The only game for people who like battles between glowing, muscular, anime men.
One of Atari’s favorite cash cows is their Dragon Ball Z games. Every year, gamers can expect a new iteration of the Dragon Ball Z fighting games, each sequel building upon the foundation set by the last one by adding new characters and abilities. It has taken years, but Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 is undeniably the best Dragon Ball Z game yet.
Atari’s decision to give developers Spike their Dragon Ball Z over Dimps, who made the first three Budokai games, was a controversial decision for fans. Spike changed the viewpoint from the classic side view to a behind the back perspective and altered the fighting mechanics dramatically. This year, that revamp paid off greatly.
Of course, the first things that gamers will notice when they boot up their systems is the touch up to the graphics. The visuals match and even improve upon the look of the actual anime, looking even better than the first Budokai Tenkaichi. The character models are sharper and more colorful, and the environments are more detailed than before. The visuals capture the look of the anime perfectly, and it will be hard to improve upon the graphics for the next iteration.
Spike has also added the ability to change forms during fights, a talent that is a staple of the anime, and, as such, was noticeably lacking in Budokai Tenkaichi. Although you do have to unlock forms by playing through the story mode, once they are found they are always available. This adds a new dimension of strategy to the gameplay, as different forms have different strengths, abilities, and movesets. The player can also power down, which is an unexpected but welcome addition. This means that you can start out as base Goku, power up to Super Saiyan 2, hit them with a Super Kamehameha, and power back down to base to attempt a Spirit Bomb. Other notable additions include a more robust fighting system, less repetition of moves between different characters (although it does occur), the ability to charge certain attacks for more power, more characters, more stages, and a better overall presentation.
Dragon Adventure is the title of the story mode this time around. In Dragon Adventure, you play as various characters completing the sagas of the anime. Depending on the storyline, you’ll control whichever character is pivotal in the next fight. You’ll also control teams, wherein the new tag team mode comes into play, allowing you to swap characters in and out a la Tekken Tag Tournament. In between each battle, you can choose to visit the store to buy capsules that upgrade your stats or gives you new abilities. You can also fight characters to level up, visit characters that give you useless information, and sometimes even find characters to join you. Besides the battles, the story mode is a little lacking. When you visit an area, there is only one character to interact with and the occasional item. So generally visiting a location winds up with the player landing, swiveling the camera around to search for items before talking to the sole character at the location.