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Luke
26 Nov, 2004

Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 Review

PS2 Review | We know you've been waiting for our verdict on this one, so here it is.
I’m not a die-hard Dragonball fan, nor am I a die-hard fighting game fan, but when I play a game I like I know it straight away, and thankfully for the legion of Dragonball Z fans out there, this is a game I like. Dragonball Z has appeared on the PS2, Gamecube and Gameboy Advance this generation and Dragonball Z: Budokai 3 is the best Dragonball game ever released, I can say this without hesitation.

Budokai 3 is believe it or not, the sequel to Dragonball Z: Budokai 1 & 2. Both of these games were good, but mainly only appealed to Dragonball fans and after a while the games became quite boring and not worth playing. So, when PALGN learnt that Budokai 3 was in development, we had our apprehensions. Sure, the game touted new characters, new environments and even a new single player game, but would that be enough for it to distinguish itself in a crowded field of fighters?

The Dragonball series has somewhat of a following, just like Pokemon and the same people buy Dragonball titled games all the time, Atari have really tried to break this mould and it looks like they will succeed with Budokai 3, It is really hard to explain, but Budokai 3 isn’t just a good Dragonball game, it is a good fighting game.

So what’s new to the game this time to make it stand apart from the other Dragonball games and other fighting games out there? This time the Dragon Universe has been included in the game. Entering the Dragon Universe will make the gamer become on of the characters from the Dragonball series. This is somewhat of a mini RPG game, gamers fight through battles as they fly over the world and winning a battle will gain the gamer experience points, which can be used to improve health and other aspects of the character.

There is also a quick play Dueling mode which just pits two players against each other and should really be renamed Arcade and a World Tournament mode which consists of three, four or five round battles against some of the best Dragonball fighters. Out of these three modes, the Dragon Universe really stands itself apart as the best mode in the game. There is also another mode in the game which is arguably the best one in the game called Dragon Arena, but we have covered the aspects of this mode down the page.

This is the level up screen, where gamers can increase their stats.

This is the level up screen, where gamers can increase their stats.
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The character roster has also been significantly upgraded, including characters from both the Dragonball Z and Dragonball GT series. From the outset, the characters available for selection in all modes include Goku, Kid Gohan, Krillin, Piccolo, Tien, Yamcha, Raditz and Nappa. However, there are also plenty of other characters which feature in the game which are unlocked at different points of the game. We don’t want to give it away, but there are some really great (and surprising inclusions) in the character list.

The game play in Budokai 3 is probably what has been upgraded the most. The game is fast, really fast, moves are executed really quickly and at times certain button combinations need to be pressed to defend a move or to initiate a move. This often feels sometimes like Budokai 3 is including mini games into the fighting which works surprisingly well, and isn’t as annoying as the idea might suggest. We were really surprised how diverse the move list is and some attacks require multiple steps to be successful. The controls allow your character to do basically anything ranging from grappling, teleporting, dodging and side stepping. Basically any move that has been done by a character in the Dragonball universe can be mimicked here.

As mentioned in our introduction, the biggest downfall of the previous two Budokai titles was the lifespan, their just wasn’t enough to keep the gamer entertained. Thankfully, this is no longer an issue. One of the best modes in the game is included as an unlockable for when gamers do well in the Dragon universe mode.

This unlockable mode is called Dragon Arena and allows the gamer to continue to level up their character in one-on-one battles against both computer generated characters and online fans. Yes, we didn’t make a typo there, Dragon Arena allows you to assign a password to your character, by giving the password out anyone can put this password into the game and battle your character. This isn’t quite an online mode but it is a great inclusion and one we were only aware of once we referred to the instruction manual in the game.

Dragon Universe, one of the best modes in the game, and certainly the most expansive.

Dragon Universe, one of the best modes in the game, and certainly the most expansive.
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Once again we don’t want to give away to many secrets in the game but the developer has ensured that there an abundance of things to discover in the game. Even those with a Budokai 2 save on their memory card will receive some unlockables when they turn on the game. These unlockables include extra difficulty levels, unlockable stages, characters and outfits. This game will last even the most hardcore Dragonball fan a long time, which is great news.

The graphics in Budokai 3 are cell-shaded. This helps make the game look very similar to its cartoon counterpart and gives the game a crisp look. The world in Dragon Universe is a little bland but the game manages to run at a very fast frame-rate and still look great at the same time, without any noticeable slowdown, which is good work on behalf of the developer.

The characters have all been voiced well and the sound is generic but annoyingly addictive, the sound doesn’t exactly stand out, but it doesn’t do anything terribly wrong either.

Budokai 3 is a good fighting game and a great Dragonball game that is an essential purchase for both fighting game enthusiasts and Dragonball fans, if you like both, then you are in for one hell of a treat. We are glad that Budokai 3 has received a proper update as we would have been very disappointed had this not happened. Dragonball Z: Budokai 3 is one of the must play games of 2004 and a must buy for fans of the previous incarnations.

If you would like to win a copy of this game, check out our Dragonball Z: Budokai 3 Competition!
The Score
Dragonball Z: Budokai 3 is a great fighting title and can be enjoyed by everyone, including those who aren't necessarily interested in the Dragonball franchise. 8
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 Content

Win one of three copies of Dragonball Z: Budokai 3
14 Dec, 2004 Only three days left to enter!
Dragonball Z: Budokai 3 Screenshots released
23 Oct, 2004 We have the latest shots showcasing some of the new modes.
Dragonball Z: Budokai 3 Interview
19 Oct, 2004 We talk to Atari PR director Chris Eade about the upcoming Dragonball Z: Budokai 3.
13 Comments
7 years ago
I have pre-ordered my copy and i was so exited until they me an E-mail teling me it would be released late.
7 years ago
Man, can't wait for this now...although how does it hold up against the Dead or Alive series as far as a beat 'em up goes? Is it more like Tekken or Virtua Fighter?
7 years ago
I would say it isn't really like Tekken or VF, It has it's own style, i loved how fast the game was and how diverse the move selection is. The attacks would be more like Tekken's though if i had to choose one.
BTW Fazza you should check around, because apparantly the game is in stores today. icon_smile.gif
7 years ago
good review
7 years ago
So, do they use the Japanese voices in this one, or do we still have to be exposed to the horrors of the American "actors"?
7 years ago
they use american voices which is a god send, if i had to put up with those pathetic asian voices like i did with budokai 1 i would kill myself, they are supposed to be the strongest fighters in the universe, not whiny little bitches with no sacks who are voiced by women.
7 years ago
Vegeta's "I sound like Conan the Barbarian had a child with some sort of large canine or possibly a lion! ROAR!" and the horrible pseudo-British accents of many of the bad guys are more than I can stand.

Kid Gohan's voice is kind of grating, too.

And don't get me started on the standard anime dubbing method of making all the female characters have voices high-pitched enough to shatter glass.
7 years ago
I prefer most of the American voices in DBZ > the Japanese ones.

However I did watch most of the episodes in English so that is probably why.

As usually it's Japanese voices > dubbed American voices.
7 years ago
Zombie wrote
Vegeta's "I sound like Conan the Barbarian had a child with some sort of large canine or possibly a lion! ROAR!" and the horrible pseudo-British accents of many of the bad guys are more than I can stand.

Kid Gohan's voice is kind of grating, too.

And don't get me started on the standard anime dubbing method of making all the female characters have voices high-pitched enough to shatter glass.
its better to have the women with the high voices instead of the men like they do in the jap version.
7 years ago
Vidgamer it's still not out in stores!!!! icon_evil.gif icon_evil.gif icon_evil.gif
7 years ago
Fazza wrote
Vidgamer it's still not out in stores!!!! icon_evil.gif icon_evil.gif icon_evil.gif
It's available on Game.net and Amazon.co.uk, it never hurts to look to see if you can find something on the internet if it's not available on the high street.
7 years ago
I did look on the internet and i ordered a copy but it has been delayed.
7 years ago
icon_biggrin.gif Never mind that last post because it has finally came! icon_biggrin.gif
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| More
  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  Out Now
European Release Date:
  Out Now
Publisher:
  Atari
Developer:
  Dimps
Players:
  1-2

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