reviews\ Nov 22, 2004 at 7:00 pm

Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 - PS2 - Review

I can not believe that it has it already been a year since the last Budokai game was released, which means that the year 2004 is quickly approaching its conclusion. Since the Dragon Ball franchise is one of the most lucrative things around, it makes sense that the developers would create another game in the Budokai series. This year it has many things in it that make it a lot better than the previous two entries. What are these new things? Read on to find out more!

This game offers several different modes of play: Duel, World Tournament, Practice, and Dragon Universe. In Duel players can select any of their favorite Dragon Ball character and go head to head against another human. World Tournament is a “king of the hill” type battle; there can be a three, four, or five round battle. The winners receive money that will allow them to buy additional upgrades for their fighters. In order to become the best fighter in the universe players will have to practice all of their moves, and the Practice mode is just the place to do this. Players will be able to set up different conditions to help them get prepared for new battles that lie before them.

Punches to the face never feel good.

The real meat of Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 is the revamped story mode called: Dragon Universe. With each game in the series the developers change up the story mode, and this year is no different. This time players will have the ability to travel all around whatever planet that they are in. In order to begin players must select a character, and depending on whom they choose the story will be slightly different following the events on the anime. For instance only Goku can fight Vegita when he first appears on the earth, and only Gohan will fight Cell in his final form. This game also has RPG elements to it, after players get to a certain level they will receive points to boost up their stats. In this mode players will be able to unlock other characters for other portions of the game, and additional skills for the players.

The character roster is highly impressive for this game as well. Players will be able to choose almost any character that they have seen in any of the Dragon Ball series, which includes DBZ, DBGT, and all of the movies. The only catch is that you must unlock them first. If was nice to fight against some of the movie villains for once instead of just the regular TV series villains. Players will surely find a character that they will want to fight with, due to this huge roster of super-powered fighting machines.

Ducking always helps out.

Similarly to last year’s game, Budokai 3 mimics the anime series with the cel-shading technology and its does a really good job with it. Everything in the game really looks like the anime series and that makes it more fun to play. All of the special attacks, from the classic Kamehameha to the other combatant’s signature moves, looks fantastic and will give the whole “flashing lights” effect that the television series is known for. The environments that players will fight in are taken directly from the show and they all look very similar to their counterparts.

Just like in the previous games, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 features all of the voice actors from the TV series. So you will be instantly familiar with all of the characters voices and this makes the game feel that much closer to the TV show. Just as in the anime series many of the characters will say some of the usual dialog right before a fight, such as Goku telling the enemy that he doesn’t want to fight them and many other lines similar to this.

Catch this!

The only thing that might disappoint a few of you out there is that Atari didn’t opt to include the original Japanese voice cast, but I think that the English cast did a really good job so it is not missed much. The music and sound effects that are in this game is really good as well. The music will really remind players of some of the things they heard while watching the television series. Players will also hear the classic sound effects that were in the show, from explosions to other fighting noises, and it all sounds really good.

Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 is rated T for Teen for violence. It requires 110kb on your memory card.

Review Scoring Details for Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3

Gameplay: 7.9
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 truly captures the feel of the TV show. All of the battles are fast paced and it makes you feel like you are really in the show. Many of the moves look really similar to one another, but that is OK since that is the way it is on the show as well. All of the moves that can be preformed in this game are done faster and are more powerful than the previous Budokai games. If the developers keep improving this series pretty soon they will have a fighting game that can compete with the Tekken and Dead-or-Alive fighting games.

Graphics: 8.1
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 mimics the show's look and feel, and it does a great job of it. As you fly throughout each level in the Dragon Universe mode, you will see many familiar places from the TV show that looks just like it. The cel-shading technique used really looks great.

Sound: 8.0
The game sounds pretty good, it contains just about everything that you will have heard from the TV show. Some may be disappointed that the Japanese voice actors are not present, but the American voice actors do a good job.

Difficulty: Medium
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 has an adjustable AI in the options menu that will allow players who are better at the game with a higher level AI. If you are a new player you can put it on very easy and still have a good time playing it. Even in the harder difficulty levels, I never thought that the AI was being cheap, so the game retained it fun factor.

Concept: 7.9
This year the game has more features it in that will be very familiar to people who watch the anime series. First of all players can go into the air and fight at any time and they can even teleport behind their enemies for a surprise attack. The developers played more attention to some of the things in the anime series to make this game as close to it as possible.

Multiplayer: 8.1
This game allows you to go head-to-head with a friend with some of the most powerful fighting beings in the universe. Since the fighting is a lot smoother than the previous games, this will be pretty enjoyable for both parties involved. Plus it is always better to play against a human character instead of a computer.

Overall: 8.1
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 is a lot better of a fighting game than the previous two entries into the fighting world. While this game is not enough to go up against the “big boys” of fighting games, it is a solid entry. Fans of the show will definitely want to pick this game up, and if you are a casual fighting game fan than you might want to check this game out as well.



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