"No need to be a fan to enjoy this"

I'm not a real big fan of Dragonball Z(the oringinal DB is another story), but I liked Budokai 1 and 2. I heard that B3 was getting tweaked gameplay wise so I picked up the Limited version of B3, got the behind the scenes DVD, the cool box, and a.....Chibi Brolly toy....

Should have been a keychain, I'll have to figure out how to turn it into one.

Anyway, loaded up the game, watched the cool intro movie, and created a new file.

Story and Presention of 1P Mode:

Dragon Universe is a whole new ballgame from preivious one player modes in the Budokai series. While B1 had...cutscenes and B2 had the boardgame-like game(I LOVED this...), B3 has an RPG mode where you play through the game with different characters, seeing them create thier own stories, flying around an overworld map unlocking characters and levels, and...leveling up. After you level up you get points that you can trade in to increase your stats and skills, like with Paper Mario. Kinda nice. Only thing missing is the option to NAME your character.

Gameplay:

The fighting/gameplay is perhaps the single most important thing for ANY game, and B3 has loads of it. The gameplay has been tweaked. You can freely FLY, the combos are more SF-ish meaning that you can now perform combo after combo and stop the combo at anytime you wish, you can DUCK by pressing a certain button before impact but you lose a little bit of Ki everytime you do it, and there are some jumping attacks. Also, you grab by pressing two buttons now instead of one, and teleportation can be done, after getting hit, performing a combo, or dodging an opponents attack. This is perhaps the biggest thing that makes B3 as frantic as Smash Brothers Melee.

You see, you can lauch into a combo and teleport behind your foe, hit them and continully knock them back and forth like a ping pong ball, you can perform a warp kamehameha(blast) and teleport behind your foe for a sneak attack, and so many other things that just add depth to the game. Also Hyper Mode can be done after meeting Ki requirements and you can enter Dragon Lash mode. At first when I heard about it, I thought it was cheap, but after playing with it, it's kinda cool. During this mode, you can knock your opponent through a combo, you set three buttons and during the 3 phases the foe on the recieving end has to press the same button as you do to get out of it and perform his own counter attack. To ensure this wouldn't be cheap, once a button is pressed, it cannot be used again during the mode, meaning you have an equal chance of getting outta the combo loop or keeping it going for the full 3 turns.

Another nice addition is beam stuggles.
Anyone who watched the anime will recognize these. If two beam attacks from both opponents hit, you have to repeatedly press buttons during a certain time period. If your foe put in more presses during that time, YOU get hit with the beam. And vice versa. It's also worth mentioning that everything is faster making it as frantic as Smash Brothers Melee. The truth bears repeating.

Graphics:

The graphics look NICE. The backgrounds and special effects are wonderful, and look as good as the anime. Smoke, energy auras, swirling clouds of dust and beam particales, and rocks flying from all the planetary destuction all are wonderfully animated as the character models themsevles.

Sound:

I'll just say this, it's a shame that this game doesn't have a Sound Test. The tunes range from rock, to jazz, and mixtures of them. It's wonderfully orchatrested and fits the mood. The character voices are ok, but still, fans will be put off at Frieza and Cell's voices not being casted correctly. Final form Cell should NOT sound like his 3rd Form. I mean, what the hell? Three games out and it's STILL not right?!

Now on to more ranting. Yay. The delay time it takes to get back up has been drastically cut down from past Budokai games, but still, some will find it annoying. Of course, you can press X as soon as you hit the ground and you can recover instantly....

Another thing that annoys me is the fact that there isn't an option to auto run. Double tap foreward or backward to run is nice, but would it hurt to have an option to run by just pressin back once? This really didn't hurt my play experience, as it's more of a pet peeve for me than anything else.

And while the quanity of characters in nice, it would have been great if Roshi, Puar, Mai, Sho, Pilaf, and other characters from the oringinal DB were in. Oh well, Kid Goku will have to do until then.

Point I'm trying to make is, if you like fighting games that stray from the norm like SSBM, get this game. It is just as addicting and such a blast to play.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/19/04


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