The game is a fighting game that allows the player the opportunity to let their character battle other characters controlled by the in game AI, or another player both on or offline depending on the mode of play the player or players choose. The game’s Z Chronicles story mode allows players the chance to relive key points of the three sagas within the Dragon Ball story with the aid of items called Drama Pieces that give what has been called an immense Dragon Ball experience. The game became a top rated title for the PlayStation 3 and was nominated for a Spike Video Game Award for best fighting game.
A screenshot of the fighting gameplay. The top two bars represent both character’s health. The three icons underneath it are the available Drama Pieces. The bars at the bottom of the screen display both player’s ki needed for special attacks and transformations.
The game’s combat presentation is displayed in a 2-D format. Players take control and battle one of the characters from the Dragon Ball Z series. Players are also given the ability to partner with another character within the game, in a vein similar to that of the Capcom and SNK fighting games. However, unlike those games, assisting characters do not fight, but instead provide various bonuses during the battle.
Another attack ability is Aura Spark mode, in this mode players can utilize stronger attacks, but this will eventually drain the player’s ki gauge. Unlike previous games in the series, players are not given the ability to build their ki. Instead, the gauge refills over time.
Taking the place of Skill Capsules are items called Drama Pieces. These appear in the form of in game cut scenes that can affect the gameplay and overall outcome of the battle. Such as the character receiving a Senzu Bean from their partner for health, the character’s defense or attack raised, or their partner jumping in to defend. Drama Pieces can only be activated when certain achievements are met.
One of the game’s main mode of play are the “Z Chronicles” which allow the player the opportunity to relive key points from the Saiyan saga to the Cell Games story arc. There are also two exclusive stories within this mode. The first where Bardock defeats Frieza and finds himself mysteriously on present day Earth, and the second where Broly journeys to Earth in search of Goku. Another game mode is the Trial mode, where players are given the option of three types of challenges which are the Survival Mode, where players must fight a wave of opponents for as long as their health last, the Time Attack Mode, where the player must defeat opponents before a certain amount of time runs out, and the Battle Points Mode, where players must earn battle points in battle.