Review by Gumbercules

"Killer sequel to a crappy prequel"

This is the kind of game that you hate to love and love to hate. With all the mixed emotions I had playing through it, I may not be able to give you a straight review. Some things I liked in the game were the Dragon Universe and the combo system. Some things I thought could have been better were the soundtrack and the stories.

What can I say about Dragon Universe? Well, “awesome” would be an awesome choice . They finally made a great Dragonball Z storyline that you can interact with. Now, being able to fly around and find your battle is rather fun, and finding items along the way is great. The way they have it now is you can find capsules in the Dragon Universe so you can save yourself time and money in the capsule shop. The thing is, finding the items is pretty annoying. When you fly over one and it comes up on screen, half the time there is nowhere for you to fly to. You have to back up and turn around in order to fly to the item. I've found this to be the only real flaw in the Dragon Universe stories, and I'm glad because this doesn't really ruin the experience of it.

Kamehameha! A great finishing move. However, the graphics could have supported it better. With most of the finishing moves in this game, you do get a cut scene to go along with it, but the graphics are very poor in making the character's actions look fluent. If you're looking at the overall battle graphics, the good does outweigh the bad. The melee seems very true to the movements, especially when you go into the Dragon Rush mode. If you upper-cut your opponent they get thrown into the air instead of just standing there like nothing happened. The only weird thing about the game are the invisible barriers. When you fling your opponent into them hard enough, they can be broken, which allows you to go to a different part of the stage. Just one problem. When you break the “invisible” barrier they make it look like you shattered glass. I found this to be a little strange because they obviously did this on purpose. It shouldn't look like shattering glass when you throw your opponent into another part of the battle arena.

Unlocking things in this game isn't too complicated or frustrating. That is, unless you've never been good at world tournaments. Basically, it works like this. You play through the story and collect the items that can be collected there. However, the stories only contain so many items. This then forces you to collect money, and that is done in two ways. The first is to find it during Dragon Universe, which doesn't allow you to buy many items once they start getting expensive. You can also compete in world tournaments for prize money. Prize money from world tournaments lets you buy more of the expensive items because you obtain so much. The only thing is that they aren't easy. There are three World Tournament classes: Novice, adept, and advanced. Each one offers more fighters and more prize money than the last, which means harder battles.

The battles during Dragon Universe were very easy on any difficulty. The opponents get steadily stronger, but as you fight so do you. This makes it even no matter what difficulty you're on. Making it through a story twice is more than necessary in this game because items and characters have to be unlocked in each story. This usually takes more than one time through, and having no challenge every time does get boring. The only way to really make it hard is switching over to Z3 mode, which is the absolute hardest mode in the game.

Punch, punch, kick, kick, energy! Pretty simple, eh? Well, it is one of the things that I like about these games. When you're first introduced to the Budokai series, you'll notice the impossibly easy combos. Still, there is a combo system in the game unlike any other fighting game I've played. But if you're really into the Budokai games, you'll find that as you dive deeper into the game you'll unlock harder combos that take a little time to pull off and are loads stronger. Combine these with the weaker combos and throw in a few extra punches and kicks, and you've got yourself a master-style combo. This combo system is just so much deeper than you can see and it takes time and patience to really uncover it, so if you think you've seen all that can be seen in this game you may want to check it again.

The Dragon Rush mode. Some hate it, others love it. Me? Well, it really depends on the character. The new Dragon Rush is a high paced button mashing combo sequence. By completing a Dragon Rush you can pull off an awesome combo and end it with a finishing move. It's easy to do and even easier to complete, but it's annoying when you're trying to see the finishing move and you get blocked half way through. The damage inflicted from Dragon Rush is massive, especially if you complete all three stages of the combo. As the AI gets stronger it also gets smarter allowing it to counter your Dragon Rush. So the best thing you can do is practice Dragon Rush.

Same old, same old. They have not changed the music in this series once and it's really starting to get annoying. I got so annoyed I had to play with the T.V. muted. Fighting games need good fighting music like hard rock or something with a fluent beat. If you're a huge fan of video game soundtracks you may want to bust out a good C.D., mute the T.V., and play the game that way. I found it a lot more satisfying than listening to that sorry excuse of a soundtrack.

I found myself loving and hating this game at the same time. I couldn't stand running through the stories in a matter of minutes. The idea of Dragon World is great; they just need to make it more challenging. I really hated the music, but playing some of my own while whooping butt with my homemade combos is rather entertaining. Are you prepared to give it your all? To become the strongest you have to beat the strongest, so start fighting.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 02/17/06

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