|System: PS2, Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Spike / Namco Bandai||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Atari||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 13, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Visually, the game is stunning. There isn't much more that the developers can do to maximize the game's look, especially considering that the game is released on last gen tech. The previous Budokai Tenkaichi looked much better than the actual anime, and BT3 improves upon that formula, making the energy attacks more dynamic and lively, the character models look sharper, and the game look more polished. The returning characters' attacks all looked flashier, creating new, incredible effects that we didn't know we were missing in Budokai Tenkaichi 2.
Beyond the Dragon History Story mode, there is still a ton to do in BT3. The Disc Fusion system, which honestly feels like a consolation prize for the online-less PS2 version, unlocks ranking battle from previous BT games, which is a nice addition but doesn't effectively replace online versus. There are still tournament modes which lets you fight against the CPU in different battles, which introduces the Otherworld Tournament for BT3. Sim Dragon Mode gives you ten days to prepare for battle, giving you the option to simulate training, exploring, or resting. After your ten days have passed, you fight a foe and, if you win, continue the process, fighting stronger foes to earn Z-points. Mission 100 pits you against a team of themed enemies. Character Reference lets you check out character histories, models, and even get a commentary on everyone from Chi-Chi. Combine all of these different modes with the fact that there are over 150 playable characters and most DBZ fans will find themselves occupied for a long time.
Speaking of the characters, there are a wide variety of characters representing DBZ, DB, and GT. Included this time around are BT2 oversights like GT Kid Goku and Nouva Shenron, but oddly, the developers added a single shadow dragon out of seven. It was almost a given that Nouva's brother Eis would be added, but he was curiously omitted for some reason.
There are also a lot of little touches that the developers added to polish the game. Characters can still be customized by Z-items, which now can have negative effects to counter the positives. Instead of having one customized character, you now have slots that allow you to keep up to three other customize slots per character. There are also three loading screen minigames instead of the usual one, which is a superfluous but welcome addition, since I quickly grew tired of Yamcha's minigame from the previous game. BT3 also give the option to replay and save battles that you participate in.
Overall, Budokai Tenkaichi 3 is undeniably the best DBZ game to date. The fighting engine has been considerably deepened, the Dragon History mode is flawed but great, and the graphics far surpass the anime. There are a ton of different modes to play, a bunch of new characters, over 20 stages, and more action oriented gameplay. Though there are a few questionable missteps, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 is a must have for any Dragon Ball Z fan.
CCC Lead Contributor / News Director