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Atari / Namco Bandai






T (Teen)



November 2006



- Covers pretty much the entire Dragon Ball Z series

- 120 playable characters (with some customizable options)

- Captures the hyperkinetic anime style and speed of the cartoon



- Wii controls have a learning curve I'm still trying to climb

- The actual depth to the fighting is not great

- Dramatic camera angle adds a layer of complexity



Review: Zatch Bell! Mamodo Fury (GC)

Review: Excite Truck (Wii)

Review: Dragon Ball Z Budokai 2 (PS2)



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Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 2

Score: 6.0 / 10


For those unfamiliar with the Dragon Ball Z – properly pronounced “zed” in Canada – Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 2 acts as a game-like encyclopedia of the animated television show.  Besides featuring an extensive rundown of each character (along with sound bite and 3D model) the game also offers the Dragon Adventure mode that covers the series pretty much from start to finish – it’s like playing history.


dragon ball z budokai tenkaichi 2          dragon ball z budokai tenkaichi 2


Or at least the re-living the cartoon in an interactive way.  The one gripe with this approach is that you can successfully win a battle but the cutscene will show that you lost because that’s what happened in the series.  There’s no tampering with the set plotline of the show.


Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 2 is awesome in respect to capturing the feeling of a cartoon.  I described Zatch Bell! Mamodo Fury the same way.  “It feels like you’re playing one of those whacked out Japanese cartoons with a cel-shaded sensibility.”  Budokai Tenkaichi 2 does just that.  And having the voice talent from the TV show lend their talents to the game gives Budokai Tenkaichi 2 a high level of fan service.  Kudos to the developer for this.


But even diehard fans will have a hard time with the overall controls.  With a combination of button presses and movement of the Wiimote and nunchuk, 




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there’s been a real effort in mimicking the special moves of the characters, like throwing a fire ball by pulling the controllers back then thrusting them forward.  It’s definitely not easy to learn the Wii controls – most fighting fans will likely opt for the Classic Controller or Wavebird.  Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 2 is a hyperactive game – things happen real fast – and it took me a 


long, long time to get comfortable with the controls, and once I plugged in my Wavebird, I didn’t want to go back to the Wii controls. (Once the Wavebird receiver is plugged in, the game defaults to that control scheme.)


The fighting actually isn’t that deep – no matter how stylized it is.  Hammering on buttons nets a positive outcome just as often as a more measured approach but only the more methodical players will be able to pull off some of the more complicated moves, like driving your opponent through a mountain.


Not helping the overall control is the general camera angle for most fights.  Rather than a more traditional side view, Budokai Tenkaichi 2 opts for putting the action at a somewhat more dramatic angle.  At times, this angle makes it difficult to see your opponent.  This doesn’t happen in split-screen two-player matches.  That’s right, a fighting game that utilizes a split-screen.  It’s decidedly off-putting and I could just never get used to it.


dragon ball z budokai tenkaichi 2          dragon ball z budokai tenkaichi 2


Those issues aside, Budokai Tenkaichi 2 is packed with lots of different play modes like Training and Tournament, and the option to really customize your character of choice.  This character can then be converted to a “password” and passed to a friend.


Really, Spike has done a great job making a game for Dragon Ball Z fans – possibly the ultimate Dragon Ball Z game, with loads of extras and 120 playable characters – but its shallow fighting engine, extremely difficult Wii controls, and mediocre camera positioning will bar all but the most diehard fans of the series.


- D.D. Nunavut

(March 1, 2007)


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