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Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi

Bandai and Atari have consistently shown that they're dedicated to making their annual line of Dragon Ball Z games better than the titles that have come before them. Year after year, the team has carefully listened to fans and critics alike and addressed concerns and complaints to make a much more playable product. This year continues that trend with Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi, the fourth straight fighter to follow Goku and friends in their search for the mythical Dragon Balls.

Of course, one of the reasons that the game is better this year compared to last is because the production team has been switched out to keep things fresh. No longer developed by Dimps, the latest DBZ foray is handled by the action and grappling experts at Spike (Crimson Tears, King of Colosseum, and Fire Pro Wrestling). This means that while there are definite similarities in the mechanics and design, this Budokai is noticeably different than the ones we've had before.

Cell rocks.

Best described as a mix of Virtual On and Budokai 2, Tenkaichi has lost a lot of Budokai 3's flashier special techniques like the Dragon Rush and Hyper Mode, but retained the much more important Teleport counter to avoid your opponent's power strikes. The kick command has been removed from the control scheme too, and your assault types are now modified by the other buttons in conjunction with the generic attack button. Since "Kick" was taken off the control map, it has been replaced with a "Dash" command that plays a much more significant role in the gameplay than in past iterations.

The reason that the Dash is so important this time is because of how one-on-one fights are structured. The traditional side-plane fighting game view with occasional alternate camera angles has been axed in favor of a fixed view that looks similar to Katamari Damacy or Armored Core. The big difference compared to those two, though, is that the camera can't be adjusted by the user and rotates on its own dependant on the action. Because of this factor (in conjunction with the larger size of each free-roaming stage) the dash button becomes a terrific offensive and defensive tool. Offensively, rushing forward not only allows you to get closer to your opponent, but it also lets you perform Dragon Dash special attacks which take off more damage. On the defensive side, the dash command makes escaping from your foe and hiding behind obstacles much easier to do (be careful, though -- just about anything in the environment can be destroyed).

You can even fight underwater in some spots.

This setup alone changes the feel of head-to-head battles compared to the last games pretty noticeably... especially since players can actually fly and descend on their own without the need to be launched (finally!). That flying technique is particularly useful when competing in tournament mode with "Ring Outs" turned on since one technique you can use to avoid the cheese tactic is to sail up into the air. Despite this new perspective and true ability to fly, however, fans that liked the multitude of attacks found in the last version may be a bit disappointed in this more simplistic setup. Even so, I have to admit that the action plays out a lot more faithfully to the anime under the current schematic.
Hmmm i might have to get this one. As soon as i get the cash... As soon as i get off my but and get a job. Crying or Very sad
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