PS2 REVIEW: DRAGON BALL Z: BUDOKAI TENKAICHI

In fact, what you can find in this game is way more interesting that what you could be expecting to find in a new game by Dimps. Since it was made by Spike (a new company, famous for their work on the "Fire Pro Wrestling" saga), what you'll find here not only surpasses the Budokai series up to now, but shows us some new and great additions.

Just by looking into the cover of the game, you will notice this game to features more than 90 characters, most of which aren't usually seen in the games. Chaozu, all members of Frieza's special forces, Master Roshi, Kid Goku and many others can finally be played with in this game. However, since the game doesn't feature in-battle transformations (most people may dislike this, but remember that such thing only first appeared in the Budokai series!), different forms of the same character are counted as different characters, turning Goku into a lot more than a single character.

I should also say that each character doesn't have many moves (5 or 6, if I recall) but they have them all available ever since you start the game (unlike what happened in the Budokai series, where you had to equip them in order to be able to use them), which is also an interesting thing. In order to use all of them, you will need to fill up to 3 balls (which are filled by performing in battle-stuff, like attacking), and those are also used to perform other special moves, like Goku's Instant Transmission or the Kaioken.

This could seem dumb in the other games, but in here you will find a new type of battle which capture exactly the essence of the series. First, your physical attacks (now you perform punches and kicks using the same button) don't do a lot of damage, well, they hardly ever damage your opponent! So, you'll have to use them as a backup, while you recharge your ki and blast balls (I think that's the name given to the 3 blue balls you can see in the battles) to launch that powerful ki attack which will heavily damage your foe. Depending on what attack you use, you may even be able to take away half of your opponent's health, which is always nice.

One of the best things added around here was the new battle style, where you will be given the opportunity to fight against a single opponent in a 3D arena, which obviously has a long area to fight in. Don't get me wrong, the arena doesn't have limitless space, but the space it has is more than enough to keep the player happy. In there, you can destroy everything that appears on your sight, which is always nice, and you can use the scenario itself to cause even more damage to your opponent.

Concerning modes, this game features not only Z Battle gate (the story mode) but also the usual tournament mode, a vs mode, a training/practice mode and a mode where you need to fight 100 opponents. The most important (and interesting) ones are the story mode and the last one, since they feature things the player may not be expecting.

In the story mode, you will find a lot of different stories, each of them ranging from 1 up to more than 20 battles. They cover not only all the full Dragon Ball Z series, but also some of the movies and seem to feature even some "What if" stories, where ou can see what would have happened if this or that event had really succeeded.

In the other important mode (called "Ultimate Battle", if I recall correctly) , you are able to pick a character and one of the 3 choices (normal, custom or Z-evolution) and you have to try beating a whole set of 100 characters. Basically , each time you win you get 1 point (and advance up 1 character), but if you lose you will be taken 2 points and keep yourself in the same place. Doing this, your main target is reaching number 1, and trust me, it will be HARD!

Another interesting thing I should talk about is the Vs. mode, since in there you will be able to have fights between two players, with the screen split in half. An interesting solution, since the interface provided wouldn't be very good if both players went away from each other.

With so many characters to enjoy and so many interesting things to do, why didn't I give this game an even higher score? Well, that's one of the few problems with the game: in the european and american version of it, the music has been slightly censored, with people from those countries getting versions of musics from Budokai 3 (despite the game have nothing to do with it) while the japaneses guys had the opportunity to hear the original songs, taken from the series. However, I have to admit that a nice touch was given to these versions, as you can choose to hear the original japanese voices of the characters, apart from the english version of those same voices.

The graphics, I have to say that they are improved from the ones you could see in the previous Budokai game, but some of them still look slightly weird. For example, Baby's armor reflects light, but it only seems to do it well sometimes. Also, I didn't tried all the camera angles (you can chose from 3 different ones, in this game), but with the default one sometimes you can't see the action nicely, like when you are near some trees or any other elements that don't let you advance further in that direction.

So, who should get this game? Not only everyone who likes Dragon Ball Z, but also those players who are interested in trying a new experience. A final note: you know what could have made this game even better? Battles against multiple opponents, but that seems not to have been possible this time. Maybe next time!

System: PS2
Dev: Spike
Pub: Atari
Release: Oct 2005
Players: 1 - 2
Review by Mykas0
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.5
GRAPHICS
4.5
CONTROL
4.5
MUSIC/FX
3.0
VALUE
4.5