Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team review
There was a time when, if you wanted to play a Dragon Ball Z game, your only choice was to import it from Japan, or play the horrific Dragon Ball GT Final Bout. Nowadays, you can almost tell the seasons by which Dragon Ball Z title has arrived. Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team brings the spiky haired cast to the PSP yet again, for another round of the same old story.
For those unfamiliar with Dragon Ball Z (if that’s even possible) and its outlandish story, there are seven mystical balls that grant any wish when they’re all collected. Obviously, this attracts the most evil of characters and aliens, and it’s up to Goku and his band of Z-Fighters to train and protect the planet and its inhabitants.
After the 50th time playing through the same thing over and over again, it almost makes sitting through the story sequences pointless. I understand the games have no other storylines to follow, since the series has long been finished, but at this point, I can re-tell the entire story from memory, down to every detail.
The main mode, Dragon Walker, lets you re-live all the major battles from the Saiyan Saga all the way to the Buu Saga. You take control of various main characters, shrunk down to tiny size with enlarged heads, and fly across a world map searching for enemies to bump fists with.
Although the game boasts over 70 characters, like past DBZ titles, they are largely made up of multiple forms for one character. For example: Cell has an Imperfect Form, Semi-Perfect Form, Perfect Form, Super Perfect. Other main characters are guilty of this too.
The biggest draw to Tenkaichi Tag Team is that up to four combatants, two to a team, can fight each other on the same battlefield. This mechanic makes the fights more enjoyable and hectic, but definitely in a good way. Although the subtitle “Tag Team” can be a little misleading since you can’t actually switch characters during a battle.
Tag Team uses the 3D Tenkaichi fighting system, like the PS2 Tenkaichi games or the more recent Raging Blast, and seems to be a much better fit for the PSP. For one, the simplified control scheme will ensure that anyone can pick this up and pull off crazy Kamehameha’s and Spirit Bombs with ease. The lock-on feature also ensures you don’t lose track of your enemy, since the battlefields are quite expansive.
All of the 70+ characters look far more impressive than they did in past PSP titles. The harsh, cel-shaded edges are replaced with much softer lines, making the movement more fluid than ever. The same courtesy has been extended to the battlefields, which are more vibrant and reminiscent of the anime.
Aside from the main story mode, you can take on various character combinations in the Battle Selection, or take on your friends in local multiplayer, which begs the question: shouldn’t it be standard nowadays for PSP games to include online multiplayer? It’s been on the market long enough for developers to take advantage of it, yet only a small number of games truly utilize online features.
You will undoubtedly experience a sense of déjà vu from playing previous Dragon Ball Z games, but the 2-on-2 fights and the expansive battlefields make the free-flying fights intense and enjoyable.