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.
Download Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP