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Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2
game: Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2
three star
posted by: GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
publisher: Atari
date posted: 12:00 AM Wed Jan 21st, 2004
last revision: 12:00 AM Wed Jan 21st, 2004

By Eric Qualls

Budokai 2 follows the most basic formula for a sequel. There are new characters and moves and much-improved graphics, but the gameplay is exactly the same as it was last year. In other words, the fighting still sucks but everything looks prettier, and there is a lot more stuff to play with. For fans of the show, however, that is really all you need and Budokai 2 is certainly more fun to play than its predecessor thanks to the more complete roster and fancy new moves you can use. If you played Budokai and didn't like it, Budokai 2 isn't going to be any different. If you enjoyed the first game you'll love Budokai 2.

The main single player mode in the game is called Dragon World. The game plays out like a board game where each character on the map has a limited number of moves each turn and you move around and collect items and fight enemies when you are both on the same spot on the map. Your job is to defeat the enemies as well as collect the Dragon Balls so you can have a wish at the end of the game. You'll fight the same enemies in the same locations in the same order as they happened on the series, but a few changes had to be made in order to fit in with the board game theme. Overall, I think everything works pretty well in Dragon World mode and it is fun enough to play through multiple times. Which is good because you'll have to play through it a lot if you want to collect everything. Other single player modes include World Tournament and practice, but Dragon World is where you'll spend most of your time.

The key to victory is managing the skill capsules you collect. You can buy capsules with money you find in Dragon World or win in the World Tournament, but you will also find capsules hidden on the maps as well as every time you defeat an enemy in Dragon World. These capsules do things such as give you new moves or change your defensive and offense power levels. When you first start the game, the characters are pretty weak, but as you earn new capsules you can edit the characters to make them much stronger.

The fighting itself is still far too simplistic and easy to really test your fighting game skittles, but it manages to be fun nonetheless. The basic gameplay hasn't changed at all from the first Budokai. Moves are performed with simple button commands and every character uses the exact same commands. You can still go into burst mode and button mash to determine a winner and everything else that was in the first game.

There are a few new things you can do in Budokai 2, but they don't make the game any more complex. They just make it look more like the show. Certain special moves can now be powered up by pressing buttons or rotating the analog sticks when the game tells you to. This is fun because it allows you to land a few extra hits and score some more damage, but it is ridiculously easy to pull it off every time. Another new addition to the gameplay is that you can use the fusion technique in mid-fight to power up your character. Believe me, it is seriously fun to turn into Gotenks and bust out Super Kamikaze Ghost attacks.

The roster in Budokai 2 features just about every character that you could want. It covers the entire DBZ saga and you'll be able to pick from good guys such as Goku, Vegeta, Piccolo, and Supreme Kai as well as bad guys like Frieza, Cell, Majin Buu, Super Buu, and Kid Buu. There are 29 characters in all along with several characters that are created through the fusion technique, so your favorites will definitely be in here. All of the moves you would expect are included as well as lots of finishing moves. The fighting engine is still sucky, but just like the first Budokai, this is a game that DBZ fans will love no matter what. It is fun to play as the new characters and pull off the new moves. It is fun to perform a fusion and unleash super powerful moves on your enemies. For DBZ fans, Budokai 2 is flat out fun and there is enough to do that you'll be playing it for ages to unlock everything and loving every minute of it.

Graphically, Budokai 2 is awesome thanks to the use of cel-shading. Now the game looks exactly like the show. The characters look perfect and are extremely detailed. The environments were ripped straight out of the series and feature a lot more detail than the backgrounds in the first Budokai. You can still knock your opponent through mountains, but doing so has an even bigger impact on the environments. For example, you can trigger an avalanche that completely destroys the building you were fighting in front of and throws you and your opponent off of a cliff and you continue your fight down at the bottom. The graphics are awesome and everything looks just like it should. DBZ fans will be very pleased.

The sound is equally as impressive, but also sort of disappointing. Almost all of the sound effects and music have been reused from the first Budokai, but it still sounds pretty good and fits the action well. New sounds would have been nice, though. All of the US voice actors once again lent their talents to the game, so the characters sound just as good as they look. The game sounds like an episode of the TV show, and it is hard to really fault it for reusing a lot of audio since the first game sounded so good.

If you are a fan of Dragon Ball Z, you can buy Budokai 2 without hesitation because you will undoubtedly be happy with it. All of the characters and moves you could want have been included and the game looks and sounds exactly like the show. The only drawback is that the fighting engine hasn't changed at all from the first game, so it is still incredibly simple and pretty crappy compared to pretty much every other fighting game. That doesn't really matter though because being able to drop a Super Spirit Bomb on Buu's head or use the fusion technique is fun enough that it is easy to ignore the simple combat. This show is all about the characters and the moves and the drama and Budokai 2 captures it all perfectly. If you aren't a DBZ fan, you won't like this game, and if you didn't like the first Budokai, the sequel won't change your mind. However, if you are a fan and you enjoyed Budokai, then Budokai 2 is a solid purchase that has a ton of stuff to do and gives you lots of ways to do it so I think it is worth a purchase.