Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 review

With difficulty spikes to rival their hair

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Though the character selection screen scrolls on for pages, the combatants are nearly indistinguishable from each other in play style, with altered animations and projectile types subbed in for sheer variety. Can't tell your Android #19 from Garlic Jr? Neither can the game engine, apparently. Luckily for series devotees, Budokai Tenkaichi 3 is noticeably more challenging from the outset than its predecessors, with more aggressive and intelligent A.I. competitors even across all difficulty levels. Those unfamiliar with the franchise or unwilling to drop a couple hours learning the ins and outs of the battle system need not apply.

So aside from the new fighters and light adjustments to the fighting engine, what are the "other things" added to Budokai Tenkaichi 3? Dragon History mode plays like a condensed, yet still familiar version of last year's extensive Dragon Adventure mode, tossing players both into battles from the entire anime series and special game-specific scenarios.

With all its modes, settings, and extensive fan service, Budokai Tenkaichi 3 is the ultimate Dragon Ball Z love fest to date, butit's not a fully fleshed-out sequel. It still accurately represents the popular anime/manga series, but the statute of limitations for similar last-gen sequels expires now- it's time for Atari to take this franchise to next-gen consoles and put some real force behind these extraordinary characters and settings.

Feb 29, 2008

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DescriptionThis twitchy fighting game is more streamlined (and more mentally demanding) than Budokai Tenkaichi 2, but we can't tell if that's a good thing or a bad thing.
Franchise nameDragon Ball
UK franchise nameDragon Ball Z
US censor rating"Teen","Teen"
UK censor rating"",""
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)