Wii

North America

Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2

by Karl Castaneda - February 28, 2007, 3:47 pm PST
Total comments: 4

7

It’s no Clash of Ninja 2, but DBZ: Tenkaichi Budokai 2 is a solid game in its own right.

When genres that would be easily augmented by the Wii remote come to mind, fighters aren’t usually on top of the list. Sure, the pointer seems like a great fit for an FPS, and the tilt sensors are effortlessly molded to a racing game, but with so few buttons, how can a remote and nunchuck setup properly capture the combo-heavy gameplay type that fighting games are known for? Well, the first attempt, Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Budokai 2 is out, and honestly, it’s not half bad.

Let’s get something straight right now: the Budokai series is not for hardcore players. Being a licensed property, it’s aimed mostly at fans of the anime, and as such, it revels in its own simplicity. Thus, it fits into the Wii arrangement rather nicely. The A button acts as your martial arts button (punches and kicks), B fires simple energy attacks, and Z allows you to power up for more energy. The more complex moves are pulled off via button and motion combinations. Pressing C and jerking upwards permits you to fly, for example. To pull off the anime’s signature attacks, hold down B and Z, and then send your on-screen cursor in one of several ways (for example, to execute Goku’s Kamehameha, you pull back and then push forward quickly with the nunchuk and pointer, while Piccolo ‘s Special Beam Canon is pulled off by sending your cursor upwards off the screen, and then pulling it back to the center). It may sound complicated, but once you get the hang of it, it actually feels pretty natural. And if you just can’t make the transition, the game supports a traditional layout via the Classic or GameCube Controller.

Although the control scheme is the most unique facet, BT 2’s most alluring feature is undoubtedly its monstrous amount of content. With over 160 characters to play as (although it should be noted that transformations, while attainable in-fight, can be picked from the outset and are counted as different fighters), you can set up a match between pretty much anybody, from the instantly recognizable Super-Saiyan Goku to the obscure Grandpa Gohan. Furthermore, the Story Mode covers nearly everything from Dragon Ball Z onwards, including most of the movies and even the GT sequel. Completing every mission will take at least 7-10 hours, and since you can decide your difficulty with each mission, you can go at whatever pace is comfortable for you.

It doesn’t end there, though. Once you’re done the story, there’s Tournament Mode, Ultimate Battle Z (where you fight through levels of characters, called "paths"), training missions, and even a customization mode, where you can use items and supplements collected in the story mode to beef up your characters. Online play isn’t present, but you can trade codes assigned to your custom characters, and as such, you can bring your souped-up Super-Saiyan 4 Gogeta wherever you go.

It’s probably a good thing that’s the case, too, because online play simply wouldn’t work, judging by the multiplayer mode. Since BT 2 doesn’t take the normal fighter perspective (the camera is placed behind the characters so that they’re able to explore the maps like an adventure game), adding another player takes a gigantic toll on the frame rate, to the extent that it’s nearly impossible to play a regular round.

The presentation is hit-and-miss. The cel-shading is done reasonably well – characters contain tons of details, and effects look great (although they still pale in comparison to the sketch-like style of Budokai 3). Unfortunately, cut-scenes based on the in-game engine are laughable in both their choppiness and simplicity. As for the audio, if you’ve got a high tolerance to cheese-rock, you won’t mind.

Although it’s got its faults, Budokai Tenkaichi 2 is a great deal for fans of the series, and with so much content, even a casual fighting fan can get some enjoyment out of it. With higher production values and some online play, it could’ve easily become a great party game.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
7 5 8 7 9 7
Graphics
7

Character models and effects look nice enough, but they still aren’t as impressive as the stylized look of Budokai 3.

Sound
5

It sounds like a Winger cover band, but were you honestly expecting anything better? If you don’t mind that sort of thing, though, it’s definitely not a deterrent.

Control
8

The motion controls take some time, but once you get over the initial learning curve, it’s actually pretty intuitive. And luckily, if you just can’t get the hang of it, you can opt for a traditional scheme with a Classic Controller or GameCube pad.

Gameplay
7

The game isn't Virtua Fighter or even Mortal Kombat, but it successfully replicates the feel of the show, and its easy-to-master nature makes it a solid pick-up-and-play title.

Lastability
9

With most fighting games, the longevity lies in the Player vs. Player matches, but BT 2’s got tons of bang for your single-player buck, and it’s arguably best that way. Even if you don’t have a second controller, there’s lots to play here.

Final
7

Most Wii controls feel tacked on and unnecessary, but I really had a lot of fun miming Kamehamehas, Gallet Guns, and the like. With some more refinement, the next entry to the series could have great potential.

Summary

Pros
  • A must-buy for DBZ fans
  • Controls are relatively easy to get used to
  • More content than you can shake a Remote at
Cons
  • Frame rate issues in multiplayer
  • Mediocre presentation
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

CalibanFebruary 28, 2007

To me, the only thing this game is lacking is the option to choose between the American BGM and the Japanese BGM.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterFebruary 28, 2007

Funny that this was posted just as S_B used it as an example of how Wii controls can add depth and enjoyment to a game.

UltimatePartyBearMarch 01, 2007

I don't notice frame rate drops in multiplayer so much as I notice bad slowdown, but that only happens in the water-heavy stages, especially Kame House. The real problem with the multiplayer is that there's no such thing as balance in this game. That's generally okay because it's a game for fans of DBZ, and it really would be weird if Raditz could easily defeat Cooler, for example. However, the random character select exacerbates the problem by not allowing you to exclude joke characters like Saibamen and Yajirobe, and sometimes starting you in a transformed state. One player too often has an advantage over the other.

Other than that, I've been having a blast with it the past couple of weeks.

CericMarch 01, 2007

It's got to be better then Super Swing Golf Multiplayer mode. No alternate camera views. No thank you.

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Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 Box Art

Genre Fighting
Developer Spike
Players1 - 2

Worldwide Releases

na: Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2
Release Nov 21, 2006
PublisherAtari
RatingTeen
jpn: Dragon Ball Z: Sparking! NEO
Release Jan 01, 2007
PublisherAtari
RatingAll Ages
eu: Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2
Release Mar 23, 2007
PublisherAtari
Rating12+
aus: Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2
Release Apr 05, 2007
PublisherAtari
RatingParental Guidance
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