Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi PS2 Review

Ok, first off I am not a huge fan of Dragon Ball Z, I have never had a huge interested in the TV series or salivated while waiting for the next game to appear so as you would expect while Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi arrived at the metaphorical DarkZero Towers (also known as through the letter box of my front door) I was not really that excited, in fact I could not even pronounce part of the name of the title I was now holding in my hands. After many hours of the game sitting idle in close proximity to my PS2 I finally decided I was going to play it and was I ever surprised! This game was very good!

Graphics

As you would expect to coincide with the TV show the Graphics in Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi consist of the nice looking but now slightly over used cell-shading. Each of the main characters look abso-bloody-lutely incredible and are extremely detailed, some of the backgrounds however are less detailed and look a bit sparse but this can be forgiven as the main characters themselves look and move amazingly well. There are also many destructible items to be seen in each of the environments and many effects such as explosions or special move effects which are a sight to behold.

Gameplay

The first thing that is blatantly obvious when you start playing the game is that you fight from a behind-the-back perspective. This can be, well it was for me very off putting at first but after a few rounds of play you should begin to find that it suits the game very well and offers something new that no other game has tried up till now. From this perspective you can explore the environment as you please by either running or flying. Then it is up to you to roam around the game worlds, which are big but you will notice are limited by forcefields stopping you from venturing too far. Any opponents you fight can be locked onto with L1 which will then let you fight the opponent without straying too far away. You can then fight the opponent in all manner of way. Punching is mapped to square and consecutive presses will dish out a nice combo. Kick attacks are accessed via triangle while holding down L2 you can get a bigger blast. Many of the game’s other attacks depend on where you are standing. For example circle sometimes blocks attacks but sometimes teleports you to another area if needs be. The X button enables you to dash in a particular area quickly when used with the directional pad. It is a rather simple control scheme but it does work well.

Now, onto the different modes of play. First off is “Z Battle Gate” mode which is the game’s story mode in all but name. This mode requires you to win battles in various ways to advance. In this mode you will earn Z items which are basically a forum of levelling up when applied to different characters. Another mode is “Ultimate battle” mode which places you on the bottom rung of a 100 fighter tournament and challenges you to work your way to the top, this mode is a nice challenge as it gives you points when you win a match as you work your way up the ladder but if you lose a match you lose points, and if all your points get depleted you are thrown back to the bottom of the ladder to start again. The final single player mode found in Tenkaichi is the “World Tournament” mode, which gives you several tiered tournaments to fight in. All in all there is a nice selection of stuff to keep fan entertained.

Sound

In terms of voice talent, both English and Japanese voice-overs are available which is another fan pleasing aspect of the game. I also believe both voice-overs use the original actors for the show which is a nice plus. It terms of music, most of the soundtrack is of a very upbeat nature with many high tempo compositions included. Some of these tunes are rather nice but some are so cringe worthy that they could make your ears bleed. Thankfully there are a few high quality tunes in there as well which more than make up for the really, really bad ones. Then there are the sound effects which have all the bangs and oomph’s you would expect but are not that awe inspiring.

Lifespan

Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi has an extremely huge list of modes and features and contains more than 50 playable characters from the DBZ universe. The title also contains loads of customizable items for each of your fighters which I believe should entertain and amuse all the fanatics out there. The multiplayer mode which is titled “Duelling” should contain many hours of fun if you have like minded DBZ loving fans. In this mode you can edit your character’s skills before fighting, it is very different to other fighting games as it is played via split screen.

Overall

With limited knowledge (and boy do I mean limited knowledge) of the Dragon Ball Z universe I managed to truly enjoy DBZ: BT, so it goes without saying that this is a must for Dragon Ball fans. The main fighting system may lack some depth while compared to other game in the same genre but without doubt it is loads of fun to use. I would instantly recommend this to fans of beat ’em ups as it offers something new but it is the die hard DBZ fans that will get the most enjoyment out of this game. While it is not the best game I played this year or not even the best beat ’em up is sure is a lot of fun to play and in the end that was really matters. I think I might tune into the TV show now, well maybe!

8.1 out of 10

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