GC '07: DBZ: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 Impressions

We see what's new with Dragon Ball Z on the PS2 and Wii at Leipzig.

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Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3
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Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3, a fighting game based on the popular manga and animated series of the same name, is currently in the works for the Wii and PlayStation 2. We got to check in on Namco Bandai's progress at the Leipzig Games Convention 2007. The first thing we noticed was the improved graphical fidelity. While Budokai Tenkaichi 2 was hardly a visual slouch, the sequel looks even better, with superior lighting effects on the big superpowers.

But this game hasn't just beefed up its graphical prowess; it will also include 160 playable characters, as well as 30 stages fans can use to experience their mightiest Dragon Ball fantasies. The Wii version seems to be the more exciting of the two, because players will be able to use the system's unique controller to throw special attacks not just with their thumbs, but with their entire arms.

For instance, we saw the presenter pull the Nunchuk all the way back, then push it forward to make his in-game character fire a devastating energy blast at his foe. This is certainly more intuitive than working with the analog sticks, and to make matters easier, prompts in the lower left corner of the screen will show you which gestures you can make to activate particular powers. That's helpful.

Once you master the controls, you'll be able to go online in the Wii version and challenge other members of the Budokai Tenkaichi community, possibly becoming the greatest Dragon Baller of all time. The Wii version is one of the first online Wii games, while the PS2 version will offer DFS (Disc Fusion System) instead. Here, you'll be able to insert previous Budokai Tenkaichi games and play them with Budokai Tenkaichi 3 characters. While it may not be as dynamic as playing online, it should be fun to play through the older games with the new characters.

However, new games need new modes, and this game will feature a What If...? Mode, with an alternate history for you to play through outside the normal series canon. While the developers didn't want to tell us what exactly might happen in this hypothetical Dragon Ball dimension, we're eager to find out more. Stay tuned, because this game should ship on November 13, 2007.

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