On paper Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2sounds like a fan’s dream come true. It sports more than 100 characters from the series (including quite a few that have yet to make an appearance in a video game), it has the voice actors from the Funimation-dubbed TV show, there are a bunch of crazy stories for you to fight through and it features a bunch of different game modes. But quickly you’ll realize that all of these potentially good things are marred by problem after problem, to the point where it’s hard to recommend the game to anybody but the most dedicated Dragon Ball Z fan.
Unfortunately I’m not one of those dedicated Dragon Ball Z fans. I’ve seen the TV show a few times, I’ve played a few of the games, and I have a passing knowledge of what makes the franchise tick. While it’s true that I’m definitely not the target audience for this game, I am of the belief that if the game is fun it shouldn’t matter if you’re a fan of the source material or not. When I reviewed Super Dragon Ball Z earlier this year I had a great time playing it; I felt that it was able to transcend its license and become an enjoyable fighting game that just about anybody could have a good time with. Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 is not quite as lucky, it’s the type of game that should be a lot of fun but ends up feeling more like a chore than anything.
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 is split up into a bunch of different stories, most of which involve you flying from one point of the map to another and then fighting some crazy character that has some sort of grudge against you. Like the show it’s based on, the story telling in Budokai Tenkaichi 2 is pretty shallow and ultimately forgettable. If you’re the type of person that follows the Dragon Ball Z story then you’ll be happy to learn that this game actually covers a lot of ground and does a relatively good job of filling in the TV show’s mythology.
Over the course of the many different stories you will run into all types of characters, including some you’ve never seen in a game before. In total there are over 120 playable characters. Well, that’s not entirely true; the game gives you 70 different characters and a few different variations on certain fighters. Regardless of how you count the roster there’s no denying that this game is loaded with playable characters, which is generally a pretty good thing for a fighting game.
The stories play out much like they do in television show; you’ll get a few characters together and have to meet up with some strong opponent, together you will talk it out and everybody will come to an understanding and walk away satisfied. No, I’m kidding … you don’t talk it out, you fight! And once you’ve completed your fight you will move on to the next battle, which will give you another cinema and fill in more of the story. Do enough of these battles and you will have finished the story and you can move on to the next adventure.
While there are a few variations to the rules, most of the battles are just about beating you opponent. From time to time you will run into a tag team match or a battle where all you need to do is survive for a certain amount of time, but the normal mission has you going one on one with some enemy with a higher experience level. While it’s nice to see the developers adding some variety to the missions, I only wish there was more of it.
If there’s one thing that Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 has going for it it’s the fact that it doesn’t play like any other fighting game you have ever seen. While most fighting games have the camera fixed on the side of the characters to allow you to see both combatants at once, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2puts the camera behind your character. This means that you will not always be able to see your opponent, something that can take a little getting used to. The idea of changing up the way you play a fighting game is not a terrible idea, but there needs to be a lot more work done to the execution in order for it to be as much fun as it is original.
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