I know what you’re thinking. “Look at all the games this guy’s reviewed. Would he really play a Dragon Ball Z game? It’s so out of character.” Well it is. The only reason I got the game was because I played the original Ps2 Tenkaichi at a friend’s place. The gameplay was super fun and interesting, so I decided to pursue and aim for the most recent game in the series. As it turned out, that was a bad idea.
The first thing that stood out most was the fact that the combat is almost entirely cinematic plus button mashing. Punch combos lead into a combat cinematic that, if countered, can lead to a counter-combat cinematic. Everything is an action input sequence. All standard forms of fighting, like energy balls and punching, are cookie-cutter between characters. Yeah, the visuals for the energy balls are slightly different, but they just feel too damned similar. The only noteworthy differences of each character is their special and ultimate attacks, which are also cinematic.
Oh, and the defensive response to the special/ultimate attacks are cinematic too. Circle to reduce damage by blocking, square to do a timing game then dodge, triangle to have a button tapping contest then counter the move. So you definitely see where I’m coming from when I say that the game plays you, right? Right. Let’s… let’s get into the different game modes. I don’t want to think about self-playing game stuff.
Story mode. Oh, shit. It’s even worse than normal gameplay, because it follows the plot of the Dragon Ball series TO THE LETTER. It even uses clips from the anime. Kudos for being consistent, but that means that during the battle, even more cinematic events will occur. Get them down to a certain HP value, they use an attack you’re not allowed to retaliate to. Or maybe you’ll do the same. It’s all very hands off. Kinda makes me feel more like a movie-goer than a gamer. But hey, you unlock new characters and special/ultimate moves by progressing! … Yay? Hah, no.
Hero Saga! Make your own character and enjoy an exciting parallel universe of DBZ in which your champion… yawn… fights… I don’t even know. I haven’t played it. You start off with like, only two hairs and four outfits, and you’re stuck with a fugly male base character with a few options for voice. You see, kiddies, Dragon Ball comes from a day and age where beating up women was considered too taboo for TV, and that beating a man to death was perfectly acceptable to watch and smile at. Yeah, Android #18’s a blondie chick, but I guess she’s a robot so that makes her a special exception or something. Whenever another character fights her, they make some crack about “not going easy because she’s a girl” or what the fuck ever. I don’t even care.
So like… During story mode, you can collect Dragon Balls scattered across the world map every once in a while to summon a dragon who gives you a wish. You can wish for alternate costumes or new battlegrounds for versus mode. Every other dragon summoning you conjure a guy that gives you three wishes, so that’s pretty awesome. I guess.
So why does every single goddamned evil bad guy have to be like “Oooh, I’m final form, no way you can defeat me. Oh noo, I lost anyway, but I got a secret backup weapon that gonna kill you even though you killed me. Oh noo, it didn’t work! I guess I’m dead. But nooo! I’m supposed to be the strongest!” You’ll hear that a lot. I heard it way too much. I guess it’s more fun in the anime. I dunno.
If you play on higher difficulties, the AI start predicting your cinematic inputs and literally kicking the shit out of you every chance they get. I mean, it’s a 50% chance you’ll get trumped anyway, but nine times out of ten is a bit… too often.
-slams hands on the desk-
Done! Done reviewing. Bad game. Don’t get it. Plays itself, doesn’t need you. They say destructible environment, but it’s ALL CINEMATIC. You can’t even play around in the crater you made! I hate everything! I hate this game. Dragon Ball Z Ultimate Tenkaichi, you can kiss the most antipathic part of my–