, though. The fact of the matter is that these beings, even in their ‘standard’ form, have some truly impossible might.

Saiyans tend to extensively train for battle from an early age, but even without all of that, even as children, they’re just off-the-charts strong. They’re only around the height of human beings, but there’s something very special going on below the surface of every Saiyan.

Before he had any training with Master Roshi, Goku was able to lift a car (Bulma’s, fans will remember) like it was nothing at all. Over the course of the franchise, they’ve displayed Hulk-levels of strength again and again. With all of their various enhanced forms in mind, we’re probably looking at the most powerful (yet remarkably ordinary-looking, much of the time) races in anime.

12 They Have An Incredible Healing Factor

Now, when you’re the kind of being who can fly at supersonic speeds and lift mountains like they’re just a couple of grocery bags, you’d probably start to feel more than a little complacent. Untouchable. After all, who in the heck would ever want to mess with you?

Saiyans may be formidable, but they’re not invulnerable. They do have near-fatal injuries, and that’s where another handy-dandy feature of their impossible anatomy comes in.

Zenkai (meaning ‘full recovery’) is a power exclusive to Saiyans, which allows them to enhance their strength in the aftermath of rough injuries.

You can think of it as a similar process to regeneration in Doctor Who, or Wolverine or Deadpool’s healing factor.

It’s not that Saiyans can’t be eliminated (as Dragon Ball fans will know all too well), but it’s certainly something.

11 Life On Their Super-Hostile Home Planet Made Them Strong

We humans really should stop and appreciate just how lucky we are. Look at this beautiful planet of ours. Granted, we’re making it a little less beautiful every day, in all kinds of bad and creative new ways (yay us!), but by some impossible cosmic chance, it’s got the perfect atmosphere for us.

Planet Vegeta, by contrast, would not be a great place to spend an intergalactic vacation. Not only does it not exist anymore, but the home planet of the Saiyans had gravity that was ten times stronger than Earth’s. Apparently, this dramatically-increased resistance made the conditions great for their training, and contributed to the race’s incredible strength and prowess as warriors. Saiyans being Saiyans, however, some of them had to go to even greater extremes.

10 They Can Survive Gravity Hundreds Of Times Stronger Than Earth’s

Gravity ten times as powerful as Earth’s? It’s probably best not to think about the connotations of that, or what it would mean for our hopes of flying through the air by holding many, many helium balloons.

The idea of that is difficult enough to stomach, but how about gravity 100 times stronger? Goku used a Gravity Machine while aboard Dr. Brief’s ship to train in those conditions. Vegeta went one better; training under the influence of gravity 300 times stronger! He dialed back after being injured by gravity 500 times stronger than Earth’s, so it’s good to know that there’s at least some kind of limit here.

9 They Can Withstand All Kinds Of Absurd Extremes Besides

So, there we have it. The pressure of gravity 300 times stronger than ours would have all kinds of grim effects on the human body, but Saiyans really aren’t going to be affected too much. Heck, Vegeta can happily keep right on lifting weights and such right through it, like one of those attention-seeking people at the gym (#workoutselfie). Gravity Shmavity.

That’s just the beginning of it, though. Aside from that, a Saiyan can survive all kinds of impossible (and completely impractical) atmospheric extremes, such as heat and cold. And let’s not get into the sort of punishment that Goku was able to survive largely unscathed (even as a child). Entire cities have been destroyed by energy blasts around him, but he just shrugged this off.

The incredible durability and resilience of the Saiyans in action, or just plot armor? Probably a bit of both.

8 They Can Also Transform Into The Mighty Oozaru Form

We’ve already touched on the Great Ape transformations that some Saiyans have exhibited, but we’re definitely going to have to take a closer look at that. Because… dang.

A curious spin on the legend of the werewolf, it’s the full moon that enables Saiyans to become Oozaru. On absorbing enough ‘green spectrum radiation,’ their tails react and they hit this superpowered state.

Untrained and inexperienced Saiyans lose control in this form and go on destructive rampages, which leave them depleted afterward. With intensive work, though, it’s possible for some to retain their minds and all of their discipline in this form, and even transform without the need of the moon at all (though this is super difficult and cannot be done without a loss of the individual’s Ki).

7 They Do Have Weak Points (Long, Furry Ones)

That’s right, friends. We’ve come quite far through this rundown without another mention of that most distinctive of Saiyan characteristics, the tail. Let’s get back on that, because there are so many more curious details about it.

For one thing, it’s tough to say whether it’s a weakness or a strength. It all depends on the individual, their mastery of their powers, and discipline. For untrained Saiyans, however, it’s definitely a weakness, as it’s so sensitive that injuries to the area can completely incapacitate the owner.

Nevertheless, though, Saiyans are able to overcome this, thanks to their immense physical and mental strength. It’s not uncommon for them to opt to have the tail removed or cut it off, either.

In short, the positives and negatives of tail ownership are tough to determine.

6 Their Tails Just Stopped Being A Thing Later On

As we can see, then, there’s a lot of inconsistency surrounding the Saiyans and their anatomy. Some can take wild new forms on a whim, others can’t. Some have tails, some don’t. Sometimes the tail thing is explained away by the fact that hybrid Saiyans don’t have them, but other times, hybrids just go ahead and have tails anyway.

