Patreon button  Steam curated reviews  Discord button  Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | PC | PS4 | PS5 | SWITCH | VITA | XB1 | XSX | All

Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 (Wii) artwork

Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 (Wii) review

" DBZ: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 is a sequel of a spin-off of the original Budokai fighting franchise that Atari established in 2002. Back then, all fighting games were exactly the same. They gave you a side-view perspective in versus matches that lasted multiple rounds. This was the norm since the dawn of the fighting genus, the release of Kung Fu. Budokai was no different. It seemed that the traditional outline of the genre was never going to change, and the only thing developers were going to im..."

DBZ: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 is a sequel of a spin-off of the original Budokai fighting franchise that Atari established in 2002. Back then, all fighting games were exactly the same. They gave you a side-view perspective in versus matches that lasted multiple rounds. This was the norm since the dawn of the fighting genus, the release of Kung Fu. Budokai was no different. It seemed that the traditional outline of the genre was never going to change, and the only thing developers were going to improve on was the graphics. Fighting games were doomed to exist as a cesspool of clones, all being the same game with new characters and titles, never to be taken seriously as a genre.

Then, a glimmering light of hope appeared on the horizon when Atari announced that their fourth installment of the Budokai series was going to be a spin-off called Tenkaichi, a fighting game with a behind the back, third person view and full range control. Finally, someone was thinking outside of the box. Atari made good on their promise in 2005 and the game was well received. The fighting genre was saved to punch, kick, and grunt another day, and with the release of itís sequel, the legacy lives on with a vibrant shine that would make other fighting games jealous.

This is the story of seven ďDragonballsĒ that, when collected, would call upon a Dragon that could grant one wish. Tenkaichi 2 follows the lives of Goku, his friends, and the hardships they endure as they use these magic spheres to help save the planet from adversary after adversary. Some enemies come in hopes of making a wish, some come to enslave the human race, and some just come to destroy the planet for no good reason. All the while, Goku waits in anticipation for his next big challenge. The earth threatening battles all pretty much start and end the same way. Good guys get beat down, a few characters die, good guys train and become stronger, bad guys get beat down, the dead characters get wished back to life with the ďDragonballsĒ, and the world keeps spinning. As repetitive as this sounds, it never got old in the show, but in video game form, the story does get a bit monotonous. It doesnít harm the game much though, since a majority of itís players will be Dragonball fans who will expect the storyline to be just like this, and wouldnít have it any other way.

DBZ: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 packs many different challenges in itís arsenal, and if youíre anal about getting every last unlockable, and complete 100% of the game, like me, it will not disappoint. Game modes include Dragon Adventure, Ultimate Battle Z, Dragon Tournament, Dueling, and Ultimate Training. Dragon Tournament provides a total of three series based contests to choose from, including the well known World Martial Arts Tournament, the Big Tourney (a variation of the Martial Arts Tourney promoted by Hercule), and the Cell Games. Each tournament comes with four difficulty levels. Dueling mode letís you battle against a computer or human opponent with your choice of unlocked characters and environments. Ultimate Battle Z pits you against multiple groups of characters in varying ladder matches.

The tutorial mode starts by giving you a text explanation for each of itís sections, then throws you into a match with a motionless opponent to practice specific controls. Itís very detailed, and in turn, is very long. Expect to spend over an hour in the tutorial mode alone, but itíll be completely worth it in the end. I suggest that you start here if you play this game.

The story mode is where the game really shines, and, in some ways, disappoints. Every single saga and movie in the Z series is here for your fighting pleasure, and most of the sagas and movies in the GT series are also included. It would have been nice to finally see the original Dragonball sagas in here as well, since a lot of the characters from that show are unlockable in this game anyway, but even with itís omission, the story mode is extremely long. To add more to the gameplay, Atari also fitted each saga with three different difficulty levels. So if you play through it on the 1st level, you could always play through it on the 2nd or 3rd level.

