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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Atari/Namco Bandai
Developed By: Spike
Genre: Fighting
Players: 1-2
Rated: T (Teen)
Release Date: November 19, 2006
Written By: Matthew Prunty
Screenshots: Link

The Dragon Ball franchise is one of the most popular anime cartoons to come out of Japan within the last decade. It has gotten to the point where there is always at least one Dragon Ball title on video games at your local retailers. Because of the global following behind the franchise, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 marks the 25th DB title to come out of Japan within the last four years. BDZ titles date all the way back to the NES/Famicom days, but Americans didnít catch on until the series hit the Playstation console. From there, the fanbase grew and grew, which in turn caused more and more games to be developed. Soon to follow was the Budokai series on the Playstation 2, which spawned the new Budokai Tenkaichi series, of which the second installment hits the PS2 and the Nintendo Wii. So how well does it fare against itís high-impact predecessors?

Fast-passed action, quick combos, and massive in-air battles are the name of the game when it comes to Budokai Tenkaichi 2. The story encompasses practically the entire DBZ franchise (Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and Dragon Ball GT), allowing you relive some of the greatest battle, plot twist, and shocking surprise from the world of Dragon Ball. And to top it all off, we donít have to worry about commercials or waiting until the next day to find out what happens. And because Spike and Atari decided to go this route, it is clear there will indeed by tons of depth to the game, especially the Dragon Adventure mode, which is comprised of hundreds of battles, each having voice-overs and cutscenes.

In regards to the control scheme, you only need two buttons to deliver your damage. One button is used for short-distance fighting, while the other button is for long-distance attacks. To perform different combinations and special attacks, you are required to alternate your button presses (A and B) and a little motion from the Wii-mote/nunchuck. Due to the shortcomings within the control scheme, you canít help but call this title a button -masher, which lots of gamers try to avoid. The only thing that puts this title over the top when compared to the PS2 build is the use of motion control. Anyone can sit there and simply press this and that button to perform an attack, but it takes fluidity and immersion to pull of the same moves with the Wii-mote and nunchuck. An example of this would be trying to pull of Gokuís Kamehameha blast. You would keep the cursor on the screen while holding down the B and Z button. Then you would pull back on the Wii-mote, then pushing forward in a shoving motion to release the attack.

For those who want to opt out of using the Wii control setup, they can simply plug in their Gamecube or Classic Controller. You would have to figure out the control setup for both of these controllers due to the fact that the manual only supplies controls for the Wii-mote and nunchuck.

The immersive battle system adds to the depth and recreation of the Dragon Ball experience. With more than 120 characters (70 total plus their alternative forums), it can easily be seen that there are tons of different fighting moves, counters, and special attacks to utilize and bear witness to. Also adding to the Tenkaichi formula, there are a few new battle tactics/ features that gamers can utilize to add to the overall experience. You have the ability to use vanish attacks and counters, upping the speed and devastation delivered within a battle. Just think about it, your opponent hits you with a massive counter, now you can counter the attack right in the middle of it, or dodge it completely and deliver a devastating attack that they wouldnít expect.

Due to the Dragon Adventure mode following the timeline of the Dragon Ball series, you will have mix feelings in regards to how some of the battles play out. Some battles require you just to survive until backup comes, but f for some reason you defeat your opponent, when the cutscene pops up, it shows you loosing of defeated (like in the case of Goku fighting Vegeta for the first time). Veterans of the DBZ games and the anime wont mind this too much because they know how it will play out, but for the newcomers, this may get a bit annoying. But when you take a step back and look at the overall package that you get with this mode, you canít really complain because there is no other game on the market that comes close to what Budokai Tenkaichi 2 dishes out.

There are also a total of 16 different terrains/battle arenas to battle within, allowing gamers to relive some memorable moments like Goku reaching Super Sayian 3 within his heated battle with Majin Buu over the main city. Though they opted out of an online setup for this title, Atari and Spike devised a way for you to battle your friends and people you donít know through a password system. This feature allows you to acquire a password, which has your fighterís stats and abilities within it. Once you give it to your friend, they can input the code and do battle against you (as long you are there to control your character). Finishing things off with the Tag Battle mode, you can easily see that Tenkaichi 2 has outdone the first installment in every way possible.

Seeing how the Wii is twice as powerful as the PS2, many gamers are expecting the graphics to oh so better, but the fact of the matter, they arenít. Whether you are playing the PS2 build, or the Nintendo Wii, both games look virtually the same. Each fighter is depicted just as they are within the anime series. Each of the special attacks and fighting styles are pulled off pretty well, adding to the overall experience we are use to seeing within the movies and the cartoon itself. The landscaping and characters both use a cel-shaded look, which has been revamped to look better this time around. Your environments take damage and can even be destroyed depending on the attack used. When your fighter takes physical damage, it will clearly show. Whether it is torn clothes, bruised and battered body, or even scorn flesh.

The voice-overs are rather impressive to say the least. You can hear all your favorite characters throughout the game, whether you are taking part in the actual single-player game, training tutorials, cut scenes, and eve the menu interfaces. Not stopping there, within the song select mode, you are able to listen to all 34 musical tracks within the game.

Budokai Tenkaichi 2ís replay value is unlike any other fighting game, let alone DBZ game, out on the market. You have the ability of unlocking more than 120 fighters to battle with and against. There are a lot of super forms of our favorite characters, but thatís just adds to the total package this game presents. Not stopping there, you can compete within 5-on-5 tag battles, reliving some of the best battles within the DBZ universe and even creating some of your very own memorable moments. But for those newbies, the tutorial goes into depth, taking up to an hour or more to truly master.

Personal Thoughts
If you are a big Dragon Ball fan, this title is a definite must have within your gaming collection. For those who arenít really into the franchise, but love a good fighting game, this isnít a title to overlook. Though the controls take a bit to get use to, the end result is one of the best DBZ experience ever conceived within a video game. Fast-passed action, solid frame-rate, detailed landscaping and character models, in-depth story and so on, itís clear that Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 is the premiere fighter for the new generation.


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