These sorts of persnickety issues crop up in long-running shows. It’s inevitable. Here’s a curious thing, though: Universe 6 Saiyans don’t have tails, but for a very special reason.

In the Super History Book (a celebration of the franchise created for its 30th anniversary), Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama explained that the tails had been a thorn in his side from the off. Of Goku, he said,

“I’m always thinking about how things are supposed to work, so it was a real pain to figure out how he’d put his pants on or stuff like that. That’s what always bugged me most. Is there a hole in the pants? Does he put his tail through first, then put the pants on? So that made me want to just get rid of the darn thing… which I did, in the end.”

5 Saiyans Need Oxygen To Breathe… Except When They Don’t

Speaking of some of those shonky inconsistencies, here’s another strange aspect of Saiyan biology. It’s quite well established that these beings can’t survive airless environments (King Kai knew not to use the Dragon Balls to revive Goku, because he’d be in space and that would end horribly), yet they’ve been seen to do so several times. Very briefly, but still.

What’s happening here, then? The Dragon Ball Wiki suggests one possibility: “A plausible explanation is that Saiyans do, indeed, need air to breathe, but, due to their superior cardiovascular conditioning, are able to hold their breath for long periods of time, but still need a source of air to retreat into, after a few minutes.”

It’s pushing things a little, even for Saiyans, but it’s not beyond the realms of the imagination.

4 The Hybrid Saiyans Don’t Have Tails

So, there it is. As we’ve already seen, Saiyan tails are the source of all kinds of wild shenanigans, and we’re not even done with them yet (more tail-related factoids are coming your way later in this list). Let’s not get carried away with all of this, though, because there’s something else super important to know: not all Saiyans have tails.

Hybrid Saiyans generally don’t. As is often the case with Dragon Ball, though, the rules don’t apply all the time, and there’s a bit of a grey area here. Gohan was born with one, for instance, while Goten and Trunks were not.

What’s happening here? What’s the cause of all of this? Is it something genetic? These questions are still heavily debated among the fan community.

3 They Can Assume Forms *Beyond* Super Saiyan God

As we’ve seen over the course of this rundown, the formidable Saiyan race are super strong in their vanilla forms, but they’ve got so much more potential besides. All this Oozaru business just multiplies their fearsome reputation. Frieza only attacked them in the first place because he feared that they were becoming too powerful, and can you blame him?

Heck, they can even exceed godlike status. What is there above Super Saiyan God? Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan, that’s what.

This form is attained by Saiyans who are always able to keep the regular God status in themselves (as Goku did), who then become Super Saiyan on top of that.

This being a ridiculous mouthful, the term Super Saiyan Blue is used instead (or Super Saiyan Rosé, in Goku Black’s case). Either way, we’re going far beyond bragging at this point. Then there’s Super Saiyan God SS Evolved, at which point we really do need to sit down and calm ourselves for a moment.

2 Even Their Eyes And Noses Are Superhuman

Now, the super strength, resilience, and inhuman agility, we can probably get on board with. After all, that’s what we want to see in anime, right? Marvel movie levels of special effects and theatrics.

Those darn Saiyans just have to lord it over us even further though. Did you know they’ve got the vision of an eagle and the sense of smell of a bloodhound, too?

Goku and Broly have been known to track other characters down by following their scent. Meanwhile, in the episode “The Nimbus Cloud of Roshi,” Goku’s able to see Turtle and Master Roshi at such a distance that Bulma states,  “It’s like you’ve got supervision or something.”

Do you know why that is, Bulma? Because he does, that’s why.

1 Their Bodies Will ALWAYS Be Beach-Ready

With everything we’ve learned here, it’s clear that Saiyans are far, far cooler than we feeble humans will ever be. Here’s one final thing to make us all super bitter that we were born regular old Earthlings: their metabolism completely prevents them from ever getting fat.

That’s right, friends. You might think that this fitness-oriented race would live on a diet of kale, mineral water, and sensible salads, but it’s quite the contrary. Saiyans are renowned for their voracious appetites.

What with all that energy they’re burning up, they need around 30-40 times as much food as we do. Their preference is for meat, but anything (as long as it’s in vast quantities) will do just fine.

No, this isn’t the way to take care of your body, but when it comes to Saiyans, every possible rulebook is thrown right out of the window. Out of the window and onto the street, where it’s crushed by a speeding SUV.


2019-04-15 08:04:36

Chris Littlechild

Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission Review – Only For The Fans

Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission seeks to bring the arcade sensation to Western home audiences but only works for the most hardcore fans.

Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission is the first non-handheld localization of a Japanese arcade game that blends 3D Dragon Ball fighting game visuals with mixed reality trading card gameplay. The original game gained significant popularity in Japanese arcades by combining the massive franchise with a captivating gameplay gimmick, in which players place their physical Dragon Ball Heroes cards onto a specialized board to deploy their favorite characters from various series and timelines onto a virtual battlefield.

