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Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 - WII - Review

Intergalactic space travel. Super-powerful warriors. Evil adversaries that take 10 episodes to die (but, like a soap opera, are never really dead).

It's just another day in the life of a Dragon Ball Z warrior. What will Gohan wake up to this morning? The return of his brother? Frieza's big transformation? Another android? You never know what's around the corner, but whatever it is you can be certain the story will include a universe-threatening villain and an un-killable dragon who loves to reincarnate.

Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 brings the series to its first next-gen platform: Wii. Essentially a port of the PS2 version, Budokai Tenkaichi 2 looks to the show for inspiration. The general features and game modes may be the same, but there are a few Wii-exclusive treats to excite the fans.

 

Just Move It

The content of Budokai Tenkaichi 2 is the same on Wii that it was on PlayStation 2. This version is compatible with the Classic Controller, creating identical experiences on both platforms. Want something different? Then whip out your remote and nunchuck to see what the developers came up with.

Attacks and combos are the same. Tap the A button repeatedly for a non-stop beating of kicks and punches. General movements are made with the thumbstick. To fly toward your opponent, push (shake once) the nunchuck in any direction. The nunchuck's sensitivity is not as advanced as the remote, so it won't notice subtle differences in your movements. You can change the fly/strafe direction by holding the thumbstick in the direction you wish to fly. Interestingly, if you push up on the thumbstick and shake the nunchuck while standing right next to an opponent, your warrior will reach out for a grab combo. Unless your opponent evades or attacks first, the grab will entrap him for a multi-hit attack.

 

Shrouded In Mystery

Budokai Tenkaichi 2's best Wii-specific features are not instantly obvious. The training mode and move list are not instantly clear either. In this case patience – not practice – makes perfect.

Performing the DBZ warriors' super moves is akin to the style of other Wii launch titles: you hold the Z button (on the nunchuck) and the B button (underneath the remote) and wave the remote in various directions. There are a couple different ways the game reacts to your motions. The first is the cursor, which appears whenever you have the remote pointed at the screen. It seems out of place – isn't this something that belongs in first-person shooters?

But it's not for shooting, it's to gauge the amount of remote-waving that needs to be done for each move. For example, if they tell you to wave "out to the bottom," that means you need to point the remote down until the cursor is no longer on screen. The word "out" always means that you have to go off screen, and this action is often followed by a quick return to the screen. What this amounts to is a lot of directional swinging.

Technically a cursor wasn't needed to pull this off. But there are other moves with similar motions that could've confused the game, the player, or both. One of Gohan's most powerful blasts asks you to wave the remote twice, then push it toward the screen. The waves are supposed to be quick and connected – as if Gohan were waving his hands, and then pushed them toward his opponent to unleash the attack.

 

These Wii exclusive features are not the least bit Earth-shattering, but they are a decent attempt at mimicking the actions of the warriors' most prominent moves. It's also a fun alternative to playing the game with a traditional controller, whether you're a series pro or just starting to get into Budokai Tenkaichi.

Because One Option Isn't Enough

Although the Wii exclusives should be your primary reason for getting this version over the other (PS2), some of you are bound to stick with what you know and use the Classic Controller.

Since the buttons, D-pad, and thumbsticks are close to the Dual-Shock 2 layout, players coming from a previous version will not have a difficult time figuring out the control scheme and commands.

The warriors are extremely fast and responsive in both control types. Combos are relentless and near-endless, while projectiles are big, dazzling, and always destructive.

 

Next-Gen Or Not?

Prior to Budokai Tenkaichi 2's release, it was indicated that the game would look slightly better on Wii than on PS2. But "a novice," Producer Donnie Clay told us, "will not notice huge differences between the two platforms."

A side-by-side comparison might reveal something, but it's doubtful that you will see a difference otherwise, regardless of your gamer status. Both are equally clean in their textures, having enormous worlds to conduct each battle. The underwater areas and boundless sky enhance that DBZ feeling, as do the quick attack moves that exactly match the anime series.

Each warrior is three-dimensional and coated in rich cel-shaded goodness. They're supposed to look like they came from the anime – that was intentional, and the artists and animators were successful in this area. At the same time, their 3D realism shines through, forming the best-looking Saiyans seen outside the series itself.

Review Scoring Details for Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2

Gameplay: 8.0
Wii owners are lucky – its only fighting game happens to be a good one. The unique Wii mechanics and action-packed battles lead to hours of thrills. The story mode is long and filled with battle after battle. Training and practice options aren’t entirely clear, but it’s better then waving your hands aimlessly, hoping to figure out each of the Wii-exclusive commands. Two-player battles are wonderful and full of replay value.

Graphics: 7.9
Budokai Tenkaichi 2 looks great. The cel-shading effects are the best ever seen in a fighting game. Top-of-the-line, super-fluid animations coupled with effects and attack formations that mirror the anime series.

Why then am I giving this game a lower graphic score on Wii than on PS2? Simple: Wii is a next-gen console. No one knows exactly how powerful it is, but we do know that it is at least as powerful as GameCube, a console that was at least a few percentage points above PS2. Gameplay comes first. I’d rather have great motion controls or some other innovation over improved visuals. But again, this is a next-gen console. There is no way I’m going to accept PS2-quality graphics from a machine that was released six years later.

Sound: 7.9
Also the same as the PS2 version, but given how little sound technology advances compared to graphics, that’s not too surprising. Voice-overs come direct from the show’s cast. Some of the music is really good, but not every track sounds like it belongs in DBZ’s universe.

Difficulty: Easy/Medium
Dashing with the Wii remote is not an instantly intuitive action. That doesn’t really have an effect on the challenge, which is exactly the same as the PS2 version: easy enemies, cheap enemies, and enemies that should be holding a sign that says, “Kick me. I’m serious, kick me! I won’t fight back. If you ask nice I’ll make it really easy for you and turn around.”

Concept: 7.9
Take the PS2 version, add a few motion-triggered commands, and you’ve got the Budokai Tenkaichi 2 for Wii.

Multiplayer: 8.5
Super entertaining, and maybe a hair more enthusiastic than the PS2 version – watching friends wave the remote before they know what they’re doing is an added treat.

Overall: 8.2
Slightly better than the PS2 version, Budokai Tenkaichi 2 makes its Wii debut with motion controls that were inspired by the anime's warriors. Fans who have the PS2 version should rent this port to see how the developers have tackled Nintendo’s new console. If you haven't purchased the game yet, this is the version to get – with motion controls and Classic Controller support, BT2 on Wii gives you the best of both worlds.

Great

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