Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 is a game that’s almost as much fun as it hard to pronounce. Generally, I don’t like fighting games. Well…mainly just Super Smash Bros. That game really stinks. Fortunately, there are a few things that make Dragonball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 a few steps up from Super Smash Bros. Those steps up being…
1) Fighting in 3D, not 2D.
2) Full voice acting.
3) A plot.
The game is basically a giant fanservice to DBZ fans. The premise is simple: you go through the storylines of the entire DBZ series (and movies, as well as Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball GT), and you fight in every single battle. That means you get to control over 120 different characters, which is more fun than a barrel of moon-transformed Saiyans.
But, all that aside, it’s a fighting game…and that’s pretty much it. All you do is fight battle after battle after battle. It gets repetitive quickly, especially if you’re like me and use the exact same strategy (use a constant stream of Kamehameha attacks) in every single battle. I couldn’t play this game for more than an hour at most without wanting to do something else. But it keeps me entertained for 10-15 minute stretches, which isn’t all that bad, I suppose.
The voice acting for this game is as good as can be expected for a game based off a 10+-year-old show. About 90% of the characters sound perfect—that is, they sound the way they do on the shows. But the voice acting is off for the more minor characters, like Android 19, who couldn’t have said more than five sentences over the course of the shows. And, sadly, Kara Edwards—the voice of Videl and Goten—seems to have forgotten how to do her voices—half the time, she sounds perfect, and the other half of the time, it sounds like I did the voices for her. But aside from that, the voice acting is good.
I mention the voice acting because the most awesome thing about the game is the customized fight banter. In each fight, the characters banter for a few sentences before and after every battle. What they say depends on who they’re fighting—fighting banter was created for every possible battle combination. And with 120+ characters, that’s a lot of customization. I found myself starting fights just to see what the characters would say to each other when the fight started.
Now, true, there are characters like Bardock or Grandpa Gohan who technically never met more than, say, three of the other DBZ characters. So they say the exact same banter for nearly every fight. But still. I could waste a day trying out a bunch of different fight combinations to see what the characters will say.
Let me see. What else is on my list of things to discuss?
1) It’s too bad that Mr. Popo isn’t a playable character.
2) This game blatantly cheats. It will pit your level 5 character against a level 127 character without the slightest hesitation.
3) I also think it’s cheating when you’re charging a special move, and an enemy hits you, which completely cancels the move, but still drains a few bars of your special move meter anyway.
4) The DBZ announcer is totally awesome. His sheer enthusiasm always makes me look forward to the next episode, even when I know it’s just filler. Same thing with the recaps of filler episodes. (Because I love the announcer so much, I’m disappointed that the DBZ DVDs contain the episode recaps, but none of the episode previews. Why is that? Did they not have previews of the next episode in the original Japanese episodes?)
All in all, I’d say it’s a halfway decent game. If you don’t like DBZ, you probably won’t like it. If you DO like DBZ, you can probably enjoy it for a few hours or so before it gets too tiresome. Not bad, but nothing to write home about, either.
I should warn everyone, though, that this game is EVIL. After playing it, my brain insisted, nay, DEMANDED that I watch the entire Dragon Ball Z series from start to finish. All 296 episodes, with over 200 minutes of explosive action and 800 minutes of filler. And now I have become ensnared in the magical world of Gohan/Videl fanfic, with over 40 of those stories getting put on my summer reading list. So now I no longer have time to do anything productive, and it is all this game’s fault. Consider yourself warned.