Now the franchise makes its Western console debut with this port ditching the physical cards for free digital ones. While this should be a relief to anyone who has ever fallen down the financial well of booster packs before, the move from the arcade to the PC and Switch was a bit messy. Much of the gimmicky arcade appeal clings onto the experience like the useless human appendix to its functional large intestine. Still, Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission‘s numerous imperfections won’t keep otakus away, but it’s feasible that avid card game players may find it hard to embrace the game when presented with its convoluted mechanics and technical missteps.

Related: GWENT: The Witcher Card Game Is Finally Coming To Mobile

For starters, World Mission majorly deviates from traditional card games like Yu-Gi-Oh, with its gameplay closely resembling a cross between the mainline Pokémon games and Mega Man Battle Network. Including well over 1,000 cards that feature more than 300 characters, players take a deck of seven cards into battle with the goal of depleting their opponent’s HP in a series of quick-time events (QTEs) called Charge Impacts (CIs). Usually, the player whose cards are imbued with the largest numbers and most overpowered abilities and effects wins. There are three card types, Co-op Bonuses, Super Abilities, Ultimate Unit Chances, Card Action Abilities, Touch Action Abilities, meters like Power Level, Hero Energy, card Stamina to balance, and that’s not even everything – to say that World Mission is overwhelming is to put it lightly. However, as these QTEs determine who deals more and receives less damage, the course of battle ultimately comes down to players’ ability to fill the Charge Impact meter to its fullest while defending and attacking each round. There are a few hitches to this that come in the form of CI buffs and debuffs, but this facet of World Mission is an otherwise barebones skill game.

CIs and other QTEs are the focus of cinematic scenes in which players watch their iconic fighters face off, but World Mission fails to deliver much spectacle during these animated sections. In fact, they might be the game’s worst design choice. Even though they boast an impressive number of unique character models and a ridiculous number of re-skins, these feel underutilized when paraded around in a handful of recycled animations so stiff and amateur that they appear as if ripped from the Budokai era. Nevertheless, these animations comprise the majority of what players see during matches, and the utter lack of an option to skip them during single player battles hamstrings the game’s pace.

Also showcased during these interactive scenes are Card and Touch Action Abilities, which trigger bombastic attacks when executed successfully. Unfortunately, these sequences aren’t compelling to trigger, requiring players to complete bizarre QTEs by moving a card-shaped cursor around on a representation of the game board or drawing shapes over the attacking character. Unlike CIs, these timed QTEs are too easy to possibly mess up and add little to the experience aside from visual confusion.

World Mission suffers from an unwavering attachment to its roots in the arcades of Japan, and the above issues are only a portion of this larger problem’s symptoms. Like ports of other Japanese exclusives before it, some of World Mission‘s English translation is a little awkward in places, with card effects being somewhat inelegant (but consistent) in their wording. However, that doesn’t hold a candle to the fact that none of the Japanese audio in World Mission is translated into English, neither through subtitles or voice dubs. While it’s probable that die-hard Dragon Ball fans will be unfazed to know that the characters are exclusively voiced by the Japanese cast, their tune will change when quips are being screamed over one another while the game’s announcer narrates the action, none of which they will understand unless they speak Japanese. This is accompanied by World Mission‘s unpolished sound design, which is probably no big deal in a noisy arcade but is painfully clear when played through home speakers or headphones. Worst of all, it appears no one considered including options or settings of any kind, meaning that players wanting to tweak aspects of the game’s audio or controls in the name of preference or accessibility are fresh out of luck.

Not everything about World Mission is bad news and the game’s campaign serves as a long, colorful tutorial for players while they bolster their decks for online play, and it’s liable to be many players’ favorite part of the game. World Mission is set in a world in which Dragon Ball Heroes is a treasured past-time, plagued by a sudden series of anomalies that are warping Dragon Ball characters from different timelines and universes into both the virtual and real worlds. This provides the game with endless opportunities to reference any and all events from Dragon Ball Z all the way through Dragon Ball Super – even the retconned Dragon Ball GT gets some love – while creating hilarious breaks in continuity. The resulting clashes and paradoxes create entertaining moments that are often as self-aware as they are absurd, and the dialogue feels surprisingly authentic between the characters and all their iterations. As such, fans of the franchise will adore World Mission, but players less invested in the anime will probably skip through the dialogue and focus on the battles. Additionally, the campaign includes lots of extra scenarios that generously increase individual chapters’ length and replayability

Online play, meanwhile, is fairly straightforward and plays almost identically to single player battles, complete with all of the fight animations and QTEs. Of course, there’s the added unpredictability of a human opponent that all card game players crave, but all the usual caveats to interconnectivity are present in World Mission. Most battles end in a quick rout, with players either getting decimated or doing the decimating. In-game chat is relegated to Stickers, preset quips and responses to curb toxicity at the cost of meaningful communication. The game’s reliance upon QTEs, namely Charge Impacts, highlights lag otherwise guised by lengthy animations, cheapening the outcomes of particularly delayed Attack Phases. Overall, though, World Mission‘s online component is more than serviceable, offering spaces for both casual and competitive play in which players can take on strangers and friends while perfecting their decks and strategies.

