Dragonball Z Budakai Tenkaichi 2 (Wii) Reviews

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Dragonball Z Budakai Tenkaichi 2 (Wii)

By: Rex Inego | Apr 08, 2007 05:25 PM

Another year, another Dragon Ball Z game. Ever since the original Budokai came out in 2002, Atari has followed it up with annual installments that continually improve on this oft-overlooked fighting series. The latest, Budokai Tenkaichi 2, is easily the biggest and best so far, with the widest selection of characters and biggest assortment of game modes yet.

The story takes place over the entire Dragon Ball timeline, including the original Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and Dragon Ball GT. Likewise, the character roster draws from major and minor characters from all of these, resulting in over 120 different playable characters. While this is great in terms of quantity, the characters themselves actually play very similarly, differing mostly in terms of attack animations and combos.

The fighting engine itself is very easy to pick up, and provides a fast-paced alternative to the traditional side view employed by more technical fighting games. The camera is positioned behind your character, and motion is performed in full 3-D. Each character also has the ability to fly and by using the shoulder buttons you can move up or down in the air. Most of your melee attacks and projectile attacks are performed by just two buttons, although other techniques like Ki Charges and Dragon Dashes can be used to perform a wide variety of special moves and combos. It’s a fairly simple system, which makes it extremely easy to pick up and play, but there are enough different moves to keep more advanced players happy.

In addition to its easy-to-learn gameplay and huge character roster, the game offers a nice selection of modes for both solo and versus play. The main focus of the game is the Dragon Adventure mode, a pseudo-RPG fighting adventure that actually runs about 50 or so hours. In this mode, players fly around a world map where they can take on both optional and story battles, talk with characters, and collect new Z-items, which give them a variety of bonuses. It’s a nice, lengthy adventure, although the story will seem pretty cheesy and minimal to all but the most die-hard fans of the series. It’s also peculiar how several of the towns you run across only have one citizen and nothing to explore.

The real focus is on the fighting, and in those regards, the game succeeds. By winning both the story and optional battles, players will gain experience and level accordingly. This actually becomes necessary after a while, since the story features occasionally large difficulty leaps. At several points, you will go through a series of ridiculously easy fights, only to come across an incredibly difficult fight that either requires a very specific strategy or a lot more leveling.

In addition to the Dragon Adventure mode, the game also offers more traditional modes such as the ladder-based Ultimate Battle Z mode, the bracket-based Dragon Tournament mode, the single-fight Dueling mode, and the rather comprehensive practice and training modes. Each of these modes features a large number of options, giving you a fighting experience tuned to whatever format you prefer.

The Wii version of the game boasts motion-sensitive controls, but in reality, these hinder the game more than help it. Many actions require awkward and unintuitive motions to perform and although these can become easy to do after practice, using a tradional controller would be easier for those used to tradional ''Beat 'em up'' controls.

Graphically, the game is pleasing, particularly for fans of the series. The cell-shaded characters all look great and animate fluidly, perfectly capturing the appearance of the show. The environments are expansive, although some of them are a little devoid in terms of scenery. Several of the combat animations are nice and flashy, once again capturing the over-the-top nature of the show’s battles. It’s not the most technically advanced graphics package, but fans of the show should be very pleased.

Audio is also fine, with a nice mix of tunes and solid voice-work. The characters are voiced by the same cast as the show, so purists should be pleased. A lot of the dialogue is pretty over-the-top though, and some of the lines fall flat. The music is fine, but doesn’t particularly stand out. Sound effects are also adequate, with all the pows and booms you’d expect from a fighting game.

Pros: Unique fighting system that’s easy to pick up, tons of characters, presentation captures feel of show

cons: Not the most technical fighting sytem, not a lot of variation between characters, occasionally big difficulty leaps, cheesy story, bad Wii controls

conclusion: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 is a game that will appeal mostly to fans of Dragon Ball Z, with its huge cast and expansive story. However, anyone looking for a fun, easy-to-learn fighter would do good to check this out as well. It might not be as technical as Tekken or Virtua Fighter, but its fast-paced fighting engine is still a lot of fun.

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