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Dragon Ball Z Budokai HD Collection Review

Rather sensibly after the rather poor Dragon Ball Z for Kinect there is another more traditional Dragon Ball fighter to get fans excited just in time for the Christmas releases and as the current trend dictates, rather than a new game we are going back to the PlayStation 2 generation with Dragon Ball Z Budokai HD Collection.

Another rather concerning recent trend is that with every HD reissue that comes packed under the 'collection' banner mostly tend to be a little thin on the ground when it comes to content. The Budokai fighting series for Dragon Ball Z ran for a good few years, spanning a few consoles and hosting 6 sequel games so rather disappointingly, considering the misleading title, what we have here is re-mastered editions of Dragonball Z Budokai and Dragonball Z Budokai 3.

To say these games feel a little out-dated would be an understatement, as even with new sparkly HD graphics they still have the same fighting engines behind the scenes. Both games are one or two player, one vs. one beat-em-ups set in the Dragon Ball Z universe. First off we have Dragon Ball Z Budokai, a cell shaded fighter that hosts a story mode, Duel mode and a World Match. The main story mode is set from the Saiyan Saga through to the Android Saga, kicking off on Earth with the initial arrival of the Vegeta, allowing you to fight classic characters and also watch plenty of cut scenes. The fighting itself is very basic and though implied as a 3D fighter it is more akin to a 2D fighter, but with no jump button. With a kick, punch, guard and Ki Blast you are able to create combinations to batter your foe. The action is quite fast but without a jump button it feels a little stale, with you generally just going straight for each other rather than using any skill. Aside from the over 20 characters on offer like Goku, Kid Gohan, Vegeta, Piccolo and Krillin you are also able to customise the fighters in the Skill Edit mode using Capsules to add abilities and support items that unlock during gameplay or by purchasing using your winnings from the World Match tournaments via Mr Popo's Skill Shop, letting you create the ultimate fighter to try out against the computer of a friend.

Budokai 3 ups the ante with a far better roster of fighters spread through the many different Dragon Ball Z shows and has extra characters like Gohan, Super Buu and Saibamen. Budokai 3 has similar modes to the first game, with versus, tournaments and a skill editing shop; the main difference between the two being the main campaign, the Dragon Universe mode, which yet again takes us through the same storyline as before but this time includes a lot more fights, with you flying around, searching islands and colleting capsules, entering tournaments and triggering story fights against the many foes of Dragon Ball Z. The campaign also has a light role playing element that allows for upgrading your character with experience earned during fights. These custom characters are then saved along with a character profile password which can be traded with friends, or no doubt considering the age of this game there being plenty of forums already out there with the perfect Saiyan builds.

The actual fights themselves have been improved greatly over the previous game, with a more energetic feel to the action more akin to the TV shows even though still hosting a simple punch, kick, guard and Ki power combo system there are also a few new moves to including a teleport counter and the brutal Hyper Mode, that when triggered causes your character to glow red and pull of even more powerful moves.

Presentation for both games is what is to be expected from a cel shaded game based on an anime; it looks great and is supported by the full Japanese voice cast so everyone sounds like they should. The difference in approach to the story modes differ widely, with Budokai missing out lot of fights but having pretty cool game engine cut scenes detailing the story whilst Budokai 3 will have a deeper set of fights but relies on brief picture cut scenes to deliver the story.

For the cost and what you get on disc this is a definite one or the fans of Dragon Ball Z that missed these games the first time around, however the main concern with this collection is that these games are very old and more importantly the story and general gameplay has been more recently released on both the Xbox 360 and PS3 in some form or other such as in the more recent Dragon Ball Z Burst Limit.

Words by Ash Buchanan.

