Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 Review

How time flies. The Dragon Ball video games have been with us since 1986, when the first title named Dragon Ball: Dragon Daihikyou appeared in Japan. With the first debut of this Dragon Ball game, a continual wave of successors to the Dragon Ball franchise has graced practically every handheld and game console made, and will also be making its first appearance on next gen consoles shortly with the launch of Nintendo’s Wii. But before the jump occurs, present gen game console fans will be able to play another new Dragon Ball title-Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2. This game looks to be one of the most feature-filled titles of the entire series, but will DZBT2 be able to deliver a knockout blow for a win, or will it be knocked out of the ring for a defeat?

Fighting games have always been novel and challenging titles to produce. A fighting title must have enough challenge to satisfy hardcore fans, but must also be easy enough for casual gamers and beginners to enjoy. Sometimes, striking a balance between the two opposites results in a compromise that detracts from the entire game. In the case of DZBT2, the developers have chosen to take this game down the road of balance while trying to preserve the fun factor for both audiences.

Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 is a fighter based upon the characters of Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT. This means 129 playable characters from the Dragon Ball universe. The game melds RPG elements, fighting action and a storyline which takes DB fans through some of the more familiar battles scenes which occurred in the shows. For newcomers or non-fans of the series, the Dragon Adventure mode brings you up to speed on the world of Dragon Ball and how the characters relate to one another. For even more in-depth detail and information, the game offers a nice section called the Data Center. In this mode, there is a reference section on the cast of important characters and events regarding Dragon Ball Z. This provides good background material to those who are unfamiliar with DBZ.

For a fighter, the game has a lot to offer as far as action is concerned. For starters, there are special finishing moves which offer unique "Ultimate Blast" attacks that dole out unbelievable damage on enemies. These moves link an outrageous number of combo hits which include energy blasts, multiple kicks, fist attacks and finishing blows. A long combo string of 23 hits is not unusual, and it’s great fun to see. Ultimate Blasts can only be used after the Ki gauge fills up with a sufficient amount of energy. While these assaults are devastating to opponents, they are not necessarily easy to accomplish as charging up your Ki gauge is easier said than done-you,ll be too busy fighting for your life and will have little precious time in order to hold L2 to charge up your Ki meter. The primary fighting moves are done with the square and triangle buttons, while the circle, X, shoulder buttons and d-pad act as modifiers for other actions such as blocking, jumping or activating special skills.

The task of becoming a winning fighter has to do with getting the basics down, and this means a good deal of time at the Ultimate Training section of the game. It is here where you,ll learn the basic controls and methods on how to fight, evade, defend, move, and use special blast strikes. The training is quite detailed and thorough, and the lessons will give you a good foundation on how to survive and win battles. You,ll be able to practice many different moves from a special list that you can access during your training and practice sessions. If you are short on memory, you should be able to survive most of the fights with just six or seven of the primary fighting techniques in addition to one or two blast combos. The game can be as deep or as simple as you want it to be depending on your capacity or ability for memorizing button combos. Since I am one of those folks who finds the task of memorizing as enjoyable as hitting my thumb with a hammer, I was happy to see that the move listings were also available in regular fight modes, too. All I needed to do was pause the game, look up a move, and continue the game with my newfound knowledge. While this tactic is great for player vs. cpu, this probably won,t go over too well with your friends when you are playing them one-on-one.

Gameplay involves several game modes in which your assignment is to either beat an opponent or to survive until the clock runs out. There are four fighting modes in the game. One of them, called Dragon Adventure, takes you through a storyline which incorporates many of the Dragon Ball Z characters. Some fights have you pitted against enemies that are many times higher than your own level, but sometimes allows a team of fighters to gang up on one enemy-one fighter in the group at a time, in order to even the odds. Ultimate Battle Z is another mode. In it, you battle a series of fighters, each more difficult than the last until you beat the final boss. Points are scored and kept only on the condition that you make it all the way through this fighting gauntlet. If you quit before you make it to the top, you,ll lose all of your accumulated points.

