Review by RollDatKatamari

"A great game, even if you're not a DBZ fan."

I think that every kid born in the 90's was a fan of Dragon Ball Z at some point in their lives. I mean, what's not to like about overly-muscular men with outrageous hair punching each other at light speed and shooting blasts of energy at each other? Well, aside from the sometimes cheesy dialogue? I think I'll just jump into the review now, before nostalgia gets a firm hold on me.

Oh, and this is my first DBZ game that I've really played, so don't expect me to make comparisons to the ones released in the past.

Gameplay: 9/10

You can't call Tenkaichi 3 a game that relies on "gimmicky motion controls", seeing as you also have the option to use the GameCube or Classic controllers. However, the motion controls are actually implemented quite well and can help really get you into the game. I still prefer my Classic controller, though. Physical attacks are all mapped to one button, which seems like a bad idea but isn't. It's very fun to string together melee attacks, knock your opponent into the air, then blast them with a Ki attack. Before I bought this, I thought that flying about would be an issue. Worry not! When on the ground, the R button makes you ascend, while L is the descend button. My only problem is that sometimes, I'll dash right past an opponent in mid-flight. Then, you have a button that allows you to recharge your Ki energy (Z1 for the Classic controller). Oh, and of course, there's a guard button which I rarely use unless I'm playing on a harder difficulty or against a skilled human player.

Sorry if this isn't in-depth enough, but if I were to really break all of the controls and gameplay mechanics down, it would end up being much too long. This is really just to give you a basic idea of how the game controls. Tenkaichi 3 controls well, but it has a slight learning curve, so you may want to train first.

Oh, and I forgot to mention one very important thing. There are over 150 characters in this game! I couldn't believe this, but the character selection screen is right in front of me. There are also a ton of levels, some allowing you to play during the day, midday, and night. Nighttime means a moon, and all you DBZ fans know what happens to Saiyans in the moonlight...

Graphics: 8/10

The first thing you'll notice graphically about Tenkaichi 3 will probably be the character models. All 150+ characters are faithfully reproduced using cel-shading. You'll be amazed at how close they are to being perfect replicas of their anime counterparts. Most of the environments are very nice, too, my favorite being Master Roshi's Island. Once again, they look like they're straight out of the anime. My only complaints with the environments is that some of the textures are kind of blurry or just don't look that good in general. Other than that, though, they're great. The special effects in this game are pretty nice, too. Your characters all have that aura from the anime, and when they're powered up, they spark.

Overall, it's sort of like you're watching the anime and controlling a character in it. I'm really pleased with this game's graphics.

Sound: 7.5/10

Tenkaichi 3 has decent voice acting and gives you a choice between the English and Japanese voiceovers. This isn't really anything special seeing as many games these days do it, but seeing as there are so many characters, you have to give the guys that made this props. Sometimes it sounds like the characters lack emotion in their voices, but you probably won't be paying attention to this when beating the crap out of Frieza.

The game's music matches the anime very well. Most of the songs are fast-paced, catchy rock tunes - a staple in almost all fighting games. There's really not much more to say about it. The soundtrack's not bad, but it definitely could have been worse. The same goes for the voice acting.

Replay Value: 8/10

Multiplayer is the core of most fighting games and adds greatly to the replay value. Tenkaichi 3 has an online mode (for the Wii), but sadly it is a bit laggy. This problem can be helped by playing online with someone who lives closer to you, but it's still noticeable. I really hope they somehow patch up this lag.

However, there's nothing stopping you from playing offline multiplayer. I've had a blast playing against my sister in split-screen.

Another thing to note is that some characters are only unlockable by wishing for them using the Dragon Balls, and there are three dragons that can be summoned. This will make you play to get the Dragon Balls if you want those characters. I'm pretty sure ther are also some stages that can only be unlocked using the Dragon Balls.

+ Over 150 characters!
+ Faithfully portrays the anime, both graphically and soundwise.
+ Pretty easy to pick up, but difficult to master.

- Laggy online multiplayer. Please patch this up!

Final Notes

Even if you're not a big fan of the Dragon Ball/Z/GT series, at least rent this game. It's a very solid fighter that stands out from others. If you are a fan, though, you'll only be hurting yourself if you don't pick this up. To those fans, whether hardcore or not, this is pretty much Heaven.

Final Score: 9/10 (not an average)

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/03/08

Game Release: Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 (US, 12/03/07)

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