If you’re not already a fan of Dragon Ball Z or the Budokai games, then Budokai 3 won’t do much to change your mind. Featuring the same simplistic fighting action as Budokai 2, the game adds a new type of story mode, some flashy new moves, and not much else. But on the other end, it’s the closest any DBZ game has ever come to replicating the insane airborne fights from the show.
If you’ve never played a Budokai game before, don’t expect much depth. Attacking is as simple as mashing the Punch, Kick, or Fireball buttons, and pulling off supermoves is only slightly more complicated. Each character controls more or less identically, making for a short learning curve but effectively alienating Virtua Fighter fans.
But what Budokai 3 lacks in substance, it makes up for in style. The effortless controls let players focus on timing, which is key to fancy new moves like teleporting behind your opponent or countering a massive ki blast with one of your own. More impressive are the new “final” moves, which launch lengthy, multistage cut-scenes in which your opponent is spectacularly pummeled in midair before being hurled violently back to earth. But perhaps the biggest improvement is the new story mode, called Dragon Universe. Here, players fly around a 3D world, seeking out battles, unlocking new characters, and leveling up their fighters. Between fights, the story rapidly recaps the DBZ timeline. It’s over quickly, but since each character follows a different narrative and unlocks different stuff, it’s very replayable.
If you’re a DBZ fan, you’re probably already planning to buy this, and you won’t be disappointed. For the rest of us, Budokai 3 is fast-paced, shallow fun.
Rel: Available Now
GMR: Animayhem — 7/10
Better Than: Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2
Not As Good As: Def Jam Fight For NY
Wait For It: Tekken 5