Lastly, there’s the matter of World Mission‘s approach to monetization – that is, it’s refreshingly welcome lack thereof. Like in the golden days of console gaming, players can unlock every card and item by just playing the game. Despite Dragon Ball Heroes‘ arcade presence being designed to generate revenue from blind card packs, for whatever marvelous reason nothing can be bought with real money in World Mission. And its fairly giving at that, as campaign missions provide a steady flow of currency, which players can redeem for one-time consumable items, permanent passive and active abilities, and cards of varying rarity. Though the Gacha Shop does award duplicates, they’re immediately transformed into Ticket Pieces, which can be crafted into Gacha Tickets for 10 pieces and Rare Gacha Tickets fo 50. This is a bit steep, but the game avoids devolving into a grindfest early on with its massive library of cards, leaving a lot of room to grow for new players – trying to complete a collection is likely a different story, however.

Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission carries a fun card game at its core, but the final product is a mediocre port laden down with mechanical convolution and kitschy arcadiness, each present for their own sake. While there are saving graces like the lighthearted fan service offered by the campaign, a solid online offering, and a much-appreciated rejection of genre standard monetization practices that keep things enjoyable and fair, there are plenty of negatives that the average player will have to wade through in order to appreciate the good. World Mission‘s semi-polished state and strange presentation will be everything that ardent fans of everything Dragon Ball want in an unapologetic arcade experience, but genre veterans looking for the next Magic the Gathering don’t need to feel guilty for passing on this one.

More: 10 Dragon Ball Villains That Hurt The Series (And 10 That Saved It)

Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission is currently available for PC and Switch. Screen Rant was provided a Switch code for review.


2019-04-15 03:04:45

Phillip Tinner

Game of Thrones Theory: Evidence Jon Snow Rides A Dragon In Season 8

Season 8 of Game of Thrones is almost here, and with one of Daenerys’ dragons still without a rider, there’s plenty of reason to believe Jon Snow will mount Rhaegal – the dragon named after his father. There’s never been a question that Dany herself would climb onto a dragon and learn how to fly with it, and this happened in season 5, when Drogon rescued his ‘mother’ from the fighting pit. However, the “three heads of the dragon” prophecy suggested that there would be two more riders for Viserion and Rhaegal.

In season 7, Viserion’s rider was revealed, and it came as quite a shock – it’s none other than the Night King himself who is flying on the undead Viserion’s back for season 8. However, that still leaves one dragon riderless, and now it looks like there has been the first hint that it could be Jon Snow who mounts Rhaegal in the final season.

Related: Every Game of Thrones Character Death Teased In The New Trailer

Vanity Fair first suggested that a single scene in a new promo for Game of Thrones‘ final season could point to this outcome – so what’s the evidence that Jon (sorry, Aegon) is going to fly before the finale?

  • This Page: Jon Snow and the Three Heads of the Dragon
  • Page 2: How Game of Thrones’ Trailers Point to Jon Riding a Dragon

First of all, it’s important to take a step back and look at why there needs to be another dragonrider at all – which comes down to the Three Heads of the Dragon. The three heads of the dragon is one of the things that is assumed to be true for the series, despite only being mentioned the books (much like the valonqar prophecy). It refers to a vision that Daenerys has while in the House of the Undying, where the magic of the place causes her to see prophetic visions. In the show, she sees several things that come to pass (or may still come to pass) including a hint at the Red Wedding, and the Throne Room covered in snow. In the book, however, her visions are different. They include a vision of Rhaegar naming his baby son, Aegon. In this vision, Rhaegar says “He has a song. He is the prince that was promised, and his is the song of ice and fire. There must be one more. The dragon has three heads.” This echoes an old Targaryen prophecy that says the same thing.

This isn’t the only reference to three dragons/Targaryens in the books or the show, either. The original conquest of Westeros by the Targaryens was by Aegon the conqueror, riding a dragon, with his two sisters/wives beside him on dragons of their own. The Targaryen coat of arms is a three-headed dragon. And, of course, there are three dragons on Game of Thrones. The true meaning of this vision/prophecy is hotly debated in the fandom, with some arguing that it means that there are three Targaryens who will ride the three dragons, and others arguing that it simply means there are three living Targaryens, whether they ride the dragons or not. Whether or not it means anything at all has also been debated, as Game of Thrones is chock full of prophecies, and that doesn’t mean that they are all going to come true. However, the majority believe that there are three heads, and that means three dragonriders.

At this point, it’s theoretically possible that anyone could be the third dragonrider – but Jon Snow/Aegon Targaryen is definitely a frontrunner. There are plenty of theories, of course, that other characters are Targaryens too; everyone from Meera Reed to Tyrion Lannister have been theorized to be secret Targaryens. In addition, dragonriders don’t actually have to be Targaryen. Although the Targaryens are the house famous for taming and riding dragons, in Fire And Blood it’s revealed that others have been known to tame dragons as well. However, all signs point to Jon as the third head at this point.

