Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2 Updated Impressions

Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2 Updated Impressions

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Atari stopped by today with an updated build of Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2, the follow-up to last year's extremely successful Dragon Ball-based brawler. The original game pleased longtime fans of the series immensely, with its faithful use of the source material and accessible gameplay. For its follow-up, Atari and developer Dimps are reworking the original game's strengths and adding even more content for fans. Judging by the work-in-progress version we saw today, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2 is poised to offer a richer experience that should please fans.

The preview version Atari showed us had a few more of the game's new features. We got a peek at the roster of fighters, all of which have received an impressive cel-shaded makeover, and some of the new areas you'll be fighting in. The biggest change to the game's structure is the board-game-style presentation that will send you around to different areas as you explore. The goal is to track down all the dragon balls. When you encounter other characters on your search, you'll engage them in battle. Combat remains user-friendly, although the game is in the process of being balanced. Special moves may require a bit more work to pull off, and some can be avoided by staying on the ground. Battles have become a great deal more cinematic, thanks to the inclusion of interactive elements during the special-move cutscenes. The attacking player will be able to charge his or her moves by quickly spinning the analog stick, while the defending player can try to deflect the attack by spinning the analog stick. An onscreen meter slides left or right to indicate which player is successfully spinning the analog stick the fastest. The attack is executed after a few seconds, with the animation reflecting who was able to move the meter furthest in the opposite direction. If the attacking player is successful, you're treated to a dramatic energy-fueled ass whupping as your opponent is blown back. However, if your opponent managed to deflect the shot, the animation is cut short, and your opponent take less damage. We were also able to get a look at the fusion and absorption attacks, which let you combine characters into new forms or absorb the abilities from another fighter, respectively. The animation for both was suitably dramatic and definitely evoked the mayhem of the series. This was also evident in the destructible elements present in the stages that could actually alter the layout of the area where you're fighting.

Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2 will offer a boatload of new capsules to discover and equip on your character. The game will feature roughly two times the number of capsules to keep players occupied. Owners of the original Dragon Ball Z: Budokai will be able to gain access to some bonuses if they fire up Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2 with their original saved game on their memory card. The game will reward a number of capsules based on how much of the original game has been cleared, which is a nice bonus.

Based on our updated look at Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2, the game is coming along fine and should have plenty to offer both fighting-game fans and diehard Dragon Ball Z fans. The game looks good, offers a reasonable amount of depth, and has plenty to unlock. Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2 is currently slated to ship this December for the PlayStation 2.

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