Dragon Ball: Sparking Zero Truly Sinks It In That Budokai Tenkaichi Is Finally Back

Blast Stocks, Counters, Destruction, Clashes, everything returns with a new, fluid look.

Story Highlights

  • Dragon Ball: Sparking Zero gameplay shows the Budokai Tenkaichi series is well and truly back.
  • From rush combos, vanishes, and counters to blast stocks, destruction, and clashes, everything’s here.
  • Above all, the soul of Budokai Tenkaichi 3 has never looked so crisp and fluid before, it’s splendid.

Dragon Ball’s importance to the entertainment industry cannot be understated. It not only revolutionized modern Shonen manga and anime but also inspired many subsequent pieces of media, both Japanese and foreign, and received a ton of games as well. It’s really unfortunate that Akira Toriyama, the genius we owe it all to, is no longer with us.

Spawning decades of titles with versatile genres, there’s one particular game that still stands out: Budokai Tenkaichi 3. And now, we finally have a continuation of it after 10 long years of wait, and I for one can’t wait to dive into this new adventure of Dragon Ball: Sparking Zero. We’ve recently received an in-depth combat showcase of the game, so let’s get to it.

YouTube video

The Core BT3 Combat Mechanics Are Back In Dragon Ball: Sparking Zero

I don’t know about you, but I was genuinely blown away by just how good this showcase looked. It had a lot of interesting features I noticed, each giving me a ton of nostalgia and a stark reminder of how Budokai Tenkaichi is truly back.

As soon as the combat encounter between age-old rivals Goku and Vegeta begins, you immediately see the return of the basic combo loop, the rush attacks to heavy transitions. Plus, you’ll notice that the vanish counters and the perfect guard counter are back, looking better than ever.

Me after seeing that new CRISP gameplay.
byu/greentea422 inSparkingZero

The max power mode from Budokai Tenkaichi returns, alongside the infinite rush combo. In the trailer, you could see that when Vegeta goes max power, he executes a continuous, unchanging rush combo, which is how it worked in the predecessor, and that’s great.

The most interesting feature has to be the real-time destruction of environments, as well as the damage to the character. One of the most iconic things from BT3 was that when you get hit by an ultimate or a particularly powerful attack, your character gets injured and his clothes are torn alongside visible wounds, which gives a sense of immersion.

Character and environmental destruction are back on the table
Character and environmental destruction are back on the table

Also, I don’t know if you noticed it or not, but when Goku was hit with Vegeta’s Final Flash, he momentarily lost lock-on, another returning feature from BT3, and I love it.

Blast Stocks Are Here With A New Look

Next, let’s move to another iconic feature from the Budokai Tenkaichi series, the Blast Stock. What is that, you ask? Every character has a particular number under their portrait, which signified the Blast Stock. This charged slowly throughout the battle, speeding up when you take damage or perform defensive actions.

This Blast Stock had two purposes in BT3. One was to execute the two super moves that consumed Blast Stock. These were always auxiliary moves rather than damage skills that either buffed your character up, immediately recharged ki, or were a free evade, stuff like that. The second use was to transform.

Blast Stocks are still being used for transformations, among other stuff
Blast Stocks are still being used for transformations, among other stuff

This Blast Stock is making a return in Dragon Ball: Sparking Zero, with a new look and an expanded range of functions. The existence of the Blast Stock-specific special skills is still unknown, but transformations are still applicable, alongside new functions. 

It can be used to execute an emergency counter even if you’re under attack. Series veterans will know that you could do it in BT3 as well, but it consumed a big chunk of your HP rather than a Blast Stock. Moreover, since Sparking Zero features a Raging Blast-style ki-super deflection, it is also tied to the Blast Stock, which I believe is a logical move, to avoid over usage of it.

byu/Neckties-Over-Bows from discussion

Finally, My Analog Sticks Will Breathe Easy

Okay, now this was a superb thing I was genuinely happy to see. In the Budokai Tenkaichi series, two beam-based supers if used at the same time would clash, creating a minigame where you had to rotate your analog stick like a madman to win and deal heavy damage to your opponent.

Notice a slight problem here? Yeah, the madman thing. You had to rotate your analog stick like crazy, to the point that it would be close to breaking more often than not. Being a kid, I was especially violent with it, which I now regret.

Beam Clashes? More like breaking your controllers
Beam Clashes? More like breaking your controllers

As such, I was worried the same thing was gonna happen with my PS5 controller this time around. Admit it, you can’t control the adrenaline rush in a situation like this, it is inevitable. But to my immense surprise, Dragon Ball: Sparking Zero includes a button press minigame with what seems like timed presses rather than spamming to complete the clash.


The Character Roster Is To Die For

Budokai Tenkaichi 3 had a lot going for it, but one of the most important features that made it so beloved was the unbelievably huge character roster. From original Dragon Ball to Z to GT to movie-specific characters, each with multiple variants, it had everything.

But those were simpler times when we got complete games full of quality all in one package. Now, stuff like DLCs and microtransactions have become so common that it was a genuine concern of mine that Sparking Zero might not have that big of a roster. However, it seems my worries were ill-founded.

Dragon Ball: Sparking Zero has an equally massive, if not greater character roster waiting for you to explore. With multiple variants and unknown slots, we can only wonder just what else is there. The current trailer introduced some more iconic characters Nappa, Jeice, and Burter from Z, and Toppo, Kefla, Hit, etc. from Super.

There’s plenty yet to be revealed, and I just hope the game doesn’t skip the GT characters, they’re a must-have.

I assume, sadly, that all of GT and Super Hero won’t be base game and will be first season of DLC
byu/Nizoki inSparkingZero

Dragon Ball: Sparking Zero Is Nothing If Not Crisp And Fluid

All in all, Sparking Zero is shaping up to be a dream come true for me, being a hardcore Budokai Tenkaichi 3 fan. It’s much more than the BT4 I had made up in mind. It retains everything that made the original so much fun, and then on top of that, it’s giving Budokai Tenkaichi a modern, fluid makeover.

Sparking Zero's fluid animations are a dream come true
Sparking Zero’s fluid animations are a dream come true
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Hanzala is a dedicated writer who expresses his views as opinion pieces at eXputer. He's always been fascinated by gaming and has been an avid consumer of many different genres for over a decade. His passion for games has him eager to encounter the latest RPGs and actively look for new Soulslike to challenge. He puts forth his experience and knowledge of gaming into captivating opinion pieces.

Experience: 8+ months || Education: Bachelors in Chemistry.

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