E3 06: Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi 2 Preshow Hands-On

The sequel to last year's Tenkaichi will have 100 playable characters as well as story and tournament modes.

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The original Dragon Ball Z Tenkaichi saw tremendous commercial success, selling more than a million units in Europe and North America. Following up on that is, of course, a sequel, Tenkaichi 2 for the PlayStation 2. As a fighting game, Tenkaichi 2 aims squarely for a mainstream audience with its focus on presentation. As you jump, punch, shoot, and slam your enemies, there will be frequent pauses for you to admire the special graphics effects. This style of presentation gives the game a more epic look and feel, similar to the style that's made the anime series so popular worldwide. Environmental damage and the ability to transform your fighter into a larger version are features that will also accentuate the visuals and gameplay.

Tenkaichi 2 will feature an exhaustive list of 100 playable characters. You'll be able to choose your favorites like Goku, Vegeta, and Buu, as well as more obscure characters as you make your way through the extensive story mode. The plot will span much of the franchise's lore, from Saiyan Saga all the way to the end of the Dragon Ball Z GT movies.

We had a chance to get hands-on with the PS2 version of the game at a pre-E3 press event, and we tried out the head-to-head mode. Unlike many fighting games that simply show both players on the same screen, Tenkaichi 2 offers a unique split-screen mode, with the screen split vertically down the middle. While this seemed to limit our lateral vision, the player character was still in full view. Also, this view allowed for more vision above and below. Being able to see higher or lower is important because of the ability of all the characters to jump high into the air. We were able to play on a desolate canyons/badlands map, one of the 16 different battlefields that will be offered in the game. This particular map didn't show off any of the interactive environment, but it was definitely large and wide open, with a few mesas that you could use to maneuver around and hide behind to foil ranged attacks. We noticed that the characters we played as had a good number of combos and special attacks. But since the characters have relatively large life bars, the fights in Tenkaichi 2 seemed to take longer than in a typical fighting game.

Aside from head-to-head and story modes, there will also be a tournament mode in the game. Dragon Ball Z Tenkaichi 2 is slated to ship in October or November of this year for both the Nintendo Wii and the PS2. Stay tuned to GameSpot for more details on the game as they become available.

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