Great game, but TOTALLY different from the Budokai games.

User Rating: 8 | Super Dragon Ball Z PS2
This is by no means a bad game. It has its ups and downs, but in the end it is just as good as the Budokai games, just in a different way.

Whereas with the other games, which were based more off of the anime series and films, this one is closer to the manga. This can be seen by the menu, which uses comic panels, as well as the art style of the fighters; they're still cel-shaded, but with thinner lines and less saturated colorings.

Speaking of the fighters, there's a strange lineup. There are all the usual characters, such as Goku, Vegeta, Frieza, etc., and Androids 16-18, but there are only 18 total characters once you've unlocked the entire roster. Even stranger is the inclusion of Chi-Chi (who can't really fly, so she uses the Flying Nimbus), as well as Majin Vegeta and Ultimate Gohan as separate characters. Playing as King Piccolo is nice, and the new Cyborg Frieza is pretty cool, but where are Tien, Yamcha, Goten, Cooler, and especially Broly? Even the light-rostered Infinite World has over 40 characters.

Moving on to the gameplay, it has the basic punch, kick, and block buttons, but the standalone energy button now lets you jump. That's right, you can now jump, and hitting the button in midair makes you hover. Unfortunately, you can only hit the other player if a) you are on the same level, or b) if you're really far away from each other. Also, in the biggest change, a new 90's-esque combo system is in place, often requiring combos such as half-circle, back, punch to do basic energy attacks. This is where it falls short: "rotating" the PS2's D-pad is far from easy of comfortable, and it's too hard to reliably double-tap the analog stick. If the fighting stick controllers work, use them only, as this was originally an arcade game.

Overall, if you're not the kind of person who can quickly adjust to different controls (I'm not), then borrow it first, or at the very least don't train up on the Budokai games for this one. Street Fighter fans will love it, though, and it's definitely worth checking out.