As the very first fighting game on the Nintendo Wii, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 has a lot to prove. While we know that the Wii's motion sensing remote control is good for sports games and adventure titles, it's still up in the air about how much fun it will be to play a traditional fighter with this new style of control. Will it be difficult to perform your special moves? Will it take much time before veterans of the genre feel right at home? And most importantly, will it actually improve the way we play fighting games?
The truth is that for all its faults, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 is actually a pretty solid game. I do have some problems with the control scheme (which certainly takes awhile to get used to) and the game's combat is more than a little shallow, but fans of the TV show will no doubt be happy with the number of characters, the great graphics and the authentic voice acting. While this isn't a must-own game for the Wii, you certainly could do a whole lot worse.
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 is split up into a bunch of different stories, most of which involve you flying from one point of the map to another and then fighting some crazy character that has some sort of grudge against you. Like the show it’s based on, the story telling in Budokai Tenkaichi 2 is pretty shallow and ultimately forgettable. If you’re the type of person that follows the Dragon Ball Z story then you’ll be happy to learn that this game actually covers a lot of ground and does a relatively good job of filling in the TV show’s mythology.
Over the course of the many different stories you will run into all types of characters, including some you’ve never seen in a game before. In total there are around 120 playable characters. Well, that’s not entirely true; the game gives you 70 different characters and a few different variations on certain fighters. Regardless of how you count the roster, there’s no denying that this game is loaded with playable characters, which is generally a pretty good thing for a fighting game.
The stories play out much like they do in television show; you’ll get a few characters together and have to meet up with some strong opponent, together you will talk it out and everybody will come to an understanding and walk away satisfied. No, I’m kidding … you don’t talk it out, you fight! And once you’ve completed your fight you will move on to the next battle, which will give you another cinema and fill in more of the story. Do enough of these battles and you will have finished the story and you can move on to the next adventure.
While there are a few variations to the rules, most of the battles are just about beating you opponent. From time to time you will run into a tag team match or a battle where all you need to do is survive for a certain amount of time, but the normal mission has you going one on one with some enemy with a higher experience level. While it’s nice to see the developers adding some variety to the missions, I only wish there was more of it. Especially annoying are the missions where you're supposed to lose, while it makes sense from a story perspective, the idea of going into a match and purposely losing feels wrong to me. It would have felt more natural if those missions were part of a cinema or something, that way you would only have to pick up the control when you were actually trying to win a match.
If there’s one thing that Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 has going for it it’s the fact that it doesn’t play like any other fighting game you have ever seen. While most fighting games have the camera fixed on the side of the characters to allow you to see both combatants at once, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 puts the camera behind your character. This means that you will not always be able to see your opponent, something that can take a little getting used to. The idea of changing up the way you play a fighting game is not a terrible idea, but there needs to be a lot more work done to the execution in order for it to be as much fun as it is original.
True to the TV show, Budokai Tenkaichi 2 allows you to not only fight on the ground but also fly up into the air and take the battle to the sky. Thankfully the environments are large enough to facilitate these battles. The levels themselves are probably the highlight of the game, they feature plenty of hills and rocks to hide behind, water to jump into and all kinds of destructible objects. There’s just something satisfying about kicking your opponent through a building and watching the debris crumble around him. Best of all Budokai Tenkaichi 2 has a lot of great levels to fight in, so even though you may grow tired of the constant battles you’ll still be entertained by the great looking arenas.
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