Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 Updated Hands-On

Get ready to brush up on your Dragon Ball Z character names--the latest Budokai Tenkaichi is on track to feature more than 90 of them.

Recently, we got some hands-on time with the latest offering in the Dragon Ball Z game franchise--Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3--the third in the Budokai Tenkaichi series being published by Namco Bandai for the PlayStation 2.

Our last look at Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 was at this year's Leipzig Games Convention, and while that taste focused largely around the playable character selection and controller gesturing for the Wii version of the game, this time around we'll be looking specifically at the gameplay, some of the characters, and what they can do.

Atari Australia also tells us that Tenkaichi 3 will be the last instalment on the PlayStation 2 platform, and as a result rolls all the features of the previous games into "one ultimate DBZ fighting package".

So what can Dragon Ball fans look forward to in this version? Plenty from the looks of it, with over 40 hours of gameplay, 10 game modes that relive the original Dragon Ball saga, and original Japanese voiceover work. Developer Spike has also thrown in more than 90 unique characters for a total of over 150 forms, playable on more than 20 battle stages. Unfortunately, since our preview code was a work in progress, we were limited to a handful of each.

The game's opening cinematic, character models, and environments look great on the aging PlayStation 2 hardware. A lot of work has obviously gone into the game's creative assets, leaving the cel-shaded art style and lighting effects looking fresh and crisp. Outdoor grassy environments are lush and green, while desert areas are sparse and rock laden. Audio hasn’t been skipped in the process, with our copy offering 21 battle-themed tracks with names like "Caution!", "Shootout in Meteor", "High and Scream", and "Heat Capacity".

Our playable character list consisted of: Goku, Piccolo, Nail, Goku (GT), Vegeta (Second Form), Future Gohan, King Vegeta, King Cold, Babidi, Demon King Dabura, Kid Buu, Android 13, Broly, Bojack, Nuova Shenron, and Spopovich. Once you've selected your base character, there's an additional level of customisation, with Goku available in GT, GT Super Saiyan, GT Super Saiyan 3, GT Super Saiyan 4, or Gogeta form following the various series and movies. Not all characters had forms in our code, although they may appear in a later build, or as unlockable characters through the story mode. Character models also offer between one and four colour variations, so you'll be able to tell who's who in two-player battle.

Even with all the story modes, Budokai Tenkaichi 3 and indeed the Dragon Ball Z that spawned it is obviously rooted in fighting, so how does it handle? Fans of the series shouldn't encounter any major surprises picking this one up, and all the frantic mid-air thrashing you've come to love is still here. Fifty-hit combos are par for the course, but there's plenty of other ways to dispatch your enemy, and using the skills list menu, you can plot out and learn your special attack, signature and rushing techniques, and their associated button presses.

This is one for the button mashers, even if you can't string together advanced combos, you'll have fun with Tenkaichi 3 by repeatedly pressing the square button to punch when your target is in range. Pressing X will make your player dash towards your opponent--useful for after you've dealt a devastating knock back blow and want to get another one in. Triangle fires your ranged weapon, dealing a moderate amount of damage, but using up your energy which you'll want to save for combos. Holding and releasing either the melee or ranged attack buttons will charge up a more powerful attack. R1 and the right shoulder trigger are assigned to flying, and will make your character either zoom into the air or descend back to earth.

Auto lock makes a return in this game, and so far seems to be plagued by the same issues found in Tenkaichi 2. Once players leave your field of vision, usually by flying above you, although still locked on, you won't know where they are without either backing off or flying to meet them.

Vertical split-screen multiplayer too is back in Tenkaichi 3, and unfortunately even on a large television set simply doesn't offer enough visual context per player with the locked shoulder camera. With such expansive environments, we understand why they've done it this way, but the problem is only compounded further by the height field of vision issue.

The game still has development time before it ships in November this year, and we're hoping that what has been such a solid series until now can go out with a bang with a few minor tweaks.