For one thing, while other characters could still turn out to be secret Targaryens, Jon/Aegon is the only other confirmed Targaryen in the show. He’s also one of only a couple of people who has been able to get up close with the dragons without being barbecued. Tyrion was also able to manage this, when he released them from their chains in Meereen, but Jon was able to actually walk up and pet Drogon’s nose – something that clearly shows he has some dragon-taming talents. He’s also now both romantically involved with Daenerys and pledged to her as Queen, and he’s the child that Rhaegar spoke about in Daenerys’ vision. The latest promo also points to Jon being a dragonrider – if that promo has been digitally altered, that is!

Page 2 of 2: How Game of Thrones’ Trailers Point to Jon Riding a Dragon

The promos in question are two that premiered on TV in March, but weren’t released online – both of which showed the same scene: Tyrion, Davos, and Varys gazing up with shocked looks on their faces at something overhead. The promos also show two dragons flying together, and an immediate cut to Jon and Dany standing by a fire, as well as showing a shot of Jon and Dany standing together, framed by the two dragons.

While many other trailers have shown different characters reacting with wonder to the dragons, those have all been characters seeing them for the first time. Tyrion, Davos, and Varys have all seen the dragons many times before – so what could make them stop and stare at the sight like that? It’s possible that they are staring at Viserion, but their surprise doesn’t seem to be panicked, and seeing the Night King on an undead dragon would make anyone panic. Instead, it’s likely that they are looking so surprised because Rhaegal is being ridden – by Jon Snow.

Related: Game Of Thrones: Which Characters Are Still Alive in Season 8

There’s no sign of a rider on the dragons in the trailer, of course – but this wouldn’t be the first time that a major franchise has done some digital editing in order to avoid spoilers. Ahead of Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War, some trailers were altered to change the color of the Infinity Stones on Thanos’ gauntlet, and Avengers: Endgame‘s trailers have been similarly edited. It’s more than possible that HBO has altered these promos to remove the riders on the dragons’ backs, thereby avoiding spoilers. It wouldn’t be particularly difficult to do this, and if Jon and Dany are riding together, that would explain the reactions of a few people upon seeing them.

In addition to the more direct evidence that points to Jon Snow becoming a dragonrider in the final season, there’s a solid storytelling reason to have it happen too. Having Jon become a dragonrider is the perfect way to complete his arc – embracing his Targaryen side, and becoming a hero of legend. From the promos, it looks like Jon may even mount his dragon before the Battle of Winterfell, which would mean that fans would see all three dragons in an aerial battle. It would be an homage to the Dance of Dragons, a battle for the Throne in the earlier days of the Targaryen rule – which parallels the battle for the Iron Throne that is still coming at the end of the season.

Riding Rhaegal would also highlight Jon’s connection to his father, since the riderless dragon is named after Rhaegar Targaryen, and would be an important moment of Jon embracing his power and status. He’s already come a long way from the Stark bastard who scooped up the runt of a litter of direwolves

However, if Jon does become a dragonrider and learns of his Targaryen heritage, where does that leave the lovely Daenerys? Jon is arguably the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, and if he accepts that, he would be usurping Dany’s own claim. However, if the trailers are altered to edit out riders on the dragons’ backs, it would seem that Jon and Dany are happily riding together – will this mean that they will combine their claims, in the classic Targaryen fashion? Could the third head of the dragon actually refer to their child, not another rider? Only the final season will tell.

More: Game Of Thrones: 8 Most Important Episodes To Watch Before Season 8


2019-04-12 06:04:25

Rose Moore

10 Crazy Dragon Ball Fan Theories That Make No Sense

Dragon Ball has never been a franchise that’s afraid to go just a little bit out there. Like most manga and anime, it’s a festival of absurd fight scenes, flashy special attacks, laser beams, explosions, dramatic monologues, and ridiculous deus ex machinas. We wouldn’t have it any other way, either.

RELATED: Dragon Ball: 20 Things Wrong With Frieza We All Choose To Ignore

Over the course of the series’ long run, the storytelling has taken a backseat to all of this spectacle.  As dizzying as the plot of the average Dragon Ball story arc may be, though, fan theories have pushed things even further. Let’s take a look at some of the strangest theories the community has come up with (don’t be surprised when some of them prove to be correct, either).

10 Frieza Is A Child?

When it comes to Dragon Ball villains, Frieza is probably the most iconic of all. We’ve all seen the memes. However, it’s odd to think just how little we actually know about him.

The series doesn’t often trouble to detail the age of characters, and that’s an even more complex issue where Frieza’s concerned. According to a theory from Redditor Billogi, the infamous mutant may only be a child!

Yes, he can destroy entire planets with a casual gesture of his hand, an act probably just a shade beyond most infants. As the theory argues, though, he’s a member of a mutant, hybrid race, and there’s no telling what kind of longevity they may have. Couple this with his small stature (compared to his brother Frieza and father King Cold) and general childish tantrum-throwing nature, and this absurd theory may just carry some weight.

9 Goku And Frieza’s Battle On Namek Was In Slow-Motion

Speaking of the memes surrounding Frieza, one very popular one is based on the megalomaniacal mutant’s poor timekeeping. As he famously stated, Planet Namek would be destroyed in five minutes… except it wasn’t, because he then proceeded to engage in a super dramatic fistfight with Goku for several episodes.