The third game mode, called Dragon Tournament, is a one-on-one fight against a variety of opponents. This mode is broken down into several others in which a "ring out" disqualifies the individual, and another fighting mode in which all out battle is the name of the game. The last mode is Dueling, and it offers the chance to battle against your friends in a multiplayer game, or go head-to-head with the selection of the characters of your choice.

Fighting action in all of the modes is similar-fast and furious. Characters dart around the 3D environment with blazing speed and can unleash unbelievable special attacks. For instance, Majin Buu not only knocks his opponents out with his ultimate blast attack, but he literally knocks them out of the world. The cutscene related to this attack shows the earth from a perspective way out in space, and the mushroom cloud down below where his opponent was thoroughly trampled. These types of funny scenes appear all throughout the game and give DBZBT2 a humorous flavor.

In order to help make the fights even more fast-paced, all characters are upgradeable through the use of "Z-items." These items give the fighters special powers or increases in attributes related to defense or offense. Z-items are attainable at the end of a match, or can be purchased at the item shop. They can also be combined to forge new secret items.

Fighting AI is pretty decent but, it’s rather susceptible to cheap moves by the player. Even playing against some of the strongest opponents in the game, a repetition of energy blast moves kept most of the enemies at bay. Each character seems to have a certain Achilles, heel, and if you can determine just what that weakness is, most gamers shouldn,t have a problem with defeating their opponents. Unless you have a good handle on familiarizing yourself with all the different moves in the game, you may find the experience of playing DBZBT2 a bit tedious as you fight character after character with the same set of combos. The game almost forces you to expand your knowledge of combos in order to be successful in the game. For some, especially casual gamers and non-fans of Dragon Ball, this may prove to be a substantial negative if all you want is a button mashing fighter.

Fighting not only occurs on land, but in the air and the sea as well. Oceans and lakes can be entered and fought in or used as a means to hide from your opponent for a few life giving seconds. In the Dragon Adventure mode, your character flies high above the earth to different destinations. If you,ve ever had a dream about flying, these segments replicate the dreams pretty closely-at least they did for me.

Playing in Dueling (multiplayer) mode proved to be disappointing because of the split screen that appears when two live players are in battle. Normally, a split screen is expected in racing games…but in a fighter? The overall experience of this multiplayer section was less than stellar. The screen is sectioned off by a vertical line running down the center, and the small viewing area for each player not only cuts down on the nice graphics of the game, but it makes fighting and locating your opponents more of a chore rather than fun. However, if you are battling a CPU fighter, this split screen mode disappears and you can battle in full view.

Graphics are very well done in the game and follow in the cel-shaded tradition of the series. The cutscenes are entertaining, and the environments are destructible. Drop kicking your adversary proves to be a satisfying experience as you watch him fly through the air like a punted football. If a rock outcrop or tree happens to be in his path, he,ll crash through it with the accompanying smoke and debris. The cutscenes related to special attacks are great and you,ll want to try out each character,s Ultimate Blast attack to see what they can do. This may prove to be pretty lengthy assignment as there are over 120 unlockable characters in the game.

Sound for the game is charged with familiar Dragon Ball music and should be entertaining to all DB fans. The voice acting is true to the series, and this will be another selling point for Dragon Ball franchise followers. Sound effects are good with the appropriate cat cries of the combatants, as well as the occasional weapons and explosion tracks.

The attraction of Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 is primarily to Dragon Ball fans, and this is good news and bad news. It’s good news because all the beloved elements of the Dragon Ball universe are here in this game-the dialogue, characters, action, settings and humor. For the non-DBZ fan, the game offers a bewildering number of characters to choose from and a storyline in Dragon Adventure that may very well be buttoned through to get to the fighting action. The long story modes may serve more as an inconvenience rather than a story that unfolds for those who aren,t into Dragon Ball.

Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 is a fighter that will draw fighting fans to its crisp, fast, fighting action and will entertain fans of the Dragon Ball franchise. As for those gamers who want a good, general fighting game, the extremely heavy emphasis on the Dragon Ball aspect of the game, a somewhat complex fighting move list, and a storyline that may not appeal to anyone except die hard Dragon Ball fans may be reason enough for them to rent this game before purchasing it.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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