Dragonball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 Review

Last year, GamerNode had the chance to review Dragonball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 for the Playstation 2. The title proved to be an above average, entertaining fighter and the production crew of the game definitely had its sights aimed at the Dragonball Z crowd with its heavy emphasis on the storyline surrounding the DBZ universe and all the plots and subplots of the characters. If you were a DBZ and fighter fan, you found yourself in DBZ fighter heaven.

Now, several months later, we revisit DBZ: BT2 for another look, but this time, with the Wii version. This game is essentially the same as its PS2 counterpart with the exception of using the Wiimote and nunchuck to control the fighting action and moves. Whether this new way of fighting is a winner or a loser will depend on your level of acceptance for the new fighting methods and the amount of patience you possess.

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. I found myself in a situation where there was more than enough information about the characters and storyline. If you are a big fan of DBZ, you’ll revel in the entire minutia. If you’re not a fan, you’ll be somewhat overwhelmed, if not downright bored. In the main storyline mode (Adventure) you’ll probably button through the massive amount of dialogue which occurs during this section, unless you are a hard core fan of the series.

As mentioned earlier, the game is essentially the same fighter as the PS2 version and departs from the norm by using the Wii controllers as the main devices to bash and crash your enemies. It should be also pointed out that using a standard GameCube controller is possible as well, and this is a good thing because the basic fighting moves and special attacks which are mapped to the motion sensitive Wiimote and nunchuck are awkward, if not totally frustrating to learn and use. But in saying this, many may also feel this way, not necessarily because the fighting system is at fault, but because the time and effort it takes to adapt to this new way of fighting doesn’t come easy. A challenge is always fun, but there is a thin line between a hard challenge and outright frustration. I seem to have fallen on the latter side of the equation.

(As a side note, if you have the wireless Wavebird Gamecube transmitter attached to your Wii, but plan to use the Wiimote and nunchuck for playing DBZ: BT2, your Wiimote will not work. I thought my game was broken because of this and as soon as I disconnected the Wavebird transmitter, the Wiimote was working again.)

You have several basic game moves at your disposal: blast attacks, kicks, punches, evasion, and Ki attacks. The common fighting moves of kicks and punches are done through the Wiimote and use a combination of button presses with the A and B buttons. But as you progress into some of the more intermediate and advance moves, you’ll start to wonder if your nerve endings were wired correctly when you habitually fail to correctly pull of some of the more difficult fighting routines.

One example of using the two Wii controllers in getting off a special blast attack goes something like this: while holding down the Z button on your nunchuck, point your Wiimote up and off of the screen and then push up on your nunchuck control stick. Easier said then done when you are in the heat of battle and forget which hand is supposed to do what action. Unfortunately, this is one of the easier moves to learn, and the difficulty ramps up exponentially as you advance in learning new ones. Try this air attack on for size: hit A, A, A, A on the Wiimote while you simultaneously push up on the left nunchuck stick as you push down on B while waving your nunchuck down and pressing A, A, A, A, A. (And I thought learning to play the drums was hard…)

Most fighters can be faked through with button mashing and previous experience from other fighting games. Not so with the Wii version of DBZ: BT2. While it is always a good idea to take advantage of the practice or training modes in games of this sort, it is almost mandatory for you to go to the practice mode of this game in order to get some of the moves down.

You can easily master the fundamentals by using the A and B buttons of your Wiimote, but if you want to get through the various stages of the game such as Dragon Tournament (one-on-one fighting), Dragon Adventure (storyline mode), Dueling (multiplayer and computer vs. human) and Ultimate Battle Z (running the gauntlet against a number of opponents), you’ll really need to spend a good deal of time training — but the basic experience seems to be an exercise in aggravation more than anything else as you try to decipher the various move lists.

Game action is filled with all sorts of nice energy attacks and nice combo kicks and punches, provided of course; you can pull them off correctly and in time. Part of the problem with using the Wii controllers is that I never really felt quite at home with them, and this was in no small part in trying to memorize the offbeat fighting moves.

Whereas I have never claimed to be a master of memorization, the new task in remembering which controller to use, which buttons to press, which controller to point up or down, what direction the control stick is supposed to move and timing everything correctly — in addition to moving my character towards or away from my opponent — was highly aggravating. Unlike the previous reported incidents of Wiimotes accidentally flying out of gamers’ hands, I wanted chuck my Wiimote through my television screen on purpose. But I refrained from doing so because, well, it isn’t cheap to replace the brand new HDTV sitting in the game room.

The AI in this game varies little with the PS2 version but seemed much harder because of the disadvantage with the controller scheme. Part of the strategy of fighting a successful round is not only in trying to pummel your adversary into defeat, but to also navigate away from the enemy’s attacks as quickly as possible. This action is preformed by using the nunchuck control stick and waving your nunchuck. Again, the controller action is lacking here and the precious time you are messing with the nunchuck to avoid your enemy’s attacks puts you in harm’s way, if not outright death.

Graphics are average but mimic the look of the animated show quite well. DBZ fans will be pleased as punch with the stylistic anime artwork that fans have come to recognize and appreciate, and you’ll find all your favorite DBZ characters to choose from as you play through the game. The special attack graphics are fun to watch as you throw sphere after sphere of energy towards your opponents. The cut scenes during the fights are entertaining too.

The music tracks of the game are filled with the high energy licks of guitars screaming and driving drum beats. Voice acting is spot on and there are a lot of special sound effects that accompany the fighting action. One thing for sure, your ears will not be bored while playing this game.

Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 for the Wii is a fighter that is less than acceptable when using the Wii controllers, and for this reason, the game suffers because it lacks the precision and accuracy while performing the various button moves necessary in gameplay. Although the core of the game is still DBZ: BT2, the inferior game controls brings this fighter down on the mat and is counted out by the ref.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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