Story telling in-between the action is a flaw throughout the entire story mode. While the size of it is dauntingly impressive, the cinematics that moves the story along are horribly done. The animation is almost non-existent, and most of the story telling in done through text. For example, Vegeta disappears and reappears behind Goku, at which point, Goku falls to the ground. From this, weíre supposed to discern that Vegeta knocked Goku unconscious, even though his arm didnít move. Character voices are done by the showís original voice actors, as always is the case in the Budokai franchise, but some of the dialogue is either missing, or the timing is off. Atari also takes a lot of short-cuts in telling the story, by skipping a lot of the plot and keeping the bare minimum of info the player needs to understand, which still falls short at points. It would have been nice to see well animated CG sequences in-between the fights, done in the style of the wonderful intro.

One of the issues I had with the story mode, was that they didnít play out like they did in the show. The original Tenkaichi included a Z Battle Gate, which was essentially an abridged version of the Tenkaichi 2ís story mode, and it forced you to complete the classic battles from the show the same way they did it in the series. So, as an example, in the show, Gohan finished off Cell with a Kameameah wave, so in the Z Battle Gate, you had to finish him the same way. I miss this a lot, and wish they wouldíve left the win requirements in the franchise. Sadly though, the only requirements theyíll give you during the story mode, are to either win the fight, or survive as long as possible. If you do manage to win though, and they werenít supposed to according to the series, then the following cinematic will show your fighter face down on the ground, with the enemy gloating as he stands over your limp and lifeless body. This is horribly confusing to anyone who might not have seen the show.

Tenkaichi 2 promises over 100 different characters to choose from, but this may be a bit inaccurate. The game counts Kid Gohan, Teen Gohan, The Great Saiyaman, and Super Gohan as separate characters, even though they are all Gohan. Also, Kid Goku, Goku, and Super Saiyan 4 Goku are considered separate characters, so when itís all said and done, there may only be about 80 or 90 characters to choose from. However, even though they are the same character in different forms, they have completely different moves, and control differently. You can feel the difference in speed and strength between Goku and Super Saiyan 4 Goku easily, and this is a wonderful aspect of the game, especially in story mode, where you are forced to start off with regular Goku, and gain Saiyan levels and transformations as you progress.

The gameplay is enhanced even further by allowing you to transform during the battles. You can literally start a fight with Goku, and finish it with Super Saiyan 3 Goku, and every time you transform with your character of choice, the move list changes. This is very difficult if the struggle is short, but becomes achievable once you have a large percentage of the fighters equipped with a full set of +10 Z-Items. If each combatant has six or seven health bars, the fights can last quite a while. Youíll smile uncontrollably when you start a tag match with Kid Trunks and Goten, and finish it with a Tree Blast from Super Saiyan Gotenks.

The RPG elements of Tenkaichi 2 are a little difficult to understand at first, but once you get the hang of it, it adds great elements to the gameplay. Throughout the game, you collect Z-Items that you can equip to your fighters to change that combatantís stats in some way. For instance, the Health +10 Z-Item will increase a characterís health stat by 10 points, and if that is the only Item equipped at the time, then that fighterís level is now 10. If the character you choose to fight with is a lower level then that of his opponent, then you will gain experience if you win the fight. If you gain enough experience, the Z-Items that are equipped to that character are increased to the next level. So, if you had a Health +6 Z-Item equipped when you leveled up, then it should now be a Health +7 Z-Item. Which means, technically, itís not your avatar thatís leveling up, itís the Z-Items themselves.

The graphics are not any better, or any worse, than the first Tenkaichi. The cel-shaded characters, the colors used in action sequences, and the animation in the fights all work seamlessly together to mimic the style of the anime. The same graphics worked well with the Budokai franchise, and it works well now. I hope that in the future, the graphics are improved on a bit. The opening cinema for Tenkaichi 2 is wonderfully animated, but it doesnít look any better than whatís being done in-game on the next-gen consoles, so making the entire game look like that shouldnít be too hard with todayís hardware.

The environments are wonderfully destructible here. Enemies can be slammed through buildings, rock formations, pavement, or anything else that gets in your way. Youíll fight in the air, on the ground, and underwater. The levels are more than big enough for a fighting game, and sometimes, can be a bit too big when you canít find the opponent and search isnít pinpointing them either. The drawback to the huge levels are the giant force fields enclosing the area on all sides. There has to be an edge to the world, but they should have found another way to limit movement, because the big, blue web ruins the ambient feel of the world. They make the levels feel much smaller and more confined then they actually are. Also, there are only a few levels to fight in, and they get a bit repetitive after a while.