To cut the guy some slack here, all of us use the timescale ‘five minutes’ to mean ‘you know, some time relatively soon.’ It’s not often meant literally. That’s neither here nor there, though, because a fascinating theory arose out of all this.

Redditor Newgrewshew believes that the epic clash actually did only take five minutes, but stretched over several episodes because we were watching in slow motion! Supposedly, these two all-powerful beings fight far too quickly for our feeble human eyes to follow, so the action was slowed all the way down for our benefit.

8 Goku Black Is Future Evil Goten?

Over the years, Dragon Ball has certainly dabbled in that most confusing of storytelling elements: time travel. As Doctor Who fans will know far too well, things start getting incredibly confusing when you mess with time. Characters’ pasts, presents, and futures become blurred, nobody’s quite who you thought they were anymore, and whole new realities come into existence.

During a Reddit discussion on Dragon Ball Super fan theories, the classic ‘Goku Black is Future Evil Goten’ thing reared its head again.

Quite how this would work out is a real mystery, considering everything we know about Zamasu, but still. That’d be a turn up for the darn books if ever there was one.

7 Dragon Ball GT’s Ending Created Super?

So, that Dragon Ball GT ending, huh? It first aired way back in 1997, and the fanbase still doesn’t quite know what the heck to make of it. What really happened to Goku there? When you get right down to it, there’s really no telling.

Of course, this could have been just what the creators were shooting for. It keeps us guessing, keeps the discussion flowing, keeps fans theorizing.

One particular theory has proven far too outlandish, though: that Dragon Ball GT directly created and tied into Dragon Ball Super. Yes, Goku was just as bewildered by the events of GT as everybody else, but that’s not exactly compelling evidence.

6 Frieza Was Born With His Phenomenal Powers

As we’ve already suggested, some of Dragon Ball’s most bizarre fan theories sometimes turn out to be right on the money. After all, logic and general sense-making don’t tend to be very high on the show’s list of priorities. You can see how these sorts of situations might occur, then.

One case in point would be the root of Frieza’s strength. Throughout the show’s run, we’ve seen Goku and his Saiyan friends put their bodies through the most punishing training routines, in order to keep up with their formidable foes. Meanwhile, villains like Frieza don’t really take the time to do that. As we’ve reported before, this led fans to assume that Frieza was, like Lady GaGa, born this way.

RELATED: Dragon Ball: 15 Powers You Didn’t Know Frieza Had

Quite how you’d be born with the ability to blast planets out of the sky with your pinky is never explained, but it turns out that Frieza’s absurd power do simply come naturally to him.

5 Hybrid Saiyans Are More Powerful?

If there’s one thing anime and manga fans just love to do, it’s engage in heated who’s more powerful than who debates. What with all the ridiculous feats of strength and dramatic battles showcased, it can be very tough to say.

As such, this next fan theory is a bit of a grey area.  As we’ve reported previously, there’s no official evidence in the show that hybrid Saiyans are stronger than pure Saiyans, but some fans persist in the claim. What about Trunks and Goten, they say, who are able to achieve the Super Saiyan form incredibly quickly? What about Goku himself?

If anything, it’s probably more a case of how hard you train than how much (or how little) Saiyan blood you have.

4 Humans And Saiyans Are Related?

Speaking of Saiyan hybrids, the proud warrior race doesn’t tend to favor those sorts of inter-species relationships. Regardless, though, the resultant children do indeed seem to surpass other Saiyans in various respects. In the case of Goten, for instance, this may just be a result of plot necessity rather than any hybrid/pure Saiyan commentary.

It’s a curious thing, but some fans have concluded that humans and Saiyans are related in some way. Physically, the two races are very similar (we didn’t know the truth about Goku for some time), but it seems like a huge stretch and a major cosmic coincidence for them to be related.

3 Bulma Wished The Saiyan Saga Into Reality?

Dragon Ball, as we know, is a franchise loaded with all-powerful extra-terrestrials, mutant warriors and some of the most fearsome robots since Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Terminator movies. With all of that in mind, you might doubt that we regular humans could have much of an impact in the show.

Bulma, in particular, is not about to defeat any supervillains single-handedly, but her tech savvy and support has turned the tide of several battles. On top of that, there’s a curious theory that Bulma made a Dragon Ball wish that kicked off the entire Saiyan Saga. Supposedly, her breakup with Yamcha caused her to seek the Dragon Balls and wish for a boyfriend. The result? Vegeta appeared, and… well, you know the rest.

Is the plausibility strong with this one? It is not. It’s a fun one to discuss, though.

2 Dr. Brief’s Android Wife?

Speaking of Bulma, here’s another fascinating theory you may not have considered (but will be entirely unable to forget once it’s brought to your attention): some Dragon Ball enthusiasts really believe that Bulma’s mom is an android!

Yes, this is the sort of thing that the brilliant Dr. Brief would be entirely capable of. Yes, Androids technically are capable of reproducing, as we explained; Android 18’s sad story attests to that. No, Panchy doesn’t seem to age a single second.

