|Version Reviewed: PS2
When I got this game, I knew exactly what I was in for. This game would know no bounds as far as entertainment is concerned. If you’ve ever played Budokai Tenkaichi 1 or 2 you know exactly what I mean. Now if you haven’t, but have any experience with video game adaptations of anime, you’re probably thinking “Yeah, it’s just some lame attempt to recreate the show. I’ve seen it a million times before.” Well, in this case, you’d be dead wrong.
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 really makes you feel like you’re part of the game. The graphics in the game are brilliantly done, utilizing the best 3-D cel-shading I’ve ever seen. It makes it feel like the characters were taken right out of the anime rather than created solely for a video game. The gameplay is equally great, if not overly complex. The player only uses three buttons, but the possible attacks with these buttons are near-infinite. With the right button combination you could easily keep an attack chain going for over 100 hits, but the complexity of the different combos makes it almost impossible to hit the right one. Any three-button combination could start one of many different chains. Although, the controls are fairly easy to learn, they are nearly impossible to fully master.
Another fun part of gameplay is Evolution Z. During gameplay you earn Z points, which you can use at the Z Item shop to by items, known as “potaras,” which you can use on your characters to raise their attributes. One of the new additions in this game (and a potential drawback) is the fact that each item has a value assigned to it, called “evolution item points”. Each character has a limit of how many points their Z Items can have all together, which limits what you can add to each character and therefore limits their maximum strength. There are, however, special Z Items you can add to your characters which have even greater effect than the regular items, yet only cost one evolution item point a piece. These items, called “red potaras”, can only be obtained, as of yet, by either entering a character code from Budokai Tenkaichi 2 or by using a cheat device. Despite this limitation, however, it is still possible to make some impressively powerful characters.
The storyline really isn’t anything new. Staying true to the anime as it does, the story mode of the game is basically playing through the different sagas (from the Saiyan saga in Dragon Ball Z to the Shadow Dragon saga in Dragon Ball GT). There is also, however, a “what-if” saga detailing a series of battles that supposes alternate paths the story could’ve taken. For example, what if the Saiyans defeated Frieza? As far as audio goes, it’s nothing too extravagant. Although good, most of the music used in this game is music which was considered for use in the original game, but didn’t make the final cut. Compared to the original Japanese version, most of the songs in the US version are mediocre at best.
As for the voice acting, I’d say it is very well done. All the voice-overs are done by the original English dub cast, which adds to the sense that you’re actually playing the anime. As long as you liked the anime’s – English or Japanese version – voice actors, then you’ll like the voice acting in the game
The Budokai Tenkaichi series has a little bit for everyone. Anyone who is a fan of the Dragon Ball series will love the game for its authentic characters and voice-overs, fighting game enthusiast will enjoy the game for its refreshing battle system and it’s emphasis on strategic fighting maneuvers, and some people will like it because it just looks really cool. So even if you’re not a Dragon Ball enthusiast, I would still recommend you pick up this game, even if you just rent it. It’ll be worth it.