Game News Waiting for Budokai Tenkaichi 4, a look back at the best Dragon Ball game series
Published on 03/19/2023 at 10:45
During Dragon Ball Games Battle Hour 2023, Bandai Namco announced that a new episode of the Budokai Tenkaichi saga was in development. A news welcomed with joy by the fans of the universe of Akira Toriyama. But for younger players, this name may not evoke any memories. To repair this injustice, the editorial staff of JV offers you a retrospective on this legendary saga of the PS2.
After Budokai came the moment of TenkaichiWhy Budokai Tenkaichi is so appreciated?What legacy for Budokai Tenkaichi?
After Budokai came the moment of Tenkaichi
Being one of the most cultured and popular manga of all time, Dragon Ball has had many adaptations. Obviously in anime, but also in video games, and have always been. In the 80s and 90s, some titles have delighted fans of Akira Toriyama’s work such as the Butoden or Hyper Dimension series on Super Nintendo. But with the arrival of the PS2 in 2000, we were treated to a revival of these titles with the democracy of 3D in the video game world which spawned a new generation of Dragon Ball titles. This saga, you know it well since it is the Budokai. But after an episode every year between 2002 and 2004 which culminates with the very good Budokai 3, the question of the sequel arises for Bandai Namco.
After delivering an excellent trilogy, Dimps continues to develop new licensed games such as One Piece, Sonic and Saint Seiya. This is when Bandai Namco decides to entrust the Dragon Ball franchise to Spike, a studio that produces titles primarily for Japan and localizes Western car games for the Japanese archipelago. Before working on the license, they were best known for Way of the Samurai, a series of action-adventure games bordering on simulation in which you play a samurai, as its name suggests. At first glance, it is therefore not an ideal candidate to develop a fighting game based on Dragon Ball. And yet, Spike will give birth to one of the best adaptations in video games from an anime: Budokai Tenkaichiknown in Japan as Sparking.
Why is Budokai Tenkaichi so popular?
While the task was difficult to pass after a title as popular as Budokai 3, Spike’s teams rolled up their sleeves by first wondering what more he could bring in terms of Dragon Ball experience after what had Dimps. And this is where the biggest difference between the two series appears: freedom of movement. In its time, the Budokai were certainly 3D fighting games, but which actually took place in 2D. BT’s first good idea is to allow the player to move freely within large arenas and fly at full speed anywhere. In this way, the clashes are even more like those of the anime where the displacements occupy an important role and testify to the speed of the fighters. This feeling is also reflected in the fact that the decorations are destructible, which allows you to feel the full power of your character. But so that everything is not too chaotic, a radar is visible at the bottom right in order to always know where his opponent is.
To give even more the feeling of playing straight from the anime, Spike’s teams opted for cel-shaded graphics, that is to say a type of rendering with simple and colorful textures, which insists on the inked side to look like a cartoon. In the case of Budokai Tenkaichi, it is a real success that plays an important role in the popularity of the title. But it is especially by its gameplay that the experience shines. If it is not intuitive at first glance, it is actually very rich and offers many possibilities, something quite rare for a licensed game. Once all its subtleties are mastered, it becomes terribly satisfying and rewarding. This goes through different actions such as dismissing energy balls, placing combos after a first sequence, throwing and pursuing your opponent, countering, dodging… So many options that really give the feeling of having the tools to beat exactly in the anime. Eventually, where the Budokai and Budokai Tenkaichi come together the most is in their desire to offer the widest possible castby going to draw as well in the history of Dragon Ball Z as that of GT or in the various films and OAV.
After a first episode which lays a solid foundation for the series, Budokai Tenkaichi 2 and Budokai Tenkaichi 3 will refine the formula by adjusting certain aspects while still bringing more content. This is felt in particular through the camera which has been reworked to make the action more readable in the second opus, or even in the automatic locking system in the three which lightens the fighting. On the game mode side, the story mode of BT2 wanted to be as complete as possible, by offering to redo the slightest duel of each arc, while BT3 offered fewer confrontations but with a staging more faithful to the anime. And then, we were treated to variety with tournaments, or even the Dragon Sim which recalls the career modes of sports games. But of course, where Budokai Tenkaichi 3 shines the most is with its crazy cast that features 98 characters with 161 different forms, making it the largest roaster for a fighting game at the time. This is surely the most important point that gave the title its cult status today and explains its popularity among players.
What legacy for Budokai Tenkaichi?
Following this success on PS2 and Wii, Bandai Namco decides to decline the license on PSP with Tenkaichi Tag Team which brings the fights in two against two, but which is clearly not as good as the portable versions of Budokai, the Shin Budokai . With the arrival of HD consoles, things will get complicated for Dragon Ball in video games. For the first adaptation of the license on PS3 and Xbox 360, Bandai Namco calls on Dimps again to give birth to a new series: Burst Limit. If the title resembles Budokai 3 in its approach, it is not as successful as its elder and takes the curious decision to stop at the Cell arc, completely forgetting the last part of the manga, namely the Boo arc. . In parallel, the studio offers the PS2 its swan song with Infinite World which is frankly averagehaving received a score of 10/20 in our columns and a Metacritic score of 48/100.
On his side, Spike fares better with the Raging Blast duology which takes the Budokai Tenkaichi approach, namely fights with free movement in vast arenas. If these titles do not reach the excellence of the experiences of the PS2 era, they are still probably the best games of the PS3/Xbox 360 generation which has not been spoiled on the side of Dragon Ball. We think in particular of Battle of Z produced by Artdink (10/20) and especially Ultimate Tenkaichi which only has Tenkaichi in name, even though it is developed by Spike. With its combat system that relies much more on chance than on skill and gameplay almost exclusively in the form of QTE, it is by far one of the biggest disappointments of this period. Eventually, the one that comes out the best is the first Xenoverse launched in 2015 which takes the approach of Budokai Tenkaichi, but with the particularity of offering a story mode where you embody your own fully customizable character.
If Dragon Ball fans have been much more spoiled in recent years with titles like Xenoverse 2, Kakarot and especially FighterZ, the announcement of a new Budokai Tenkaichi remains a huge event as the first trilogy was successful. It’s so true that the modding community on the third episode is still very active, to the point of creating transformations seen in Dragon Ball Super, or even only in the manga like Vegeta Ultra Ego which has never been animated until then. But besides that, you can imagine that players are having fun imagining completely improbable new transformations like Super Saiyan 4 Ultra Instinct or Super Saiyan 5. And who knows, maybe you’ll find what you’re looking for there. to wait before launching this new Budokai Tenkaichi whose development has just started and which is therefore not ready to leave immediately.
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Dragon Ball: Why are Budokai Tenkaichi so popular with players?
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