Review by alexg1989

"Dragon Ball Z Tenkaichi Tag Team for PSP: Portable Tenkaichi.... Incredibly awesome, but not perfect"

Dragon Ball Z Tenkaichi Tag Team retains all the fast paced and explosive action from previous Tenkaichi titles all in one portable package.

The bulk of the game is in Dragon Walker. In this mode you will go through the entire Dragon Ball Z story from the arrival of Goku's brother Raditz to the defeat of Majin Buu. You will spend plenty of time in the over-world map guiding your fighter to certain destinations and encountering various foes. Despite it's similarities to Shin Budokai Another World's over-world map, Tenkaichi Tag Team manages to make it bearable enough and even sometimes fun. Who doesn't like to see their favorite Dragon Ball Z characters brought down to size with huge bobble heads? A frequent problem with Another Road was repetition. You would have to battle the same enemy numerous times consecutively, even if he isn't your primary target. This can grow tiresome even to the most die-hard Dragon Ball Z fan. This is still an issue in Tenkaichi Tag, and sometimes it's downright horrendous. Enemies are spaced out much further and are easier to avoid. It's really rather simple to make your way straight to your primary target without worrying about bumping into a random enemy and wasting time on a needless fight. The developers decided to be nice this time and give you a chance to avoid a random battle even if an enemy is right on your tail. For example, if you are using Goku, you can press the square button to use Solar Flare to temporarily blind any nearby enemies. You can then make your escape.

However, for those of you looking to obtain every unlockable item, you should probably reconsider playing the story mode, and opt to download the sav file instead. That is, of course, unless you feel you're up to the repetitiveness that Dragon Walker will offer. To unlock just one item, sometimes you will have to complete various objectives. Everything from full-filling a task for a non-playable character, facing a special adversary, to defeating each and every enemy on the map. Artificial longevity is what I would call this. It isn't fun and can prove to be downright frustrating. Not because it's too hard, not at all. If anything, Dragon Walker and the game's general A.I is too easy. What's frustrating is that there are so many sets of enemies, so not only will completing this one task take a while, sometimes you may not be able to complete it at all. That's because the enemies are spaced out too far, and some even navigate the map which makes them harder to find. I can count at least two occurrences where I thought I had defeated every enemy, only to find out after finishing the chapter that I missed one despite spending 10 -15 minutes scouring the map in search of any others.

Despite it's short-comings, Dragon Walker is an ok re-telling of the classic Dragon Ball Z tale for the die-hard fan, but less than stellar for anyone unfamiliar with Dragon Ball. The story-telling is choppy, and don't be surprised if you find a few typos here and there… I did.

In Tenkaichi Tag Team's Free Battle mode you can choose to relive classic fights from the series or create your own.Want Future Trunks to duke it out with his kid self from the Buu arc? You can do that and pretty much any other fight you can imagine. The action is identical to that of previous installments in the Tenkaichi series (that's right, all the biggest and baddest moves from Tenkaichi 3 are still here) with some control revisions due to the PSP's lack of secondary shoulder buttons and dual analog nubs. It's mostly the same so Tenkaichi veterans shouldn't take too long to become accustomed to the new control configurations. New-comers will find the controls comfortable and easy to learn. You can also make use of the training mode to get the hang of the game's unusual third person perspective and to develop your skills for use against the CPU or friends in the Multiplayer mode.

Now to what the game is all about, two on two matches. Playing two on two on the hardest difficulty can prove to be a frantic and fast paced experience. It is the game's primary gimmick and for the most part, it delivers it well. The fights are fun but can be problematic at times. Sometimes when you're concentrating on one thing, your enemy's ally will blast you from out of nowhere, but that can be forgiven since it isn't that much of a detriment to the overall two-on-two experience. It's always fun to pair unlikely allies together and see what snide comments they make prior to a match's commencement. Things get rough in the last portions of Battle 100 though. On the last stages of the final group of battles, you pick a team of two characters to battle the computer controlled teams. The frustrating thing about this is that both teammates of the opposing team will primarily focus on you, the player, while mostly ignoring your partner. So instead of ‘tag', these will be more like handicap matches. If that isn't enough, their attack and defensive abilities are so high, that you will be near death within seconds if you're not careful.

Sound: DBZ Tenkaichi Tag Team is full of awesome sound effects that give that extra oomph to your matches. The background music is mostly generic with only a couple of standout themes. The voice overs are great as always, though there are some notable voice changes. Stephanie Nadolny (Gohan) and Linda Young (Freeza) have been replaced by the folks who voice these characters for Dragon Ball Z Kai. Although I prefer Linda and Stephanie Nadolny, these new voice actors certainly voiced their parts well.

Graphics: The graphics are definitely a step down from the console versions, though that's to be expected. The venues and character models can at times look blurry but that's hardly a deterrent considering the game has great game-play and replayability.

Pros:

Decent Story Mode: Not perfect and downright ridiculous at times, but at least it's better than Shin Budokai: Another Road's story mode.

Over 70 Characters to choose from (counting transformed states): For example, Goku (Super Saiyan 1) and Goku (Super Saiyan 3) both count as separate characters.

Deep In-game transformations: You can choose Goku's base form then transform into Super Saiyan, and then to Super Saiyan 2 and 3. You can also transform into Super Saiyan 2 or 3 straight from base form by using the analog nub while pressing the select button. You can also undo a transformation. For example, if you're in Super Saiyan 2 mode, you can quickly return to base mode by pressing Down + Select.

Great Fighting Mechanics: If you loved the Tenkaichi series on the Playstation 2 and on the Wii, you will love it here. Tenkaichi Tag Team is identical in nearly every way with the only major difference being it's portability.

Cons:

Difficulty: Tenkaichi Tag Team is far too easy for the seasoned veteran. While it is suspected that the general difficulty may have been decreased to accommodate the new two on two feature, it leaves the one on one experience lacking in excitement. One on one battles consist of you punching the AI until you win. Seriously. They may block, but a simple teleportation behind your opponent remedies that, then you can continue beating them. To ramp up the difficulty you should consider using default characters against fully customized characters. Give yourself 2 senzus and give the CPU 4 senzu beans. If you feel you're up to it, max out your opponents attack power and equip him with 4 senzus, while only giving yourself 1. It's cheap, but it's the only way to get a real one on one challenge out of this game.

Repetitiveness: Having to kill 10 sets of the same enemies on one map, really?

Despite these flaws, I highly recommend this game to all Dragon Ball Z fanatics. It is very well worth the $39.99 price tag. After all, it is a portable version of Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 3 with two on two features, what more could you possibly want? Except for a harder difficulty mode of course.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 06/06/11

Game Release: Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team (US, 10/19/10)


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