The latest EXTREME FIGHTER has arrived on the XBox 360 with Dragon
Ball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi which is an over the top fighter based on
this popular cartoon universe. Like the previous instalments, this
current Dragon Ball Z game allows players to engage with characters
such as Goku as they perform some outrageous martial art manoeuvres
that would not look out of place in a Hong Kong action movie or
particularly, an episode of Dragon Ball Z. From quick fights to
story modes, Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi has definitely been
aimed at the fan of these characters. Even so, if you have never
played the game... you might be scratching your head at some of the
outrageous combo but the gameplay isn't that bad for a non-fan.
15 hit combo!
mentioned, the gameplay includes a story mode with some fun Dragon
Ball Z inspired cutscenes and some very cool boss battles that are
almost on the same epicness of Final Fantasy or Shadow of Colossus.
These battles also include a quick-time event to finish them off and
needless to say, if you miss it, you basically need to start again
to get to that point. It's a classic game mechanism.
There is also a "hero" mode that allows you to create your own
Dragon Ball Z character and move through the ranks of this fighting
universe which once again is for the fan of this universe. With hero
mode, you basically need to fight and fight in order to unlock
additional moves for your characters. It's almost like an RPG at
times, especially at how the progression moves for your character. There are
also quick games and even online play. Online via XBox Live allows
you to fight real opponents and from my experience, some of these
online players are quite challenging but it does extend the
The story or "lack of" involves around a group of Dragon Ball Z
concept from the movies and the TV series which generally involve
the player go here and fight this. Although this as clichéd as they
come, lovers of this franchise will be pleased with the amount of
fan service available to them that has more Dragon Ball Z references
than you can poke a stick at.
mentioned, Ultimate Tenkaichi is a fighting game and opposed to
games such as Tekken or Street Fighter, this game has been made
easier given the intended target group. Although you can perform
some amazing moves and special combos, there is an element of button
mashing, however for those that master the control system, it does
improve what your character can do when engaged in a battle. There
are some cool special attacks added to the gameplay and when your
health is quite low, you can access your spirit energy which creates
quite a spectacular cinematic of your attack.
you use the 360 controller to navigate in this "3D" world, your
players have access to a wide gamut of attacks from super speed
attacks to some truly devastating special moves as you literally
kick the absolute Dragon Ball Z out of them. I love the fast attacks
that this game has as it makes the gameplay quite unique and fun,
albeit a little unrealistic to the amount of damage that you give
your opponent. To unleash your super attacks, you can basically need
to continue tapping the button. However where Ultimate Tenkaichi
differs from its predecessors is with the inclusion of a special
attack called clash which is kind of like a rock, paper or scissors.
In order to unleash an attack clash, you need to successfully land a
string of attacks on your opponent which pauses the action in the
game. From here, you are a given a choice of how the battle will
proceed but there is a small formula involved here. If you both
select the same option, your foe breaks your attack and performs a
counter manoeuvre and combat resumes as usual.
However if you both choose separate options, you win the attack and
you unleash a chain of deadly attacks. There is also an element of
flying involved in the game which does create some interesting
strategically attacks that also include ki blasts. But of course
with all these attacks, you do have access to some decent defence
mechanisms which will take a little time in mastering. All in all,
it's a way over the top fighting game that Dragon Ball Z is known
With graphics and audio, the game is almost a carbon copy of the
previous instalments that is oozing with Dragon Ball Z references
and some very cool anime inspired special effects. The developers
should be awarded on their accuracy of creating such a colourful
fighting game based on this cartoon universe.
Voice acting is over the top as are the sound effects and sometimes
annoying and repetitive action music. Thankfully there is an option
to turn some of this off. With gameplay, graphics and audio, Dragon
Ball Z isn't the most original game but for fans of this genre and
universe, it's definitely something to investigate.
At the end of the day, Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi is an
interesting addition to the franchise but when it comes to
originality, the game is a little lacking. The fighting mechanics
are fun but they do become repetitive, especially when fights are
taken to the skies. But it's good that the developers have tried
something different and this works with the fun boss battles but
sometimes this feels a little askew. None the less, if you're a fan
of the series, I'm sure these nuisances more than outweigh the
issues that we felt. One glimmer for non Dragon Ball Z fans is that
the game is still quite accessible in terms of playability but you
might have a little hard time getting your head around the story and
characters... like what or who is a Goku?