DragonBall Z Ultimate Tenkaichi is the latest DragonBall game in the series due for release. The famed Japanese anime and manga series is back on next-gen consoles and brings a whole host of changes that will hope to satisfy the clamouring fanbase.
DragonBall Z Ultimate Tenkaichi brings large scale combat with huge boss battles and epic set-pieces and when you combine that with a deep roster that comprises some of the series best and loved characters, this really is a jam packed Dragon Ball Z game for the masses.
Much like the other games, Ultimate Tenkaichi’s story takes place in the DragonBall Z universe. The games story runs directly with that of the DBZ anime. You have different sagas that will have you fight ominous villains from the series such as Cell, Frezia, and Buu. The game also packs in more content with fights and scenes from DragonBall GT and some of the DragonBall movies, including battles with foes such as Janemba and Baby.
Progressing through these sagas remains relatively the same as other games, you fight key battles from each story arc with the last level of the saga comprising of the big boss battle. However this time around developer Spike has looked to immerse the gamer within the story on a much larger scale. Iconic boss battles such as Goku vs. Vegeta in Great Ape form is a tantalizing taster of the boss battles the game has in-store.
Combat in this title has been shaken up from previous games, although Ultimate Tenkaichi is still a 3D fighter at heart. Arenas comprise of large spacious areas that are a beauty to fight in and of course destroy, while the gameplay is designed to be very similar to that of the Budokai Tenkaichi series, allowing for faster combat whether it is short or long range. Primary gameplay comprises of using light and heavy attacks combined with special moves and ultimate finishers. Initiating basic combat engages a series of quick time events which lead into chain combos, when in these combos the player is tasked with choosing one of two buttons, get it right and the chain continues, get it wrong and your enemy reverses the attack and you lose a chunk of health. It’s a great system and if used correctly you can see some wonderful and amazing set-piece combos. New to the series is the “Impact Break” system, this involves large scale special moves combat and really shows off the large scale destructibility within the game.
Ultimate Tenkaichi has a wonderful visual swagger about it, developer Spike has done a great job in capturing the amine feel with the graphics of the game, with characters and costumes well rendered and environments standing out amongst the high quality graphics elsewhere. Arenas are flush with grass, boulders and fantastic scenery in the back-drop, however it’s when things start to blow up that the real beauty comes out. A clash of a Kamehameha and a Galek gun results in eye-pleasing visual destruction where rocks crumbles and mountains cave in, it really makes it feel as though you’re watching the anime itself. Visual scars, wounds and destroyed armour and clothes on the characters make the experience even more pleasing.
Interestingly the game favours a control scheme that will seem very familiar to players of past games. You power up your character using the down button on the d-pad, you ascend and descend using the left shoulder buttons. Character movement uses the classic left analog stick with the right analog stick controlling the ultimate and special attacks. The face buttons control your fists and ki attacks while the right should buttons make themselves useful for blocking. This controller set-up works well and once familiar with the game mechanics is very easy to use.
DragonBall Z Ultimate Tenkaichi offers a lot. It has wonderful anime style graphics and deeply immersive gameplay that has a lot to offer. Full scale destructibility and amazing set-piece moments make this a DragonBall Z game worth playing.
DragonBall Ultimate Tenkaichi is due for release October 29 on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. You can pre-order your copy here (PS3), here (360).