Review by Chaos Control

"Certainly looks better than the first Budokai, but is still lacking"

The first Budokai was very impressive, allowing you to fight with any character from the Saiyan Saga until the Cell Games, use different skill capsules, and play a story mode very loyal to the show. Budokai 2 is just an updated version, with the same cell-shaded graphics, new characters up till the Buu saga, new capsules, and new move animations. The Gamecube version has new exclusive features not included in the PS2 game, to compensate for the wait. All these features make the game enjoyable, but it is still missing something.

Story (Also called Dragonworld):

In Budokai 2, the story mode covers the Saiyan Saga to the Buu saga. This is the weakest point of the game, because the story mode is nothing compared to Budokai 1. This is the lacking part of the game. The story mode in this game is more like a board game, with characters taking turns moving, finding power-ups, money, and dragonballs. The sort of follows the story, but twists it so that you may get confused. For example, When the Saiyan Saga starts out; Raditz comes to Earth with Nappa. Also, you will get very frustrated when you see Frieza and Cell come back AGAIN AND AGAIN is different levels. Now this may come as shocking, but it is only the beginning. I think the developers messed up while researching to make this game. It's not too bad, but may get old very quickly. It is also tedious at times, when you are searching for the elusive Dragonballs or just frustrated at the never-ending wave of enemies. What kills this mode is that you have to play over 25 times to unlock everything and you may just give up. However, you can't just defeat an enemy ONCE and expect to move on. Enemies can have up to 5 life bars and each time you beat them, they lose 1 health bar, so that drags out Dragon World a lot.

The story mode lacks authenticity of the anime. Even though the voice acting is good, it is like a completely new Dragonballz, because the characters all have new lines and sometimes it doesn't make any sense. For example, on a stage where you meet Dr. Gero, he brings Saibamen with him. That's very strange, considering Saibamen had a small role in the anime. The dialogue is short, and there is too much fighting to enjoy it all. You will appreciate it when you can sneak through a level without a battle, and infinitely annoyed when you fight Cell Jr. again and again.

At the end of Dragon World, if you have collected all 7 dragonballs in the various stages, Shenron will appear and grant various wishes like Break-through capsules, costumes, and fusion capsules. Very similar to Budokai 1. Although you may enjoy it the first few times. I guarantee that Dragon World will soon be a chore, not a game.

Graphics:

Much better than the first one. The characters are still cel-shaded, but look much cleaner, and the environments have accurate shadows, lighting, and everything looks simple and clean. The stages look pretty decent. The character's movements are just a little bid questionable at times, but you will hardly notice it. The ultimate moves will make you thrilled and pumped up. When your character transforms to Super Saiyan 2 or higher, you will see the electrical spark surrounding. Everything about the graphics in this game is passable.

Sounds:

Like the first Budokai, the producers have managed to gather all of the voice actors. The problem of the voice of the different forms of Cell is still there, but I never use Cell anyway, so that's shouldn't be a problem. The background music of things like the main menu is exactly like the first Budokai. I don't know whether it is to make us feel familiar with the game, or just plain laziness. The sound effectives are the same, with grunts and explosions you would and nothing too flashing. The character's do not really have a widespread script, do after a while you can memorize everything a character says.

Game play:

A big improvement here. For example, in Budokai 1, Goku's Kamehameha is PPPPE, but now you can use Kamehameha simply pressing ->E. It's perfect for unleashing a surprise energy attack without giving away the attack. Dodging attacks are very easy also. You can no longer fire an attack from long range and expect it to hit. Your opponents also use energy attacks more frequently. You can now use fusions, like Vegito and Gotenks.

There are new skill capsules you can collect and some VERY useful ones. For example, my favorite would be Angel's Halo, a support capsule. This stops the Ki drain of transforming. The skill capsules will be very easy to understand for DBZ Budokai 1 veterans, but it may take a few days for new people to fully comprehend.

If you go to the World Tournament mode and win 1st or 2nd, you will pick up some Zeni, the games currency. You take the money you earn and go to Bulma's Skill Capsule shop. You can buy a variety of capsules the equip to your characters. The biggest improvement of the shop is that, in Budokai 1, you can choose only random capsules and you only know what ONE skill capsule contains. In this game, you get a wider selection of capsules and no longer have to exit and enter the shop again and again to get what you want.
The World Tournament is the same as Budokai 1, fighting in different difficulties with 3-5 bouts. The new twist is that you are now allowed to equip the Sparking! Capsules to your fighters. Sparking grants you extra cash to your winnings, maybe 10%, 20%, etc, depending on how many exclamation points the capsule has. Everything is basically the same, including the ring-outs.

The actual fighting is very similar to Budokai 1. You have a Health and Ki bar, and can power-up to a maximum level of 7 bars. You normally start out with 3 health bars and 3 Ki bars, but some powerful opponents may have 4 or even 5 health bars! Like any fighting game, you can string combos together to create a super powerful chain of damaging attacks, ending with a crushing blow. A new feature added to B2 is powering up some abilities. When you use certain skills, you have to rotate both Control Sticks as fast as you can to increase the damage it inflicts. Some skills won't even be successful unless you roll the Control Sticks enough (such as Gotenks's Super Ghost Kamikaze Attack). Sure you may break your control stick very quickly, but it is very fun to watch. Some attacks require you and your opponent to press a button. If you both choose different buttons, the attacker will inflict a final crushing blow. If you press the same button, the victim will dodge the last attack.

A new part in this game is fusions. In battle you can fuse Goku and Vegeta into Vegito, Trunks and Goten into Gotenks, etc. Some fusions require you to correctly press a series of buttons and others allow you and your opponent to choose to button and if you pick the same, then the fusion fails and you cannot try to fuse again.

This game is awesome and I already can't wait for Budokai 3 to come out for Gamecube. As an added bonus, this game includes a tutorial for beginners.

Replayability / Play Time:

Well, you have to play Dragon World over and over again to fully unlock everything, you have to devote a lot of time to complete this game. This game will last longer than the first one did with the new capsules, characters, and modes. You can even buy new costumes for Bulma to wear in the skill shop! But beware, those costumes are much more expensive then any other regular capsules. I'm talking hundred thousands! After you finally unlock everything, you may have already worn out the game and won't be playing it much anymore, but it depends how much of a DBZ fan you are. Overall, The replayability is average and the play time is long, which is good.

Buy or Rent:

Definitely buy. Your collection of Gamecube game will never be complete without it. With all kinds of exclusive features for the Gamecube, how can one not want it? This game is cheap enough so it is easily affordable. We waited so long for it and now that it is out, why not get it immediately? It's a very good game that you will enjoy for a while since the Gamecube will not get Budokai 3.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 01/10/05, Updated 04/09/07


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