"Budokai 3 - Bigger and Better"

I've been somewhat of a fan of this series. Both the older games were pretty good, but they came with faults. The first didn't have many characters, bad graphics, and every character had almost identical moves. The good thing about it was the story line and multiplayer. The 2nd one was more of an expansion pack if anything. It added a bunch of new character clones and cel shaded graphics, but took out story mode and added a board game called Dragon World. This game has been the biggest upgrade of the series, with a few new characters, and finally an upgraded fighting system, along with an awesome story mode called Dragon Universe!

Graphics - 9/10
The graphics in this game are amazing. Dimps really got the hang of using cel shaded graphics. The character really do look like their anime counter-parts in this one. Most of the >E beam attacks have been slightly remade and Dimps added more lighting effects, adding a more realistic look. Beam struggles really show off the awesomeness of the lighting effects. The arenas you fight on are also jaw-droppinly good.

Sound - 5/10
The music is the game is mostly just remixed versions of the ones used in Budokai 1, which, was good at the time, but it's old now. The voice acting is... well...different. You can tell the voice actors are getting bored with their parts and re-saying their lines over and over. The battle cries and blasts still sound just as good as ever.

Gameplay - 6/10
The fight in this game has been somewhat upgraded. Now you can dodge attacks, teleport to counter an attack, or to make a chain of attacks and the ability to fly at will. The teleporting counter is fun but gets annoying if you fight computer on anything after hard mode. The computer always knows when to dodge attacks that matter, like a final blast to kill them or an ultimate attack. Regardless, it's still a neat little feature that helps make battles really more interesting.

Now, I would have given the gameplay a higher score but Dragon Rush takes most of it away. This cutscene of attacks is pretty cool at first glance, but it takes no skill what-so-ever to use. All you do is randomly press a button and hope your friend/computer doesn't press the same button as you do. If you can do this 3 times, you win the Dragon Rush and depending on who you're using, get to see a neat "finishing" attack animation. To even get to use the Dragon Rush you need to gather up a good amount of ki, then press the L2 or all of the buttons and then you go into Hyper Mode. In this mode, your ki drains very quickly, and if it runs out before you can do a Dragon Rush, you revert back to your base form and you're worn out. You also need to be in Hyper mode to be able to do an ultimate attack which was a horrible idea. Smack the guy that thought of that.

Story - 8/10
The Story mode in this game is called Dragon Universe. In this mode, you choose 1 of 11 characters and fly around the world, either fighting battles or finding items. The first time through the DU (with every character) follows the normal storyline. You go from red dot to red dot fighting classic battles from the anime and manga. Of course, you can find other people to fight and change the storyline a tiny bit. The 2nd time through has the same storyline battles, but it has more options on who to fight, which leads to different endings and cutscenes. For example, with Goku, you could fight Kid Buu, or find someone in a forest, who opens up another red dot with a new fighter which completely changes the ending.

Replay Value - 6/10
The replay value in this game is pretty high. The new moves, ultimate attacks, teleporting combos juggling and cancels allows the fighting to stay fresh for awhile but it will get boring sooner or later. Thats where multiplayer and buildup mode comes in...although build-up mode is very repetitive. It also takes a good 2 or 3 weeks to unlock every character and capsule if you play a couple hours a day which is good.

Final Thought - 7/10
This is the best Dragon Ball game to date. It has a huge amount of characters, moves, capsules and a bunch of other goodies to unlock. B3 is worth checking out if you're new the to the series but if you're not then I suggest buying it since its only 20 bucks now and you'll spend a good amount of time playing it.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 01/07/05, Updated 09/26/06

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