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Discussion

75 comments
VilandasUK
VilandasUK

Stop wasting your time and buy Dragon Ball Z Burst Limit. The best DBZ game of all times

gamer_unleashed
gamer_unleashed

man some characters in the game are pointless... we dont need 6 versions of Vegeta!! just one with all the forms. SSJ 4 should be included as a transformation not a separate character!! whos Kiwi and Appule? those guys are just no-namers. and King Cold and King Vegeta dont even actually fight!!!! they are soooooo minor in DBZ!!! wtf is up with the characters now?

uzayr22
uzayr22

serchant it isnt comein out on 30th in europe coz i live there and ill tell you releaase date is feb the 15 in u.k

phillepino
phillepino

150 includes the different forms of a person. for example, Goku has 6 forms : Normal, Kaioken, SSJ1, SSJ2, SSJ3, SSJ4 Those are 6 characters lol

NintendoWarrior
NintendoWarrior

LOL you ppl are stupid, you can use a gamecube controller on the wii version

ShAaZ_GamER_86
ShAaZ_GamER_86

What I hate (and I know this is a minor thing) Is how the games are called Budokai Tenkaichi, but the actual tournament is called the Tenkaichi Budokai...oh well. Still, I cant wait for the game, and it blows that the PS2 wont have online. I was sooooo looking forward to that. I'll never play it on the Wii. I played 2 on it, and I felt like a dumbass, swingin' my arms around and all that...**** the Wii.

KingChainz31684
KingChainz31684

first of all they say 90 chars and they don't list 90 so obviously they didn't list them all since it seems some people don't get that i thought i should throw that in their. Alright next when they say vegeta second form they don't mean vegeta SS2 they mean vegeta on Namek as opposed vegeta on his first trip to earth. Tail-less and with out a scouter and the ability to power up. And watch GT again before you start talking about going ss4. In GT while Goku is a kid he is SSJ but in DBZ Goku goes SSJ2 a lot in the Buu series the main difference and way to tell is when you see electricity sparking around the super saiyan he is SS2. The hair is slightly longer and muscle are bigger but the difference is too slight to tell on a regular basis. I am just finishing up GT for the 3rd time now but this time i went through DB, DBZ, DBGT on the original Japanese uncut i wish they woulda translated the US version better the Japanese version has like 23 more episodes i never seen before i bought the japanese version.

sonic2010
sonic2010

listen Phantom_75, i know the PS2 is better and i have 1 right now. but all what i'm saying is that they should focuse on PS3 more than the PS2 because there is too many DBZ games out there already and don't ever tell me to shut up ok, if i only know were you live i was going to show you how kamehameha would be done on some one properly,

Ansem_Rev
Ansem_Rev

Vegeta turns SS4 Due to the Blu Rays??? Ok Ps3 Lover thats the dumbest thing i ever heard of!!! Its the moon BEAMS from the cannon that was created snum nutz

flash786
flash786

i m a hardcore dbz fan and i cant wait to gt my hands on this one

chillpill100
chillpill100

man, the name is so long:P, Dragon Ball Z Budoukai Tenkaichi 3, but it looks awesome, i am a dbz fan, but i have to admit, the series is over so theres no new bosses, and how many times can you kick cell in the face untill it gets old? trust me, im still looking forawrd to this game as ive got almost every DBZ game out in a while, i mean it looks great and i proboly will get it, but im not 100% about this

314566
314566

It comes out the 13th

Phantom_75
Phantom_75

sonic2010 i think your right about that and i t is ture

indybond
indybond

Only the wii version has online play... this one has disk fusion instead.

mathias89
mathias89

Vegeta never is able to go SSJ 3...in fact he goes into SSJ4 solely because of the blu rays, otherwise he cannot transform at will like Goku does.

Necromantic45
Necromantic45

As far as I remember, Goku doesn't really go SSJ2 in GT. His Super Saiyan modes seemed to fluctuate between regular SSJ and SSJ2 and then he goes straight from SSJ3 Monkey basically to SSJ4... sooo thats probably too minute of a detail.

indybond
indybond

I wonder why there is no ss3 vegeta. Hope they have him in this game.

sonic_rusher
sonic_rusher

why is there no Goku GT Supr sayain 2??? WTF

easy33
easy33

Not sure how the game is going to be, but I wish they would give the Tenkaichi series better game covers, all of them are horrible, though this is a step better in the right direction than the previous cover.

LordKane100
LordKane100

any1 hear about those unlockables in tenkachi 1 and 2 which are accessed from this game?

GEMINIVice
GEMINIVice

I probably rent this game and try it. I won't buy it because it seems like it will be more of the same from Tenkaichi 2. Just more character models, longer story mode, and a few more additions to the combat system.

Gaticus
Gaticus

It will work on the PS3, unless you get the extra pitiful 40G version that isn't backwards compatible. Will still be a good gam though.

sonic2010
sonic2010

sory i ment PS3 version not PS2.

