Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My Top 20 Favourite Video Games Of All Time: #20

Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3
(Bandai, 2007-2008; PlayStation 2, Wii)

I know, I know, there's a bit of a stigma attached to Dragon Ball, the notion it's something of a franchise for anime nerds and people stuck in the 90s, but I can't get enough Dragon Ball and this game is my favourite in the series.

As fighting games go, DBZBT3 is pretty simplistic. It's not trying to beat King of Fighters for depth, but it's certainly an awful lot more accesible to casual players and that works very well in the game's favour. You can learn characters right down to their individual combos and special moves, or you can simply hammer the basic attack button, stopping only to fire the ocassional ki blast. It matters little what your play style is or how much time you can invest in the game.

Speaking of the special moves, the number of invidivualised special moves is astonishing. Each character has multiple signature and Ultimate Blast "finishing" moves. Given there are 161 characters in the game (!) that's really impressive! Yes, you read that right, 161 characters, including transformations, each with their own special abilities, powers and weaknesses. The game closely follows the anime version of the Dragon Ball epic adventure, with characters and locations from the original Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT, plus the many Dragon Ball movies. Mastering all of them will take some serious time!

Perhaps most enjoyable is the Dragon History play mode. This lets you relive iconic fights from the series' history. You start off in the Saiyan Saga, progress to the Android and Cell Sagas, and finish up in the Majin Buu Saga, with plenty of other little sagas in between. After that, you can play through GT and the original Dragon Ball sagas. There are also loads of fights from the movies to relive as well as some "what if...?" scenarios and it'll take you days to see them all. On top of all that, the Funimation team return to reprise their roles from the anime and, yes, the line "It's over 9000!" does make an appearance. Dragon Ball fans will be in their element.

Once you've completed Dragon History, you may as well check out the game's other challenging modes, which offer literally hundreds more fights, with dozens of combinations of characters for you to battle and a multitude of items to unlock and use to customise your character's fighting skills with. If you want to max out the stats of all 161 characters, suffice to say you'll be playing for years!

Of course, no Dragon Ball game would be complete without the titular balls themselves! Collecting all seven of them by finding them in destroyed landscapes and then winning the fight allows you to summon the great dragon Shenron, who will grant any wish you may desire (as long as you wish for a special item, a new fight stage, a bunch of money or super-secret characters!).

The Wi version of DBZBT3 is even better. Rather than just tell your characters to deliver their special attacks by pressing a command, you have to make the motion yourself, which really brings you into the game. The Kamehameha, for instance, the most famous move in the series and Goku's signature attack, is done by drawing the Wii Remote back to your side as if you're collecting energy, then thrusting it forward like you're throwing a huge burst at your opponent! The thrill of delivering one of these special moves in the nick of time is really unmatched by any other game.

Ultimately, it's not truly possible to fully recommend DBZBT3 to people who aren't already Dragon Ball fans. But if you feel like giving an exhilarating game a chance, where you fly around the screen firing off energy bursts, with dozens of characters to play as and hundreds of fights to play through, this could be the game for you.


2badguys said...

I'm surprised a Dragonball game made it on the list =P


L. T. said...

To put it any higher would have been daft, but it's definitely one of the most enjoyable games I've played in recent years. Probably helps that it was my first, too, so it wasn't as much of a chore as fighting the same battles again and again and again in every game.