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System: WiiReleased: 11/19/2006
Developer: SpikePublisher: Atari
Genre: FightingPlayers: 1-2
ESRB Rating: T for TeenController: Remote & Nunchuck
Game Save: 1 BlockReviewer: Laserkid (Staff)

Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 2... now THAT'S a mouth full for a game title. What exactly are you getting out of this anime inspired fighter for the Wii (well it's also on PS2, but I'm specifically reviewing the Wii version)? You get an award winning fighter that's fun for fighting game fans everywhere. The premise is rather simple: a story mode that takes you from the Dragon Ball Z story, the Dragon Ball GT story, several of the Dragon Ball Z movies, and even a retread into the past with a Dragon Ball era chapter. What follows is a game that makes so many references for fans, that at the very least, if you're a Dragon Ball fan you needed to buy this game yesterday.

But I'm not writing for Dragon Ball magazine, Daizenshuu EX (Outside of its forums), or any other Dragon Ball related area. I'm writing this for Ultra Publications. While I may indeed be a Dragon Ball nerd through and through, I know full well not everyone or even much of anyone, in this reader base is a Dragon Ball fan. But I'm here to tell you that even the non initiated into Dragon Ball, or even those semi skeptical about it, will still like this game for its game play engine. Even those who hate DBZ may indeed still find this game fun, though with such a strong dislike I cannot promise it. However, one needs only see X Play's review, and subsequent dubbing of this game as fighting game of the year 2006, to see it doesn't just take to fans.

The true magic of this game is the easy to use combat system. General movements are easy enough: the A button to attack (or chain attacks together by rapid presses); dodging and zooming around by shaking the nunchuck; Z to power up; B to shoot a basic Ki blast (energy beam for those who aren't familiar with Ki/Chi); and the C button will allow you to fly or descend depending on which way you're aiming the nunchuck. Now the real beauty - and why I can recommend this to anyone, special moves are very easy to pull off. The Wii version of the game has a spinning reticle that your remote moves around. If you press and hold the Z and B buttons while said reticle is on the screen, this initiates the special move input mode. Now not every character uses all of the motions, and each character reacts to each motion differently, but the basic premise is there are six input types. You can do the one most famous to this game, pull back the remote and nunchuck and then thrust forward; you can do the same with the remote while shaking the nunchuck; or you can move up, down, left, or right out of the screen and back. You then let go of the input buttons when any of these are completed. The timing of letting go does take a little practice, but once you do this the special moves become easy to pull off. With such a large cast list, knowing a general idea of how to pull off their moves can be handy. Though if you needed to, the game DOES have a skills list listed in the game.

Now many people will indeed still notice that many moves are not available from start. This is where the great single player experience comes in, because you can't always, nor would you always, want to flail around Wii remotes with a friend in battle. Therefore there is a story mode to play through. Not only does this give you Zenni, with which you can purchase Z items (unlockables and power ups), but also, as the characters grow in story mode, so too do they grow in abilities in other modes. For the classic example, going super saiyan, which opens up a new move set for said character that does so, is acquired when that character earns it in story mode. Now powering up and down is a simple affair. Just use the 1 button to power up. If you want to power down, press down and the 1 button to take you down to base state (or if your character has multiple levels, press right on the control stick while pressing 1 to take you down one level). Also, they allow you to start at various powered forms of the character by pressing the D Pad up and down on the characters portrait, at the select screen to get to that form. This not only makes it convenient to start at whatever form you'd like, but also de clutters the select screen for more characters to be added in. Which is good, because the cast list in this game is truly massive at 129 characters. This makes playing story mode more then just unlocking characters, but also unlocking new abilities with them.The versus and tournament modes grow with the story mode. The nice thing here is, for both fans of the original Japanese language version, as well as the English Dub, the story mode have full voice acting in whichever language you choose (Alas, this will be the last time we hear the Japanese voice of Master Roshi - may he rest in peace). It's not 100% show accurate, but the story mode follows along well enough that those of you unfamiliar with the story should be able to follow it OK (You might be confused about little details, but that's the Dragon Ball story to begin with - the plot holes in the cartoon are big enough to drop the death star into). The game captures the feel of the show perfectly with the ability to dash around and whatnot, but without sacrificing balance. I took Master Roshi, a joke character in the game not really intended to fight, and have defeated much stronger opponents like Cell with him. It may not easy to do but it's doable.

The game isn't all song and whistle though. While the move set inputs are very simple, the movements that involve thrusting can be very frustrating to get the game to recognize, which can be a great hinderance at times. Moreover, trying to unlock characters with Z item fusion can be confusing. Sometimes its obviou; Saiyan character with power ball = great ape variation of character. Sometimes it's not. The easy and recommended way to fix this, when it comes to Z item fusion, use GameFAQs. It would've been nice to have an online mode, but both considering its early Wii release status, and its sequel incorporating it, I'll forgive that. The only other gripe I have with the game is that there are some bugs in the game. For example: after you unlock Super Saiyan form for Goku after finishing the story mode, he appears to be unselectable when you get to the costume area. Now if you point the Wii remote away and just hit A, he can be selected. This bug does go away towards the end of story mode, but small little bugs like that do hurt the game.

The graphics are pretty good, nothing outstanding, but you won't be complaining either. They really look perfect for the Dragon Ball universe. The sound is actually quite good, though. While the Japanese version just had remixed tunes from the TV show, the music composed for the US version of the game is nothing to snort at either. It uses truly different music from any previous DBZ game that feels right for the universe, as well as good on their own.

Ultimately, while this game has some excellent strides, not just for a DBZ game - but for fighting games in general, the little bugs and hitches here and there do hamper it some. Still this game shines brightly. I give Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 2: 4 Super Incredible Guys out of 5.

Score: 4/5


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Images taken by Laserkid(Staff)
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