Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2

Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2

What’s It About? Dragon Ball Z: Budokai was one of 2002’s best-selling PS2 games—and not just because it’s DBZ, but because it’s authentically DBZ, from the story line to the tournaments and characters. A competent fighting system is simply icing on the cake.

You might think Budokai 2 is more of the same, but you’d be wrong. Developer Dimps has upped the ante. The first major change you’ll notice is the move to cel-shaded characters (or Toriyama shading, named after DBZ’s creator). This shift has made the character graphics far more faithful to the anime. Dimps also scrapped the Story mode and replaced it with Dragon mode, a sort of board game that incorporates fighting. Want more? How ’bout this? The team added some new characters (for 34 total), including the Babidi-spawned warrior Buu (in all three forms). It also added Fusion and Absorb abilities (just like in the show!). Budokai 2 is not so much a sequel as it is a completely new game.

Why’s It Cool? Sure, it’s cool because it’s DBZ, but there’s got to be more, right? Right. The cel-shaded characters are awesome, making it graphically more DBZ than ever. The fighting system seems more fluid now, with many more combos and skills, giving the game a depth the original didn’t have. Plus, you can transfer your saved characters from the original Budokai.

Should We Worry? While we lament the loss of Story mode (the best part of the original), the Dragon mode lets players quickly get into the action, and most of the other additions should make up for the missing mode.

Bottom Line Budokai 2 won’t replace Soul Calibur II in your fighting-game collection, but it’s hecka fun to play and retains true DBZ authenticity. Certainly, DBZ fans will need this game, but fighting fans ought to check it out, too.

Power Up

Buu Who?

Budokai 2 introduces Buu. For the uninitiated, Buu is the result of the evil wizard Bibidi’s wish to destroy worlds, and his son Babidi’s wish to destroy Earth. Like many DBZ baddies, Buu appears in more than one form:

Majin Buu

Buu’s basic form. His rubbery body gives him certain fighting advantages.

Super Buu

Buu’s advanced form, the result of Buu being absorbed by Evil Buu.

Kid Buu

Buu’s final form. He’s really evil and extraordinarily powerful.

Copyright © 2003 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Game Now.