My experience level is over 9000!
It's been a long time since I cared about Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball series. Outside of playing a bit of the recent fighting games, I haven't paid attention to anything related to the franchise in about 10 years. Still, regardless of whether I've been paying attention or not, there has been a steady stream of Dragon Ball games, including the Wii-exclusive Dragon Ball: Revenge of King Piccolo and Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans, a DS role-playing game.
Attack of the Saiyans is a by-the-books RPG. It's got turn-based battling, slow-paced story-telling, and other trappings of the genre. You control Goku, Gohan, Piccolo, and more as you participate in the tournament that wraps up Dragon Ball and battle through the Saiyan Saga. The story is mired in long, static dialogue sequences between the cast. If you're way into the Dragon Ball universe, you might be a little interested, but it's easy to just skip these monotonous sequences and cut to the meat of the game: the combat.
The battle system isn't groundbreaking, but it throws a few small wrenches into the formula. The biggest is the Active Guard system, which is reminiscent of timed hits from games such as Super Mario RPG except it applies to only defense. When an enemy attacks, an icon will appear above one of your three characters and you must press the correct face button to lighten the blow of the enemy's attack. This becomes integral in the more difficult boss battles.
Standard attacks are dealt in a flurry of punches and kicks, which is in line with the series' fast-paced combat. In general, battles don't last too long. Special attacks drain Ki (read: magic) and are where you'll see the trademark attacks, such as the Kamehameha. There is also the Rage Gauge, which is akin to a Limit Break in the Final Fantasy series (you build it by dealing damage and receiving it). Using it, you can combine attacks with other character's to cause tons of damage.
The game is long enough, about 20 hours at a minimum, but it's unfortunately sluggish at the beginning and doesn't really pick up until you plow through close to 10 hours of the game. Once it picks up, it's an entertaining RPG with a decent battle system and side quests. The biggest of which involves the titular dragon balls that grant wishes to whoever collects all seven. You can gain copious amounts of experience, money, or ability points, the latter of which upgrades your special attacks, or you can unlock the difficult secret boss, which adds a good deal of lastability.
Graphically, it's appealing, with large and detailed battle sprites. However, characters are tiny on the overworld, and sometimes you can't really tell the difference between them. The sound effects are evocative of the series and the music is bearable.
On the whole, Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans is a very vanilla RPG. It's got a run-of-the-mill battle system with a few interesting twists, and quite a bit to do. The story-telling isn't strong, and only Dragon Ball fans will be able to follow exactly what's going on. Those fans, active or lapsed, are the kind of people that should be playing this game, as you'll find a great Dragon Ball RPG. If you're more familiar with King Kamehameha of Hawaii then you are the popular Dragon Ball attack, then this game isn't for you.