Michael Thompson On November 28, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Dragon Ball Z Ultimate Tenkaichi ScreenshotDragon Ball is one of the most popular anime and manga series of all time and it has spawned numerous action figures, books, movies, and yes video games. While Japan has seen tons of Dragon Ball games it wasn’t until the PS2 system came out that North America began to see them, specifically the popular Budokai and Budokai Tenkaichi fighting game series based on the anime, and even though now Dragon Ball games can be found on a variety of systems, it is the Budokai games that are definitely the most known, so how does the latest entry into the Dragon Ball gaming universe fair? Read on and find out in this Dragon Ball Z Ultimate Tenkaichi PlayStation 3 review.

When the game starts up you get a beautiful opening cut scene that is very reminiscent of the Dragon Ball Final Bout (yeah remember that game?) opening cut scene, another plus to this is you get to hear “Cha La Head Cha La” the original Japanese opening to Dragon Ball Z. Once the cut scene finishes, you press start and are at the opening menu. The menu is very similar to that seen in the other Tenkaichi games, but there are some new game modes present.

The game does have plenty of modes available: Story Mode, Training Mode, Capsule House, Online Battle, Customize, World Tournament Mode, Battle Mode, and Hero Mode.

The story mode is the standard for a DBZ game you play through the story of the anime, only this time they use text in place of custscenes in many of the spots, which is disappointing considering the games beautiful cutscenes. Similarly World Tournament mode is pretty straight forward, you pick a character and fight in an elimination style tournament to win, though I don’t think this works well with the new control scheme because it seems like they’ve gotten rid of Ring outs, which makes a World Tournament fight pretty much the same as a regular fight. Training mode is what it says it is, you pick a fighter and practice moves pretty much, Capsule House is like a “Theatre” mode where you go to view cutscenes or listen to the games background music. These modes are pretty standard for Dragon Ball games, and not much has changed.

Customize mode is the newest addition to a DBZ game in it you can change what skills are equipped to what characters, change each characters background music during a “Strike Boost” in battle, and change the background music during battle.

Hero Mode is probably the most anticipated modes of the game because it finally allows people to create their own character and play through an alternate version of the Dragon Ball story. My big gripe with this mode is that customization here is limited, and while I sort of understand it for reasons of making it fit into the story, I really would’ve liked to be able to make a Namekian but you essentially make a Saiyan, and can modify his hair color/style, and outfit color and style, though the options are limited. Overall I would say if they improve the create-a-fighter mode, it could be really fun, I know back in the day when I used to be in Dragon Ball role playing groups I would’ve killed for a game mode like that!

Behind Hero Mode, the other anticipated and popular game mode is the Online Battle aspect of the game. Players have the option of doing a regular non ranked online battle, a ranked online battle, or a world tournament. Online play as with most other fighting games is dependent upon connection speed, in the battles that I played most people abused the combo system, and if you managed to get behind an opponent it was over. From a connection standpoint (and I am speaking only for the PS3 here as I haven’t play the 360 version of the game) I had quite a few dropped battles during the first few days I played, but the last couple of times I didn’t experience any problems.

The Graphics in the game as I’ve mentioned throughout the review, are gorgeous in both gameplay and cutscenes. Every character is detailed, and I love how damage shows in battle (now if they can just get landscape damage to stay on the screen we’ll be in an almost perfect Dragon Ball world visually). There is nothing really bad I can say about the graphics at all, if there is one positive to take away from the game and import into the next incarnation it is the visuals.

Audio wise the game is solid, the voice acting is odd at times because they had to use some new Voice Actors it seems, and they changed some dialogue from what it was originally (they even brought back a variation of “Next Dimension” by having Nappa mention “Sending you to the Other World” which was quite comical. Still some popular lines “ITS OVER 9,000!!” remain intact. The soundtrack is nothing to write home about, but nothing to complain about either its pretty standard affair for a fighting game, but all the music does fit the parts of the game that it is included in.


The gameplay is definitely the games weak point, which is unfortunate being that it is a fighting game. My biggest gripe is that it feels like you have 3 buttons when fighting: square, triangle, and the right stick. Why they didn’t just keep and tweak the Budokai or Budokai Tenkaichi control scheme I’ll never know. The one plus to the gameplay is that it does at times feel like you are actually playing a fight from the show, the downside to this is it ends up getting really repetitive.


This is the games strongest point, the cut scenes are beautiful, so much so that the guys who rendered this stuff should go apply for jobs as animators, and make a new sequel series in order to wipe Dragon Ball GT from our minds. Everything is crisp, accurate, and very detailed.


The sound in the game is solid, I really enjoyed hearing “Cha La Head Cha La” again, and the audio quality is great. The background music during fights and between fights in story mode is pretty good, mostly original stuff created for the game but they fit the game and its pacing really well.


The game is average, it has a smaller roster then most of the recent Dragon Ball fighting games, and the gameplay is very limited however it is the first outing with this new battle system so I look forward to seeing what they can do by improving upon it. With that said, the graphics are beautiful and the music and sound effects are solid. Overall I’d say its an average game definitely not the best, but I’ve seen a lot worse too.

Click here to buy Dragon Ball Z Ultimate Tenkaichi for the PlayStation 3 online from EBgames.com

Click here to buy Dragon Ball Z Utlimate Tenkaichi for the PlayStation 3 New or Used for a great price from EBgames.com


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