Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2
|a game by||Dimps Corporation|
|Platforms:||GameCube, Playstation 2|
|Editor Rating:||6/10, based on 2 reviews|
|User Rating:||5.7/10 - 7 votes|
|Rate this game:|
|See also:||Dragon Ball Games|
The second entry in the legendary ‘Budokai’ series of Dragon Ball Z games tries to be bigger, better, and more complex than its predecessor. Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2 is a massive game with lots of characters and moments from the anime, basically a love letter for fans of Goku and his friends. But is that enough to turn Budokai 2 into a great fighting game?
Welcome to Dragon World
Unlike the first game’s story mode, one of the most divisive new inclusions of Budokai 2 is the Dragon World mode. While other fighting games are content with merely adding an “Arcade” mode and calling it a day, Budokai 2 goes the extra mile with its story, adding a fully playable board game to represent the anime’s plot.
If you’ve ever played a Mario Party game before, then you know what happens when you’re stuck looking at a virtual board for too long: eventually, it gets dreadfully boring. Luckily, the fights in Budokai 2 are as exciting and bombastic as the ones that fans of the anime are used to.
Punches and explosions galore
Fans will be pleased to see that many of their favorite characters have made it into Budokai 2’s roster. The game features over 30 characters, each of them with additional costumes and variations. Each character has unique combat animations for their signature attacks, even though each character controls more or less the same in battle.
Visuals look amazing for its time, with the cel-shaded style making the characters look very similar to their anime counterparts. As for the fighting system, there’s still a lot of work to be done for the game to achieve its full potential.
Characters feel too similar between each other, with some of them being pretty much reskins of other fighters. While the special attacks look fantastic, the rest of the fights feel uninspired by comparison. In a market where games like Tekken redefine how a fighting game should feel, it’s hard to make excuses for Budokai 2’s unexciting combat, especially for non-fans of the series.
More than the sum of its parts
One new mechanic added to Budokai 2 is fusions. As the name implies, fusions merge two characters together into a third, more powerful form. Learning how to time your fusions could be the key to victory, as the fusions are fairly overpowered characters compared to the rest of the roster.
Just like the fusions, every aspect in Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2 comes together into one, nicely presented package that will be the delight of fans, but might also leave curious onlookers scratching their heads. This is a game for fans of Dragon Ball Z, but not necessarily for fighting games fans.
In the context of the series, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2 is a marked improvement over its predecessor in most areas, but it lacks enough innovation to be considered a truly ‘superior’ game. For one, Dragon World is not as entertaining as the first game’s Story Mode, with the board game mechanics getting in the way of the infinitely more entertaining fights.
The gorgeous character models and lively animations give the game tons of undeniable charm. That said, this is a game that is definitely for those who enjoy Dragon Ball Z; if you’re considering Budokai 2 as a good alternative to, say, Street Fighter, then you’d be better off looking elsewhere.
- Great cel-shaded characters
- Pulling off fusions is a blast
- Tons of characters from the anime
- Shallow fighting system
- Dragon World gets boring pretty fast
- Lots of content recycled from the first Budokai game
Download Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2
The first Budokai was proof that it’s possible to make a decent DBZ game. Budokai 2 wisely keeps the fighting gameplay the same (barring some neato fusions and countering tweaks), but at the same time, it drops the cool anime-style cinema sequences that I enjoyed so much last time around. Reducing the story to talking heads turns the once-engaging plot into a drab, formulaic mess. But where Budokai 2 loses its ability to fly is in its new board-game-style singleplayer game. Seriously, whose idea was it to make this the main mode? It's just not fun to move game pieces around flat, uninteresting maps when all you have to look forward to is fighting the same characters multiple times per board until they're dead and maybe collecting a few new technique capsules. It ends up feeling like a cheap way to extend the game. It’s not all bad news, though—the new cartoon-shaded graphics look nice, and the option to customize a fighter’s attacks with capsules spices up the Versus play. But this time around, Budokai’s best left to the most loyal breed of DBZfan.
Budokai 2 captures the cartoon’s manic essence but doesn’t fare as well when judged solely on its merits as a fighting game. The core combat is essentially the same as last year’s, and while there are over 30 characters to choose from, they’re all clones as far as combos go, unique only in appearance. While that lets aspiring Saiyans swap characters with ease, it also means us sane folk will never get the chance to develop diverse skills with different fighters.
Last year, I was awestruck by the quality of Budokai—it was a veritable Soul Calibur II compared to wretched previous attempts like Dragon Ball GTand Ultimate Battle 22 (both on PS1). Sadly, this sequel is a step backwards. Although the basic fighting gameplay (a decent mix of simple combos, copious fireballs, and zany supermoves) remains largely unchanged, the new board-game concept ruins the single-player experience. Fighting the same brain-dead enemies over and over gets really old, really fast. Stick with last year’s version.