DBZ Budokai Tenkaichi 3

"Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 3" blasts fan service and fun

Fighting games based on anime are still all the rage, even today. Of course one of the more suited anime to fit the fighting game build was Dragon Ball Z, which has already announced their next gen title.

Picking from the best, it is no question that “Tenkaichi 3” was a major high point in their series. “Tenkaichi 3” continued to build a great formula that the Tenkaichi series really started, which was make players actually feel like they are taking control of established characters they know and love. A free moving, arena-style fighting game is the best way to describe the core mechanics is still what I considered a pioneer in its time (Naruto games kind of recycled the idea in their later entries). Spanning across all periods of the Dragon Ball Z anime universe, the game dumps so much material in one game that it really is incredible how it ran so well in both the Wii and Playstation 2 so smoothly. One thing is for sure, this game still kicks a lot of butt today, and here’s why.

Bigger Dragon Balls

Everything from the previous sequels returns, but in bigger packages. The character roster was almost like an achievement for a game like this. Featuring 98 characters, not including the 161 forms, is still amazing to behold on the selection screen. From Dragon Ball to GT, any character that was a major player or fan-favorite likely made the cut. What is more incredible is how each character was somewhat different based on their stature, their special moves and their strength. Great Ape forms and other giant characters were practically Godzilla-sized juggernauts that take plenty of damage without flinching, while smaller characters are quicker on their feet. Combos are mostly straight-forward strings of light and heavy attacks. These can also be broken down when charging hard hits that allow players to slam an enemy into the sky, teleport behind them, and knock them another direction. Once accustomed to these mechanics, players can check out more advanced attacks and defensive maneuvers that can really take a long time to master. Pulling off specials is still just as fun. The motion controls for the Wii version were simplified and improved, allowing one to hold the button of one and wave around the remote however they want. Of course, forming a Kamehameha the proper way is still exciting. Story mode expanded through several timelines of the anime’s world, as well as adapting some of the films into their own arcs, like “Tree of Might” or “Fusion Reborn.” There were plenty of stages to choose from as well, each with some levels of destructibility, and each having their own day and night settings for those wanting to become Great Apes the cool way. Character customization was also improved, as Z points made it so certain characters had a limit of what items can be used to improve their stats. This was in an effort to balance the game, and keep overpowered characters from becoming even stronger. There was also several modes added to increase single player options, including several new additions in Tournament Mode, an event mode called Mission 100, a unique survival mode called Dragon Sim and so much more.

Rock the dragon together

Multiplayer is the best it can ever be in a game like this. Players can choose 1v1, 5v5 and even a point-based match-up where every character is only worth a certain amount of points, and players only have a few points to spend. Some of the best moments came from taking a on a few friends in lengthy battles, as each player is on their last character. Team attacks and transformations can also be brought dependent on the certain characters you selected. A new replay system also let players save their favorite fights to watch later, which could also be saved on an SD card for Wii users (good old days).

Some misses

There are still plenty of faults that may have been fixed based on previous mistakes. With such an expansive roster, expect plenty of repeat move sets for many different versions of a single character. Also, as strategy heavy the combat is, there is just not enough to justify learning most of it. Most players are likely to get in charging up energy and spamming their special attacks, rinse and repeat. As a result, much of the whole foundation of the combat felt overly complicated for no reason, especially given the free movement around the stage allows for this kind of strategy. On the other hand, much of the combat is still fun, and players will have trouble handling an AI that utilizes so many of the defensive and offensive mechanics learned from tutorials. Even with the large roster, unlocking them all was still something that took the work in beating a majority of the campaign, which is lackluster and repetitive in execution. Some of the set-up for these storily lines will either have too much text explaining things, while minor cut scenes did nothing but slow down the pace. One thing they did to make this process faster was trim the fat in some of the fights, making it so any attacks that actually killed or defeated some of the characters in the anime would do so in the game, which was also a good use of fan service. Aside from this, “Tenkaichi 3,” is simply just a fun party game that also has some intricate fighting mechanics that have been improved upon in other fighting games of the genre.

Purchase it USED or NEW below (For PS2 or the Wii!)

Written by Jarek Martinez

Video by DBZanto Z

Purchase it USED or NEW below (For PS2 or the Wii!)