Review by WingedRegent

Reviewed: 09/25/06 | Updated: 09/29/06

The best DBZ fighting game to be released in the United States.

Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 is easily the greatest of the Budokai games and one of the greatest DBZ games to be released in the U.S. Released in 2004, this game is still going strong today.

Controls: 10/10

The controls are very fluid and responsive with the game. There is an option to customize the controls, allowing you to adjust it according to your playing style.

Sound: 9/10

The game has all of the sounds that you would expect from a DBZ game. From the ki blasts to Goku charging a Kamehameha Wave, all of the sound are there. The one problem would be some voices. Characters like Cell have voice changes when they transform, but in the game, they have the same voice from first to last form.

Graphics: 10/10

Graphically, this is among the best looking games for the PS2. From the intro to the game itself, the graphics are great. The ki blasts are beautifully detailed in a style that looks like the anime. When you land certain Ultimate attacks, the explosion that wrecks the arena is also very detailed and looks amazingly stunning. The auras finally look like how they look in the anime. Instead of just a non-detailed aura like in Budokai 1, the auras are more detailed and have electricity effects on the higher powered transformations.

Gameplay: 9/10

The gameplay is the best of all of the Budokai games. The story mode for this game is the Dragon Universe mode. In this mode, you play as one of eleven characters and play through the Saiyan-Buu sagas. Unlike all other story mode, you actually travel on a map. The cutscenes would be the problem with this game. The cutscenes from Budokai 1 are replaced with still facial portraits that speak. Also, sound effects are played when appropriate. They are not detailed enough to tell what is going on at some points.

New additions to this Budokai game are the Dragon Rush, the new Ultimate Attack system, Hyper mode, teleportation, and fatigue. The Dragon Rush is a new move that can be done while in the Hyper Mode state. It incorporates some of the feeling that the fights in the DB Universe had. Basically, it requires you to play a game of chance with the opponent, having both of you press a button. If the buttons pressed are different, the attack continues, but if the buttons are the same, the attack is stopped.

The new Ultimate Attack system has press the X button when a bar on the bottom of the screen is as close to being full as possible. Both you and your opponent do this three times. If your tally is bigger than his, the attack reaches its full power, but if his tally is higher, the attack is either blocked or nullified. To assist this feature, the fatigue system has been added. The fatigue increases as you continue to use Ki blasts and take damage. Another new feature would be the teleport attacks. When you knock the opponent away, you have the opportunity to teleport behind them and attack again. Likewise, the opponent could teleport behind you and counter you.

There are around 40 characters in this game, all from DB, DBZ, DBZ movies, and DBGT. This adds alot of replay value to this game. Unlike the last Budokai games, where the characters played almost the same as each other, each character has their own combos, move set, and fighting stances.

There is also a Dragon Arena mode that allows you to develop any character you want to play as. When your character levels up, you get a point to add to any one of seven stats; Health, Ki, Attack, Defense, Arts, Ability, and Com. Passwords can be posted online for other players to fight your creation. The Dragon Arena mode is also used to unlock two characters and to unlock some of the capsules. The highest level possible is Level 99.

The game has a World Tournament where you can play in a style like that of the World Tournament in the anime. The World Tournament has 4 rule settings; Novice, Adept, Advanced, and Cell Games. The first three allow for ring-out victories, but disallow fusions. The Cell Games disallow ring-out, but allow fusions and is fought in the Cell Games Arena.

Overall: 9/10

The story mode could have been better. That was the one thing holding me back from giving this game a 10. However, the game has so many great gameplay elements that they almost make up for it.

Buy, Rent, or Avoid: Buy if you are a fighting game or DBZ fan. If not, Rent and decide.

This game is easily a must buy for any fighting game or DBZ fan. This is one game that should not be missed. Now with the Greatest Hits Edition having some upgrades (Japanese VOs, New story mode stages, three new outfits), you have no excuse to miss out on this game if you are a DBZ fan. If you are not a fan of DBZ, at least try the game.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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