Dragon Ball Z Budokai 2 PS2 Review

From Raditz and Nappa to Kid Buu this game has every single saga from the TV show. Fight with a whole range of characters as you try to save the world from aliens and androids. Prepare yourself for Dragon Ball Z Budokai 2!

Graphics

The graphics in this game are what you would expect from a cartoon type beat-em-up, but there is nothing that really makes them stand out. The backgrounds however are well animated and in some of the battles there will be a special cut-scene in which you see a lot more of the arena. The general character animation is OK but the Super Sayain effect looks good.

The Ki Energy blasts such as the Kamahameha Wave or the Innocence Cannon are quite superb in the way they move but once again its nothing that stands out from the crowd. The game also has the KAPOW element we sometimes see where when you hit a character you will get a little flash of yellow light or something. There are a few glitches and I have walked right through solid parts of the arena or gone out of the ring yet floated but its fairly good at avoiding them. Do not worry if you suddenly seem to disappear though because you should re-appear when the camera spins round.

Gameplay

In DBZ Budokai 2 we see a whole new approach to the classic beat-em-up; now it takes on the elements of a strategy game as well by making you move your selected characters round a map with the “bad guys” moving around as well. Sometimes there will be a power up you want to collect but it’s going to require a certain amount of skill to get there without someone else making it there first or challenging you along the way.

As this game goes through all sagas you will face all the bosses from the series in a classic beat-em-up style. At the beginning of every level you get to pick a certain amount of characters from a selection bar and you will control this group. An interesting feature to this game is the life bar; some characters will start off with more life than others will. The life bar is measured in little blocks. The highest you can start with is 4/5 blocks and that is at a late stage of the game but you can use the Namek healing pads to gain an extra bar of life. Every time you are defeated in battle you lose a life bar. It is the same with the enemies. Watch out though because if you have a dazed sign above your head when you go into battle and lose you will get two life blocks taken away.

Enemies are a lot harder than they used to be in this game because some of them will have a higher life total to start with that others. The normal colour of life is green, the next stage is orange and finally red but some bosses will start off with their life bar at blue or even purple which means they have almost twice as much life as you and are stronger. The toughest boss in the game is obviously Kid Buu who will obliterate some of the weaker characters such as Goten or Kid Trunks.

There are literally tons of unlockables in this game with over 15 secret characters and many new arenas. You can also teach your characters new abilities using capsules which can either be won from battles or bought from Bulma. These abilities include the Spirit Bomb and the father-son Kamahameha Wave. An interesting new part of this game is fusion. Fused characters can be bought in capsules ad then used in battle with a special code, which you are given.

Seeing as this game includes Majen Buu, it’s not surprising that it also includes his special technique Absorption. Once again, using a special code with Super Buu you can absorb one random person. It can be Frieza, Cell, Tien and Yamcha and even Vegeta. Super Buu will take on a new look and will get that random character’s special powers. Just like that last game you can power up to Super Sayain mode but now you can turn Super Sayain 3! That’s right – the mode with the cool, long, blonde, spiky hair.

An optional quest in the game involves collecting the Dragon Balls, of which there is one in each level. When you get them all, the dragon Shenron lets you make one wish. One of these options is Babadi’s space ship which can be used to unlock the three Buu characters – but I’m not saying how because that would spoil the game.

The controls are fairly easy to master but can be quite confusing when the camera suddenly jerks round and you change direction. The training part of the game is a big help when trying to master the special techniques and general movement. Also, as you would guess, there is a two-player option which is fun to battle your friends on.

Sound

At the beginning of a match the characters will do a classic “I’m going to beat you” speech as seen in a lot of games. Also, when doing a special technique they will shout out the name of it like they would in the show. There are a few tracks of music with some for each world. The opening theme is good but that’s not really a big part as you only hear it once. Some of the character speech makes no sense at all with a mix of OOOOH and AAAAH.

Lifespan

The strategy element is fun but the continual battles can get extremely boring after a while. There are some little monsters that just seem to be everywhere and these get old very quickly. Also the game is surprisingly short, which is annoying but is also a relief at some extent because you have just got so bored of the game. If you do get this I recommend playing it in long lengths of time so you can just get it back to the shop and get your full refund.

The only bit that got me even slightly stuck was the final boss battle which you would expect – but that was only because it was getting to the boss that was hard after having to use teleporters to get everywhere.

Overall

This game is not really something you want to spend over £10 on it if you are not expecting to take it back because it is going to get very boring after you have unlocked everything. There is really nothing more to do in the game, except of course get angry at it and throw the disc against the wall, which is always fun. There are a lot of better games out there in this genre such as Bloody Roar or Tekken. I spent £40 on this game and it extremely annoyed me. If you do decide to get it try and get the cheapest deal you can find so you don’t waste lots of money on it like I did.

7 out of 10
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