(Version tested: PS3)


Overall a huge roster of fighters from the Dragon Ball Z universe
Enjoyable story modes


The action itself is a bit simple and dated
No online mode
The two games are just far too similar

Edited On 05 Nov, 2012

( 17 )
Dead's avatar
Dead 4 years ago
They should have put the Tenkaichi versions on there instead, they were OK from what I remember.
Robichoico's avatar
Robichoico 4 years ago
They missed a trick with this one I think. Not only is it 1 and 3 (what happened to 2?) but both of the games are kinda the same. 1 is the bare bones and 3 is the one with all of the chars etc in. If it were me I woulda done an 'Anime Heroes' and put out Dragon Ball Z Budokai 3, One Piece: Grand Adventure and either a Naruto or Bleach one. Makes me sad that stuff like this is being rushed out whereas the likes of Dragon Quest 8, Suikoden 3,4 & 5, Star Ocean 3 etc don't seem to be getting HD remakes.
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 4 years ago
Were is Budokai 2 from what i remember it was the best but that's besides the point no online mode means I will be better my playing my ps2 versions they don't look that bad with a component cable.
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 4 years ago
Oh I would love a Suikoden HD collection (Konami. Get on it right away or feel me wrath)
Robichoico's avatar
I very much doubt we'll ever get one unfortunately. While it's my 2nd favourite series. We didn't even get the new PSP game they done a few years back.
Robichoico 4 years ago
LFC Bywater's avatar
LFC Bywater 4 years ago
Why can't they just bring out another Raging blast? Raging blast 2 is probably my favourite ever DBZ game.
SuperSaiyan4's avatar
SuperSaiyan4 4 years ago
I really want to get this but im wondering if they will release an online version or why they cant just add online to it? :-/
Dead's avatar
This is why they should have done the Tenkaichi versions, number 3 had online play, on the Wii anyway.
Dead 4 years ago
Robichoico's avatar
because it's essentially a lick of paint on and old game and allowing them to get money out of an old game with minimal effort used
Robichoico 4 years ago
Anonymous user's avatar
Rachael 4 years ago
I'm usually a sucker for anything Dragonball Z but i'm afraid i'm going to have to give this one a miss.
Anonymous user's avatar
Josh 4 years ago
Nice Hd collection, shame that 2 got omitted though, doesn't really make sense...
Shnoorum's avatar
Shnoorum 4 years ago
I've completely lost track of DBZ games. I remember really liking some of them but looking online the names kind of cluster the series up. Had to do a good hours worth of research before buying Raging Blast 2 and that was only to find out the most recent DBZ games
emo185's avatar
emo185 4 years ago
Sorry for the rant, but thought this 'had' to be mentioned: i feel like the 'reviewer' was mis-informed / confused by the whole 'Budokai' branding..... Budokai only ever had 3 PS2 Games (excluding the 2x PSP Games) - these were developed by Dimps and had a 2D Tekken style of fighting.... The other Budokai games, entitled Budokai Tenkachi, is a whole different 'genre' of fighting game and was developed by Spike. Budokai Tenkachi featured 360 degree fighting (and to me) and were released onto the Wii & PS2 (Ultimate Tenkachi for 360 & PS3 is a sequel of the Budokai Tenkachi franchise) If i remember correctly Budokai is a chinese/japanese word for tournament, but Budokai sounds cooler than Tournament xD. Budokai 2 was not included for numerous reasons, but i think its most likely because Budokai 3 hosts everything (and more) that Budokai 2 had to offer so its like playing the same game (again) with slight improvements, plus many people were confused by its 2D Stratergy Turn based movement. It would probably be important to note that the DOWNSIDE to Budokai HD Collection is that it DOES NOT feature all of its original music. some of the background & anime cut-scene music has been removed & replaced with more 'newer' mixes, thus spoiling the experience for those who enjoyed it on the PS2.
Ash Buchanan's avatar
Appreciate the clarification. I have reviewed so many of these games over the years that they do all start to blend into one, especially when using the same story lines over and over again.
Ash Buchanan 4 years ago
Dead's avatar
And again, why I said it would have been better if they'd gone with the Tenklaichi versions.l
Dead 4 years ago
Anonymous user's avatar
Taz 4 years ago
Why give Budokai 1 when 3 was the best in the series!? Buying this, yo!
shiny miller's avatar
shiny miller 4 years ago
No online mode is just ridiculous - those of us who no longer live with siblings or housemates are buying a very trimmed down game. Imagine if they re-released a shooter with only split-screen deathmatches.

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