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Dragonball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi Review

The Dragon Ball Z series has made some great games in the past. The Budokai series is is among the best of the DBZ fighting games. There was a lot of hope for Ultimate Tenkaichi and from the trailers it looks great, and the idea is spot on. However, the execution of this game is very much the downfall. One of the shining moments of the game (practically the only one) is that a few scenes from Dragonball were remastered for some of the earlier cutscenes. Other than that, Dragonball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi is a very big disappointment.

In story mode you play as the Z Warriors, so Goku, Vegeta, Piccolo, Krillin, Gohan etc. In a few fights you also play as the villains, so Buu, Cell, and Frieza. The story is the story of the anime, so essentially, who can hit the highest super saiyan level fastest. The execution of how the story is played out is very low quality and just thrown together.

You are said Z Warrior flying around a world map initiating fights that involve other DBZ characters. The fights range of standard one on one fights, so button pressing chase sequences. Bosses like Vegeta (Monkey Form), Cooler (Giant Form) and Janembo are more like quick time event sequences. With the lag from the wireless controller makes some of these rather difficult. You will find yourself getting frustrated with the unresponsive button presses. Other bosses involve straight up one on one fights and these are the easier ones. However, because these are the fights you do throughout the course of the game they become rather tedious. Here is why.

The direction of DBZ:UT is to make a DBZ fighting like the show. So the fighting system has been simplified to accommodate this idea. Performing combos is as easy as spamming the light attack button. You are then thrown into a cinematic sequence where you zoom around the screen beating the crap out of your opponent. There are four directions to beat up your opponent. Up, Down, Left and Right, these directions indicate what your final attack will be. But none of these sequences ever change. You will see the same combos and scenes every time you perform a combo or special attack. Oh did I mention the out of place coin flip aspect to see if you can even initiate a combo? When you are ready to launch your opponent into a combo there is a prompt if you wish to initiate the light or heavy attack combos. If your opponent choose light attack and you choose light attack your opponent with counter and you will have to try again. However, every character seems to have a method to their madness and predicting becomes easier. At the start of the game this becomes irritating and feels like the game should be called, “Dragonball Z: Ultimate Coin Flipping Attack”. You see these mechanics over and over again and you grow tired of seeing the same thing. This was a major cop out.

A part of DBZ is Ki energy. Charging your Ki in DBZ:UT doesn’t power you up. It gives you an option to counter a special attack as well as use your own. Here is the scenario. You have full kai energy so once Gohan launches Masenko you have a moment to make a move, Block, Deflect/Evade, or Intercept. Intercept is the best you can use as it deflects the incoming special attack and you can deal damage after you win the button sequence. Evade is the hardest to do. Remember when I mentioned that lag with the controller? Well that plays a part in the Deflect/Evade option. You must time button presses correctly to avoid all damage. Do it wrong and you take all damage. So you essentially waste most of your Ki on flipping a coin to see if you time your button press ahead of time. Block is essentially worthless as you take roughly 90% of the damage from the attack. However, that extra 10% could win you the match. Ki also allows you to transform into other forms and perform fusions. Of course only applicable fighters can transform, like the saiyans. This is mainly used in VS mode rather than story mode. Transforming is as easy as holding a trigger and pressing a face button. Unlike other DBZ games where you had to perform a button combo like in any other fighting game.

In UT there is a new mode, Hero Mode, this is a parallel universe where you make your own character to progress through the DBZ story. Because it offers nothing really new in terms of gameplay after completing story mode playing Hero Mode is tedious and annoying. Why? Because not only does your character start off incredibly weak you must level up his stats through fighting numerous enemies. Grinding feels more tedious in a fighting game than in a RPG. The customization is very shallow and you must find more items on the world map.

The gameplay is boring and tedious. Seeing the same animations over and over again is very annoying and is the biggest cop out of this game. I understand the attempt was to make it more like the show, but the previous titles like the Budokai series did that enough. I give Dragonball Z: Ultikmate Tenkaichi a 2/10 for having a nice idea but lacking the proper execution for having a quality fighting game.

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