Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi PS2 Review

Is this reviewer really fit to review a Dragon Ball Z game? He’s not a fan of the hugely popular Japanese anime series after all. The answer is simple; he is as capable of reviewing this game as any hardened DBZ fan would be. A game is a game at the end of the day whatever it may be, and we love our games with a passion here at Console Obsession.

It’s true that Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi is going to appease the DBZ fans over anyone else, and it also has a lot of features that the uninitiated probably just won’t “get”. Fans will appreciate the selection of characters and the DBZ vibe running throughout, the rest of us may be grateful for the bounty of modes that are all ready and waiting as soon as play is commenced.

Tenkaichi is a fighting game, but to compare this to the likes of the wonderful Dead or Alive series would be criminal. A lot of nice bits of pieces make up the game, although it still doesn’t shake the fact that powerful attacks and combos are the games body, perhaps a little more then they should have been, especially if these moves were to be abused by certain players.

Previous Budokai games weren’t as open as Tenkaichi, as the great scenes here are expansive in size and as you fight on the ground or defy gravity and meet your opponent in the air you now see your chosen character from behind. This is a bold move, although it does mean that multi-player fights now take place in vertical split-screen, which takes a little getting used to, however eventually it doesn’t become too much of a problem.

Fans and those looking for plenty of game time will be pleased to find it here, as previously mentioned there’s loads to get yourself involved with. The Z Battle Gate mode allows you to play out battles previously seen in the show. The mode is challenge based, meaning sometimes you may simply have to survive a bout for 60 seconds and other times you may have to beat your enemy with a certain move, and so on. It’s certainly a good idea, but as the fighting grows strangely repetitive over time, it soon becomes increasingly difficult to love.

The visuals certainly deserve a mention, as like previous Budokai games they are stunning in their entirety. The fully 3D scenes make things look better than ever, and this is complemented by some fantastic interaction with the environment, which sees surroundings being decimated by all your fierce fighting as well as battle scars showing up on the characters as things wear on. The only bad thing about the overall look is that the camera can be problematic on occasion and gets excitable as it struggles to stay with the action.

Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi was an ambitious project from the off and one that obviously was intended to please, although sadly it just wasn’t to be. The large environments makes the exchanging of fireballs and combo flurries a rather frequent occurrence as distance is made between you and your opponent, this all makes brawls shorter and more repetitive then we would have liked. Thanks all the same Spike, but we’ll return to playing Budokai 3 if we really need a DBZ fix.