Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 - hands-on

We've gone head-to-head with the spiky-haired aliens of Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2once before, and we came away impressed. Since then, however, we've had a chance to play the hell out of a nearly finished version of the game - and we're still impressed.

Like the first Tenkaichi, Tenkaichi 2 is a DBZ -flavored fighter that will enable you to fly around a huge, open arena and slam your opponent around with superfast martial-arts moves and gigantic fireballs. That's really about it, but it's surprisingly fun, even if you're a total non-fan who just wants to boot a few asses through a few walls.

More so than any other DBZ title, Tenkaichi 2 wants to be the definitive Dragon Ball experience. As we've covered in our earlier preview, the game features a total of 120 playable characters culled from all the various DBZ sagas and series - the most ever crammed into a fighting game, according to publisher Atari. From Goku to Garlic Jr. to the regrettable GT characters, they're all here, and they're all voiced by the anime's US cast.

To accommodate them all, the game's story mode, Dragon Adventure, features no fewer than 24 lengthy storylines, including a few cool "what if?" scenarios. Whichever plot you choose, though, they all play out more or less the same - you'll fly around over a big world map as whichever character(s) the story dictates, tackling optional battles and buying power-ups before each chapter-ending fight. The whole experience is structured like an RPG, meaning you'll be able to power up and customize your fighters for use in other modes.