It’s one of those situations that believers can find tons and tons of corroborating ‘evidence’ for, but is just so fundamentally odd that it’ll never really stick.

1 Krillin Is The Most Powerful Being In The Dragon Ball World

Well, maybe that’s overselling him just a little. There are some incredible characters in this franchise, after all, with abilities that boggle the mind just to think about.

We’ve already snarked on mere humans’ strengths compared to those of Saiyans, but Krillin seems to be out to break all of those rules. There are some fans who will tell you that he’s the strongest around, but there’s a whole lot of mental gymnastics to do to reach that conclusion.

The argument is that he doesn’t need to transform into a Super Saiyan, a were-pig or anything else OTT to perform at the peak of his powers, but it’s a little tough to make that fly.

NEXT: Dragon Ball: 30 Storylines That Fans Want To Forget


2019-04-11 01:04:39

Chris Littlechild

BioWare’s Canceled Dragon Age Was Exactly What The Studio Needed

It’s no secret that BioWare is in rough shape when it comes to reputation. Just a few years ago, the common perception of the studio was that it could do little wrong; even Mass Effect 3, complaints of a paint-by-numbers ending notwithstanding, was considered a great RPG that innovated and managed to deliver a satisfying adventure for characters that had persisted over several years and stories. Sure, Mass Effect: Andromeda was pretty bad to start, but ultimately a lot of people have come around on the game now that some patches have been implemented and, perhaps more crucially, they’ve seen how awful things can really be. There isn’t a lot of good to be found in Anthem currently, but at the very least, it’s a useful historical example to point to whenever someone wants to suggest that something could be worse by comparison.

Things didn’t have to be this way. A new report from Kotaku emerged earlier that detailed the canceled Dragon Age game that gave way to Anthem, and it’s an eye-opening experience. Not only did that Dragon Age title sound like the exact sort of game BioWare is known for making and making well, it’s also clear evidence that the studio had learned from the setbacks Dragon Age: Inquisition had experienced. The game was scrapped because Anthem was doing so poorly in development but, with the benefit of retrospect, that clearly wasn’t the right call, and the canceled Dragon Age project was exactly the game BioWare desperately needs to bounce back from the disappointment that has colored the past few years.

Related: Dragon Age 4: The Best Theories About The Dread Wolf Rises

According to Kotaku, the canceled Dragon Age game was described by a former BioWare developer as a “hugely reactive game, smaller in scope than Dragon Age: Inquisition” but with more attention paid to player choice and consequence. The game was set in the Tevinter Imperium, the wizard-ruled country that is situated at the northern tip of the main continent of Thedas. Players would gain control of a group of spies that would navigate smaller areas and plan heists. The game was ready-made to continue the story that the Dragon Age: Inquisition Trespasser DLC had started, with a built-in villain ready to go and the Dread Wolf reveal maintaining the kind of impact that narrative beat deserved. In short, it was exactly the kind of Dragon Age adventure that fans wanted, and it sounded like it had learned from Inquisition in a way that would have blended that game’s strengths into a new set of innovations to shore up its weaknesses.

The canceled Dragon Age game played to BioWare’s strengths. It was inherently a single-player adventure that emphasized narrative and choice, two elements that have characterized the most successful titles the studio has released to date. It would have been a breath of fresh air when compared to Destiny 2The Division 2, and others, rather than Anthem‘s stale riff on the genre. More importantly, it would have been an affirmation of EA’s intent to let BioWare continue to make the game’s that had made the studio famous in the first place.

Unfortunately, though, that never happened. It’s too early to tell what we’ll be getting instead, although it will definitely have a live service component, which seems to be something of a mandate for EA-owned games now. Instead of getting the evolution of a series that fans were literally willing to support by buying another game—there was a movement among Dragon Age fans to purchase Anthem as a “crowdfunding” measure for getting a new Dragon Age title—we’ll be getting a much larger overhaul. While the franchise is no stranger to that, the disappointing thing is that it sounds like BioWare had completely figured out the right direction for the series. There was motivation, clear intent to craft a story that made sense with the gameplay being pitched, and pre-existing assets in the Frostbite Engine that would make production easier. By all accounts, that sounds like the exact sort of title that could get people excited about BioWare again.

Instead, it looks like another studio under the EA umbrella is suffering under its shadow. That isn’t to say it’s entirely EA’s fault that BioWare wasn’t able to make the canceled Dragon Age game a reality, but rather that the partnership is clearly draining both parties: EA of resources, and BioWare of the “magic” that used to characterize the studio’s most exciting projects. BioWare is an equal contributor to the problem, with reports circulating about how difficult it has been to work there over the past several years and a string of unsuccessful games that have to be more than just the Frostbite Engine’s fault.

Still, it isn’t hard to imagine a different timeline where EA doesn’t force BioWare to scramble to put out other fires. The canceled Dragon Age game continues through development, buoying the studio through the difficult Andromeda and Anthem launches. Fans of a series that desperately needs another good entry would be sated, and the reputation of BioWare would still be preserved through at least one of its IPs. To put it in terminology from a property EA perhaps has more familiarity with: BioWare could’ve used the lay-up of a classic, well-made BioWare-style game, but EA didn’t even let the studio take the shot. Now, both companies are worse off, and the canceled Dragon Age game will live on in the memory of fans only. We won’t write off the upcoming Dragon Age 4 game yet, but it’s still early in development, and BioWare could really use a game like it right now instead.

