Grab on to your dragon balls, it’s about time for another installment in the DBZ franchise. Developed by Namco Bandai, Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team lets fans experience a proper game adaptation of the popular Japanese animated series. The game hosts a wide range of features including 2 vs 2 combat, ad-hoc multiplayer, and a campaign covering the entire original Dragon Ball Z story.
Fortunately, Namco Bandai won't have much to prove with Tenkaichi Tag Team as it follows in the wake of last year's Dragon Ball Evolution, which of course flopped harder than a falling fish stick. This time, however, they've stuck to the original series instead of trying to promote the unimpressive live-action film of the same name. The result? Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team is a promising title for devoted fans, but will lose appeal for newcomers to the franchise.
On the upside, there are over 70 characters to choose from along with nine unique stages. Aside from Dragon Walker, which carries you through the entire DBZ story from the Saiyan to Majin Buu episodes, you will find a variety of modes including survival, training, and our favorite, Battle 100.
Possibly the most engaging of the different modes, Battle 100 allows players to recreate major battles of the Dragonball universe. However, if you are looking for more of a challenge (which this game definitely needs more of) then we recommend playing through survival mode. You won't find anything too surprising here, but fighting continuous waves of enemies without interjections of the game's less-than-amusing dialogue is a nice break.
Although the action style and gameplay of Tenkaichi Tag Team pay tribute to what made the Dragon Ball universe so unique, the game suffers from too many limitations to qualify as a worthy supplement to the series. For starters, the campaign is flat and does nothing to advance new storylines. Instead, it feels like Namco sheepishly condensed the whole story into one boring framework and held it together with lots of dialogue.
Between battles in the campaign, you move around the world looking for new enemies and information that will lead you to the next battle. Unfortunately, this feature of the game is poorly designed and becomes more of a chore as you move through the campaign. Even more insulting is the bobble-headed look given to each character as you move from one point to another. Once a battle is initiated, however, you are dropped into an arena where the characters appear nearly identical as they do in the show.
Luckily, Dragon Ball Z's bread winner is its clever fighting mechanics, which simulate the fast-paced action of the show. Every ability is accounted for and is somewhat easy to learn. For the most part, button-mashing is a winning strategy. However, you will need to coordinate your attacks carefully in order to win. Our largest complaint about the fighting mechanics is the barriers that surround each battle zone. Fighting along these barriers can trap the enemy and easily disrupt the flow of the battle.
Aside from these and other problematic features, Dragon Ball Z Tenkaichi Tag Team is an easy to play experience from start to finish. If you are a devoted fan of the series looking to revisit the DBZ universe, then this game is certainly worth your time and dollar. For gamers just looking for an exciting fighting game, its best to leave this one on the shelf.
Nov 1, 2010