Yoshi-chan
Yoshi-chan

Sonic-rusher Please just don't speak...your incompetence is hurting my head seriously. Think about what you said, "put all goku's into one" and now please explain to me....how Chibi Goku (gt) would fit into all Goku's? ...or did you fail to realize there's a difference lin that Gt Goku is a KID (again) For the sake of good mannerism let me say what you may have been implying. All Goku's transformations sould be placed in a single character not separated and sought as a different character completely But if you think about it...they hit it on mark...seeing as goku could only go from ssj 1-4 when he was Chibi goku in GT Good work guys. I only wish that you'd make Gt Vegeta seperate from babie vegeta....in addition to adding Goku jr and Vegeta jr

sonic_rusher
sonic_rusher

Man I hate that they seperated Goku and Goku GT thats just a cheap way to add character numbers for advertisement. I wish they could just pu all the Goku fomrs in one character. Still I love these games even with all their terrible flaws.

Stryder_18
Stryder_18

Hey sonic2010 if its for the PS2 then it'll work for the PS3, so whats the big deal? This way PS2 owners get to play the latests DBZ as well!

sonic2010
sonic2010

should be on PS3 not PS2. man it's time to 4get bout PS2 and make games 4 ps3.

eViL_kA
eViL_kA

Oozaru_Kakkarot : "...the only people who dont like this game are the people that suck at it!!!..." Yeah, when you have two pros going at it on these games, the fights are like nothing else out there.

xgalacticax
xgalacticax

yea, nova shenron was my favourite dragon. I wonder if they'll put eis shenron (ice), his moves in the GT series were pretty cool. And in the dragonball adventure, I hope they give u the nimbus cloud to fly on, weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! or should i say wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii. ps3 will probably get a dragonball z but i think it will be in 2 or more years. or since they are already used to the wii formula and development for the ps3 is expensive, they may just make the next one a wii exclusive and up the visuals abit. dont care, ive have all three consoles and i'll keep playing DBZ whichever console it shows up on. in the mean time ill get BT3 as a farewell gift for my ps2...sob..

SwiftShow4
SwiftShow4

Yeah, There is supposed to be a Dragon Ball Z for PlayStation 3. It's not going to be a part of the tenkaichi series, I think!

sparkypants
sparkypants

Aww last game of the series to come on the PS2 means last game for me until I can find a way to get money for a Wii AND PS3, anyone think there will be another series for the PS3 or something?

_AbBaNdOn
_AbBaNdOn

woooo i didnt learn a single thing i didnt already know from this hands-on preview. What are the new fighting mechanics!!!

branden52
branden52

sweet Nuova Shenron, nail, Future Gohan, King Vegeta, King Cold cant wait for it to come out

Boukhari
Boukhari

i'm excited, bein a big fan an' all that. but doesn't anyone get annoyed when they bung in someone who was shown in a minor scene but they've included just to make the number of characters more impressive? and as if that wasn't bad enough they'll usually give them a similar 'move-set' to another character but with a different ki colour. once again i'll re-iterate i AM a big fan but the games just lack the commitment from Atari, Spike & Namco Bandai Games. bit like smackdown vs raw, FIFA, even Pro Evo Soccer. they're not really improving the game just makin minor tweaks that should/ could have been included in prev games but they wanted to make 2 x price of one game. i reckon they ought to have also brought it to next gen so that they could re-vamp it, but it seems they want to make another in bout 1 or 2 yrs and release that with the next-gen gimmick. i hope they create all moves... and give a large percentage of the characters their own fighting style and pose and all that. nonetheless, i'll still be quenin up for my beloved DB

hooperfax006
hooperfax006

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

hooperfax006
hooperfax006

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

metal_snake33
metal_snake33

So... they say this is a usually solid series but they give the last Tenkaichi game, what, a 6. something?

tenkaichi_3
tenkaichi_3

man now im just pumped up even more.

kingrutoz
kingrutoz

cant wait for dbz bt3 its gonna be awsome

eetz
eetz

oooo a think dbz bt 3 is very cool game i don´t think two times to buy jajajajajajaja

Hen123
Hen123

cant wait for DBZ BT 3 but i wish that they made online for the PS2 version to but i still cant wait till this game comes out

clawboy
clawboy

Yet another Dragon Ball Z game to add to the collection. Bring it on.

Oozaru_Kakkarot
Oozaru_Kakkarot

The combo system is fine...you need skill to string together 50+ hit combos and the camera needs skill to use too...the only people who dont like this game are the people that suck at it!!!... Its not a flawless game and it shouldnt be considered a standard fighting game like Tekken or Soul Calibur, Tenkaichi is its own type of fighting game... Its more like Armored Core then anything else...If your good at it the computer cant get above you!!!...The field of vision is fine in multiplayer only pansies need to see 10 feet to their left and right!!!... stop complaining GAMESPOT!