More: Dragon Age 4 Is Still Years Away

Source: Kotaku


2019-04-09 01:04:58

Cody Gravelle

BioWare’s Canceled Dragon Age Was Exactly What The Studio Needed

It’s no secret that BioWare is in rough shape when it comes to reputation. Just a few years ago, the common perception of the studio was that it could do little wrong; even Mass Effect 3, complaints of a paint-by-numbers ending notwithstanding, was considered a great RPG that innovated and managed to deliver a satisfying adventure for characters that had persisted over several years and stories. Sure, Mass Effect: Andromeda was pretty bad to start, but ultimately a lot of people have come around on the game now that some patches have been implemented and, perhaps more crucially, they’ve seen how awful things can really be. There isn’t a lot of good to be found in Anthem currently, but at the very least, it’s a useful historical example to point to whenever someone wants to suggest that something could be worse by comparison.

Things didn’t have to be this way. A new report from Kotaku emerged earlier that detailed the canceled Dragon Age game that gave way to Anthem, and it’s an eye-opening experience. Not only did that Dragon Age title sound like the exact sort of game BioWare is known for making and making well, it’s also clear evidence that the studio had learned from the setbacks Dragon Age: Inquisition had experienced. The game was scrapped because Anthem was doing so poorly in development but, with the benefit of retrospect, that clearly wasn’t the right call, and the canceled Dragon Age project was exactly the game BioWare desperately needs to bounce back from the disappointment that has colored the past few years.

Related: Dragon Age 4: The Best Theories About The Dread Wolf Rises

According to Kotaku, the canceled Dragon Age game was described by a former BioWare developer as a “hugely reactive game, smaller in scope than Dragon Age: Inquisition” but with more attention paid to player choice and consequence. The game was set in the Tevinter Imperium, the wizard-ruled country that is situated at the northern tip of the main continent of Thedas. Players would gain control of a group of spies that would navigate smaller areas and plan heists. The game was ready-made to continue the story that the Dragon Age: Inquisition Trespasser DLC had started, with a built-in villain ready to go and the Dread Wolf reveal maintaining the kind of impact that narrative beat deserved. In short, it was exactly the kind of Dragon Age adventure that fans wanted, and it sounded like it had learned from Inquisition in a way that would have blended that game’s strengths into a new set of innovations to shore up its weaknesses.

The canceled Dragon Age game played to BioWare’s strengths. It was inherently a single-player adventure that emphasized narrative and choice, two elements that have characterized the most successful titles the studio has released to date. It would have been a breath of fresh air when compared to Destiny 2The Division 2, and others, rather than Anthem‘s stale riff on the genre. More importantly, it would have been an affirmation of EA’s intent to let BioWare continue to make the game’s that had made the studio famous in the first place.

Unfortunately, though, that never happened. It’s too early to tell what we’ll be getting instead, although it will definitely have a live service component, which seems to be something of a mandate for EA-owned games now. Instead of getting the evolution of a series that fans were literally willing to support by buying another game—there was a movement among Dragon Age fans to purchase Anthem as a “crowdfunding” measure for getting a new Dragon Age title—we’ll be getting a much larger overhaul. While the franchise is no stranger to that, the disappointing thing is that it sounds like BioWare had completely figured out the right direction for the series. There was motivation, clear intent to craft a story that made sense with the gameplay being pitched, and pre-existing assets in the Frostbite Engine that would make production easier. By all accounts, that sounds like the exact sort of title that could get people excited about BioWare again.

Instead, it looks like another studio under the EA umbrella is suffering under its shadow. That isn’t to say it’s entirely EA’s fault that BioWare wasn’t able to make the canceled Dragon Age game a reality, but rather that the partnership is clearly draining both parties: EA of resources, and BioWare of the “magic” that used to characterize the studio’s most exciting projects. BioWare is an equal contributor to the problem, with reports circulating about how difficult it has been to work there over the past several years and a string of unsuccessful games that have to be more than just the Frostbite Engine’s fault.

Still, it isn’t hard to imagine a different timeline where EA doesn’t force BioWare to scramble to put out other fires. The canceled Dragon Age game continues through development, buoying the studio through the difficult Andromeda and Anthem launches. Fans of a series that desperately needs another good entry would be sated, and the reputation of BioWare would still be preserved through at least one of its IPs. To put it in terminology from a property EA perhaps has more familiarity with: BioWare could’ve used the lay-up of a classic, well-made BioWare-style game, but EA didn’t even let the studio take the shot. Now, both companies are worse off, and the canceled Dragon Age game will live on in the memory of fans only. We won’t write off the upcoming Dragon Age 4 game yet, but it’s still early in development, and BioWare could really use a game like it right now instead.

More: Dragon Age 4 Is Still Years Away

Source: Kotaku


2019-04-09 01:04:58

Cody Gravelle