Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 PS2 Review

The Dragon Ball Z: Budokai series is widely regarded as the best of a multitude of game releases, released over various generations of consoles and based on the popular anime series of the same name. But even being the best, didn’t mean it was the total and elusive fan appeaser. Many popular mainstays of the series weren’t present such as character pinball (fans will know what we’re on about) and beam struggles. However the latest game: Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 brings many of these missing features successfully to the series.

On first impressions, Budokai 3 may appear to play similarly to its predecessors and to a degree that’s true, but a fair amount of changes have still been made to the overall game mechanics. It’s probably not enough to convince the truly hardcore fighting fan brigade, but it does make for deeper and more strategic gameplay then previous games in the series. The teleport counter allows you to dodge attacks by swiftly teleporting behind your opponent and following up with an attack of your own, though like many actions, this consumes ki (think of it as a fatigue meter of sorts) so obviously can’t be ludicrously abused. Another notable new feature is: beam struggles. These are activated if projectile attacks clash and require you to pound buttons to breach your opponent’s attack.

The dragon world mode has been overhauled and the rather odd board game concept has been scrapped for something more akin to an RPG. This time you’ll fly around an RPG like map with your chosen character, finding moves and items, unlocking characters and of course partaking in traditional combat where you can level your character up in an RPG like fashion. It’s rather like a less stellar version of Mortal Kombat: Deception’s excellent Konquest mode and that can only be a good thing. Each character has their own unique storyline and some characters can only be unlocked by the use of certain individuals, so it’s well worth a trip through this mode, many times if you wish to see and do everything. Then of course there’s always the prospect of many intense multiplayer scraps once everything is done and dusted in this mode.

Certainly not the best fighting game around, but Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 still offers some of the most satisfyingly OTT tussles on a console. DBZ aficionados are sure to be pleased with the new additions to the game and the increased depth could even peak the interest of the less hardcore of fighting fans and it’s these two groups that we recommend playing the game. If you fit in to any of these, you’re not likely to be disappointed by Atari’s anime fighter.