Role-playing Dragonball geeks unite! The gameplay was designed with die-hard fans in mind. The melee attacks, teleporting, targeting, guarding, energy shooting, powering up, and switching teammates are all done with the face buttons on the Wii-mote, but everything else involves movement in some way. Flying is done by pointing the Nun Chuck up or down and holding C. A rush is done by flicking the Nun Chuck towards the screen. But the real fun is in the blast attacks. Each character has 3 blast attacks to use at their disposal. Each attack can use a certain number of stocks, or a specific amount of energy, and each uses the unique Ďcursor outí control scheme. To use a blast attack, you must hold Z and B together, move the cursor off of the screen in a certain direction, then bring it back in quickly. For example, after gathering energy with Goku, you have to cursor out to the top of the screen, then back in to shoot a Spirit Bomb. You can easily do this with a quick move of the wrist, but whatís the fun in that? If youíre a nerd like me, youíll raise both of your hands in the air, and bring them back down with a force that will knock any unsuspecting roommates comatose. To shoot a Special Beam Cannon with Piccolo, youíll bring the Wii-mote to your forehead, and then point it at the screen. And if youíre a huge nerd, youíll scream the name of the attack along with the fighter. Iím surprised my girlfriend hasnít left me yet after getting this game. Of course, none of this is required to successfully complete the attack, itís just fun.

The fighting is fast-paced, and the camera rarely ever gets in the way. There are a few times however, when you get stuck on the web or a wall, where the camera will spaz out a bit. Itís not very often though. The frame-rate does slow down at points, but again, not so often that itís annoying. These few flaws are easily over-looked and made up for by the fun of the brawling. On top of being really fun to control, some of the stronger blast attacks will even initiate a space view cinema of the earth with a giant explosion covering half of it. When you get back into the fight, youíll find that the environment has been completely altered. If there were any plants in the level, including grass, trees, and flowers, you just destroyed them, and youíve left lava and rock in their stead.

Multiplayer is available in the Dueling mode, however the best course of action is to avoid it like the plague. Itís not fun, itís frustrating. Due to the behind-the-back camera perspective, split-screen is required. Which cuts your cameraís area of view, not to mention, the screen you can cursor in and out of, in half. This title would have been perfect for online multiplayer, but I suppose Nintendo decided that none of itís launch titles need to use this new feature of the Wii.

The sound in the game is on the same level of production as the first Tenkaichi in the series. The dialogue is a little played out, but on the other hand, itís nice to finally see the character recognize their opponents at the start of a fight, and even call out their names. The sound effects are a little repetitive, and if I hear Gotenks call his rival a dummy one more time, I might drill a hole in my head. The music is top-notch, and never gets old. It goes well with the action being played out on the screen.

In the end, Dragonball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 not only has a very long title, it also keeps the spirit of the fighting genre alive with itís virtually limitless amount of gameplay, wonderful control schemes, and marvelously scripted in-game action sequences. With a further fleshed out story, online multiplayer capabilities, and better graphics, this game could have been perfect. With these characteristics omitted though, it still continues to be one hell of a fun and solid game. This is a must have for any DBZ or fighting fan.

remylabue's avatar
Community review by remylabue (January 04, 2007)

A bio for this contributor is currently unavailable, but check back soon to see if that changes. If you are the author of this review, you can update your bio from the Settings page.

More Reviews by remylabue [+]
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii) artwork
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii)

History was made when Nintendo released The Legend of Zelda internationally in 1987 for the Nintendo Entertainment System. A vast world, open-ended gameplay, and a battery autosave function made it one of the most advanced console games of its time. Thus began a franchise with no end in sight.
Ridge Racer 7 (PlayStation 3) artwork
Ridge Racer 7 (PlayStation 3)

In 1995, Namco debuted the first of what would eventually become one the most well known racing franchises in the gaming industry. Always at the height of graphical achievements, Ridge Racer has earned its right to be the first to show off the true power the next-generation consoles have to offer. So itís no surprise t...


If you enjoyed this Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

User Help | Contact | Ethics | Sponsor Guide | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2021 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors. Staff and freelance reviews are typically written based on time spent with a retail review copy or review key for the game that is provided by its publisher.