There are three things in life that we can count on: death, taxes and a new Dragon Ball Z game every few months. While most of us would prefer death, or worse yet a tax audit, to playing a Dragon Ball Z game, there is a huge fan base out there who just can’t wait to get there hands on the “next” DBZ game. After doing a little research, I was amazed to discover that Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 marks the 25th DBZ game developed in Japan in the last four years! Is it a case of quantity over quality? The answer may depend on whom you ask.
DBZ: BT2 is a fast-paced fighting game that allows players to choose their favorite DBZ heroes and villains, including Goku, Bardock, Bebi Vegita and even Android #13 just to name a few. There are a total of 70 playable characters, and if you count their alternate forms you get an astonishing 120 playable characters.
The fighting system is pretty basic when compared to fighting games that expect players to memorize hundreds of multi-button combos. The control scheme consists of a melee attack button, a ranged attack button, a block button, two dash moves and a button that recharges your energy bar. I’ll admit that I have never been able to memorize more than two or three combo moves in games like Mortal Kombat, and I was pleased that the moves in DBZ are no more than mashing on a couple of buttons. Hardcore fighting-game players will most likely be disappointed by the simplicity of the game’s fighting system. Although there isn’t much strategy, you can pull off some cool block and counter attacks, and the super attacks are always fun, but in the end it’s just a simple button-masher that becomes more repetitive the longer you play it.
The game uses an over-the-shoulder camera view that at times is more frustrating than it needs to be, especially when locked onto a target. On several occasions I would be locked onto an enemy, but if I would get close to a building or another object the camera would turn on its own, completely losing sight of my target. This wouldn’t be a major issue, except that it seems to happen way too often.
There are several game modes to choose from, including Dragon Adventure, Dueling, Ultimate Battle Z, Dragon Tournament and a training mode. Dragon Adventure is the main single-player story mode, and it will keep you busy for about 20 hours. In Dueling mode you can play against a friend, choose to go one-on-one, two-on-two tag team, or in a full-on five-versus-five tag team match. Ultimate Battle Z mode lets you fight in ranked matches against computer opponents, moving you up the ladder as you win. Unfortunately, DBZ: BT2 doesn’t support online multiplayer, so you need a friend sitting next to you to enjoy some of the game’s best modes. If you don’t have any friends nearby, I suggest you stop dressing like Goku, get outside and mingle a little.
The game’s cel-shaded graphics do a great job of replicating the look of the anime cartoon show. The 16 big areas in which you do battle are detailed and allow you to destroy buildings and large rock formations. The character models are spot-on clones of the TV show’s heroes and villains, and as you fight their clothing shows the wear and tear of the battle. The music is catchy at first, but grows it repetitive with time due to the same three or four songs repeating over and over.
And when it all boils down, “repetition” is really what you get with DBZ: BT2. The fighting requires just a few buttons, the characters are the same ones you’ve seen 25 times during the past four years, and the camera angle skews off awkwardly more times than it should. Maybe it’s time for DBZ to take a break.
- Overall: 6.5
- It’s hard to recommend this game to anyone other than the most diehard DBZ fans due to the bad camera angles, repetitive button mashing gameplay and the lack of online multiplayer. I suggest the developers start concentrating on quality over quantity.
— Randie Kilgore