Dragon Ball Z: Infinite World is a 2.5D sci-fi fantasy fighting game developed by Dimps and published for the PlayStation 2 in North America (by Atari on November 4, 2008), Japan (by Namco Bandai on December 4, 2008), and Europe (by Namco Bandai on December 5, 2008).
Seen as an enhanced version of Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3, Infinite World features an updated roster (adding more characters from Dragon Ball GT) and updated gameplay mechanics (adding some from the Budokai series's handheld spin-offs while removing some from Budokai 3, such as Hyper Mode). In addition, players can unlock most characters and techniques normally by clearing "Sagas" in the new story mode (known as Dragon Mission).
It is the last game in the series to be released on sixth-generation consoles and the last to be released by Atari SA in North America (with Namco Bandai taking over the role of publisher).
The Budokai series has always had a very different battle system, growing progressively more refined as the years went on, finally culminating in Infinite World.
The game uses two physical attack buttons (punch and kick), an energy blast button which handles death moves, ultimates, and ki blasts, and a guard button to handle defensive maneuvers. Different characters in the game can string together different combinations of punches and kicks for easy-to-execute combo strings.
Certain punches or kicks in a given combo can be charged. If a fully charged punch or kick hits a blocking opponent, their guard will be broken and the offense can continue from there. Additionally, pressing the guard button while charging an attack will instantly return the character to a neutral state, allowing skilled players to string two completely different combos into a single series. This is the core of the game's fighting system.
Ki and Defense
Players are also tasked with managing their ki while they battle, which is represented by seven yellow bars under the health meter. Ki is what allows players to execute deathmoves like the Kamehameha and various other high damage techniques, and it also affects the player's ability to use defensive abilities like dodging, aura guarding, and afterimage. Ki recovers to a certain point automatically, but can also be gained by landing punches and kicks, or by charging it manually.
Dodging allows players to negate chip damage and stop guard breaking attacks by pressing the guard button with good timing just before their opponent hits them. Aura guarding burns ki quickly, but makes the player completely impervious to everything except throws. Afterimage is a powerful defensive maneuver similar to a combo breaker that almost instantly moves players behind their opponent, allowing them to either knock them away or start a combo of their own. It takes three full ki bars to do this though, and if the opposing player has good reflexes, they can counter it with an afterimage of their own. If players get caught in a combo without enough energy to perform afterimage, they're completely defenseless, so much of the game's strategy revolves around managing ki relative to the opposing player.
Deathmoves, Ultimates, and Transformations
The energy button handles all of these techniques. Pressing forward or backward in combination with the energy button will initiate one of two possible deathmoves. Each character has different deathmoves, and some characters have more than two at their disposal, so the player will have to choose two to fight with before entering the battle. Krillin, for example, has a Kamehameha, a Distructo Disc, and a Solar Flare that he can use, but players who select him will only get to use two in a single match.
Certain characters can also transform by pressing down in combination with the energy button. With Vegeta, for example, in order to turn into a Super Saiyan, players would have to have at least four bars of ki and then press down with the energy button. In order to transform into a Super Saiyan 2, players would need at least 5 bars, and so forth. Transforming can greatly increase the amount of damage dealt, as well as make it easier to gain ki. It can even briefly stun opponents if used skillfully.
Lastly, ultimates return once again to Infinite World as a sort of hybrid between Budokai 3 and Shin Budokai. Like in Budokai 3, certain characters (like Vegeta with his Big Bang Attack) have ultimates that trigger short cutscenes where a minigame takes place to determine how much damage will be inflicted on the defender. Some characters though -- particularly the new ones -- do their ultimates entirely in game, like Teen Gohan's Father-Son Kamehameha. No cutscene is engaged and the defender is given no opportunity to reduce damage. This is all on a character by character basis. Like in the previous games, ultimates often cause the camera to zoom to outer space so players can see the size of the massive fireball for dramatic effect.
The game includes 41 playable characters, 33 of which must be unlocked beforehand. While the roster builds upon the one used in Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3, Infinite World removes four of the previous game's characters: Kid Goku, Cell Jr., Supreme Kai, Uub).
Unlocked from the Start
Unlocked after clearing Saiyan Saga
Unlocked after clearing Frieza Saga
Unlocked after clearing Cell Saga
Unlocked after clearing Majin Buu Saga
Unlocked after clearing GT Saga
Other Unlockable Characters
Infinite World has battle locations from across the entire series, but it doesn't have every single one. The stages included in this release are:
- World Tournament Stage
- Hyperbolic Time Chamber
- Urban Area
- Planet Namek
- Cell Games Arena
- Supreme Kai's World
- Grandpa Gohan's House
- Inside Buu
- Red Ribbon Base
As with the previous games, most of these stages can be destroyed by ultimate techniques like Frieza's Death Ball or Vegeta's Big Bang Attack.