Review by WingedRegent

"A step back from Budokai 3, but still a fantastic game."

Dragonball Z has been releasing PS2 games since 2002 with Budokai 1. The game was good, but could have been better. Budokai 2, released in 2003, enhanced some aspects, but degraded some others. Budokai 3, released in 2004, was an overall improvment from all other Budokai game. Budokai Tenkaichi was released in 2005 and, like Budokai 2, stepped forward in some ways, but stepped backwards in other ways.

Graphics: 8/10

The graphics are great in this game. Each Ki blast looks amazingly detailed and each characters Ki auras look just like they do in the anime. However, the graphics seem not as bright and vibrant as in Budokai 3. Overall, the graphics were great, especially for a game with so much extras in it.

Sound: 7/10

The sound are great in this game. Each punch sounds like it does in the anime. and when you are charging a Ki attack, you can hear the sounds of it charging. It even has Japanese voice overs if you do not like the Funimation Dub. So what could bring the sound to a 7? Well, on some moves, the Ki blast either has the incorrect sound, or the character talks and the sound from the blast isn't heard in the background. There are also two bugs in the game that make the voice Japanese for a moment. The sound is good, but a few bugs brought it down.

Controls: 7/10

The controls will take getting used to in this game, especially if you played any of the previous Budokais. Now, only the square button is used for attack, but you can use triangle or X in the middle of combo to change it up. It may take around 30-1 hour to get used to the controls.

Gameplay: 8/10

This game has a new story mode called Z Battle Gate. This mode has you go through every single battle in the series from DBZ-DBGT Super 17 Saga including the story lines for movies 5,8,9, and 12. Each saga is detailed in every battle with the longest saga lasting around 30+ battles. The objectives in the Z Battle Gate are limited, however. They are either: Defeat the enemy with all your might/with swift attack/within the time limit, Defeat the enemy using (Insert move name here), or Survive until time runs out. Also, the cutscenes are not as detailed as in Budokai 1. In Budokai 1, the cutscenes depicted the events that led to that battle. In this game, the cutscenes depict only the events immediately before the battle. This mode also has "What If" scenarios in the game. For instance, what if Cell beat Gohan at the Cell Games. Also, what if Frieza had killed Goku. These questions and others are answered in this game. You can collect the Dragon Ball in this mode as well. When you collect them, Shenron will grant one of seven wishes. Other than the cutscenes, the story mode is the best mode in the game.

This game has a returning World Tournament mode that allows you to play in the World Tournament in the Novice, Adept, Advanced, or Cell Games. The main difference in this game is the fact that you can travel and fight flying outside of the ring boundaries. Before, if you got knocked out of the ring, even when flying and not touching the floor, you automatically lost. That is fixed in this game; you only lost when your feet touch the outside of the ring.

Another new mode is the Ultimate Battle mode, where you take customized characters in a ranking system type mode and try to get to rank 1. This mode could have been better.

The customization system has changed in this game in three ways; instead of capsules, you use Potara earrings, you do not buy them, and they do not grant moves, they grant stat enhancements and special effects. The only way to get earring is to earn them in Z Battle Gate, Ultimate Battle, or World Tournament mode after you unlock the Cell Games. Also, you can fuse earrings together to create a new earring, usually a character.

Other than those new modes, there is also a Character Illustration mode that allows you to read each characters history in the series. Very interesting for reading about characters you have not seen yet, or if you want to refresh your memory instead of finding the right manga chapter or anime episode.

As for fighting, the game has a few problems. One of them is the camera. If your character is bulky or huge, they take up a bit of the screen, almost making you want to switch the camera type to B type. Also, the fighters are categorized in this game. The normal size fighters(Goku,Vegeta) use normal striking speed and strength, the small fighters(Chiaotzu, Guldo) use fast attacks, but are very weak, and the bulky fighters(Broly,Bojack,USSJTrunks) are slow, but very powerful.

The character selection is the most expansive of all of the Budokai games. It includes nearly 60 character and around 100 forms. The forms in the game are no longer available as skill capsules. They can be selected as separate characters at the beginning of battles. This is good and bad in multiple ways. It is good because you do not have to worry about charging Ki to transform into the next form. It is also good because of the fact that they will begin stronger than base form. A huge benefit from this comes from the fusion characters. They will stay fused for the entire battle now, instead of running out of time during the fusion and defusing in mid battle. It is bad because they get different movesets than their other forms, some of the changes being bad. Another downside is that for some characters, the voice of the characters first form is still used at some points. (Cell has this problem) Overall, the pros out weigh the cons and it is a very good addition to the game.

Overall: 8/10

This game delivers as a great fighting game, especially for the DBZ fans. The only thing that held it back from me giving it a 9 is a few bugs, undetailed story mode, and the camera.

Buy, Rent, or Avoid: Buy if you are a fan of DBZ. Otherwise, Rent it first. If you like, then Buy.

This game is great for a DBZ fans collection, but may not suit everyone equally. At least try this game if you are not a DBZ fan; you may like it.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 09/11/06, Updated 09/12/06


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