- A new Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi game is announced to be in development, and the surprising news has the fans overjoyed.
- With a history of over 35 years, the game adaptations of the beloved anime franchise have gone through many forms and changes.
- The Budokai Tenkaichi series’ intricate gameplay, over-the-top super attacks, and a huge roster of characters made it beloved by long-time fans.
- The past games have set very high expectations for this sequel, and a fun experience that captures the essence of the anime is what we’re looking forward to.
After the last entry about 16 years ago, The fan-favorite Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi series finally has an official continuation with the announcement of the next title. While watching the DRAGON BALL Games Battle Hour 2023, surely no one was expecting this sudden reveal that hit us out of the blue. However, considering the popularity of past Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi games, it was a delightful surprise for many.
— ドラゴンボールゲームスバトルアワー2023公式 (@db_eventpj_jp) March 5, 2023
The announcement might be sudden and unexpected, but a sequel to this series was in high demand for quite some time after the release of Budokai Tenkaichi 3. With their wishes finally being granted, fans now have high hopes for this continuation, as they look forward to seeing the high fanservice game series make its triumphant return.
DRAGONBALL Z BUDOKAI TENKAICHI 4 IS COMING OMG pic.twitter.com/HYskVlG4KU
— ksi (@KSI) March 6, 2023
The Wide Variety Of Dragon Ball Games
At this point, the popularity of Dragon Ball is to no one’s surprise, considering the series continues to remain one of the most popular and widely consumed media franchises around the world. It played a considerable role in popularizing anime in general and also served as an influence for a number of shonen anime that came out subsequently.
And with widespread recognition and demand, the series was bound to be adapted into video games. With the first game adaptation in 1986, the series has continued to be adapted into games of a variety of genres for more than 35 years now. Earlier games of Dragon Ball were mostly era-appropriate top-down action RPGs or 2D fighters.
Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout released in 1997 ended up being the first 3D game, as it employed 3D environments and designs in an otherwise fighting game with some degree of exploration. The game met with a generally negative reception since this change was not executed well. Other than the visuals, most of the aspects like janky controls made the gameplay a chore. This reception also ceased Dragon Ball game releases for a few years.
In 2002, Bandai returned to a traditional 2D fighting game base and focused to improve upon it with the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai series by developer Dimps. The first game provided story coverage only up to the Cell Saga, whereas 2 and 3 had a story mode that covered the memorable events from the entire Dragon Ball Z story in the game’s creative style.
Both Games had a unique approach to the story mode and provided other modes like tournaments and battle training. The new direction of the series was immediately appreciated, and Budokai 3 received high praise from fans as it improved upon both the gameplay and the visuals and was considered one of the best fighting games of its era.
Next came the Budokai Tenkaichi series developed by Spike, which switched to a third-person 3D arena fighter core. The games were phenomenal for their time as they provided complex and genuinely fun gameplay, stunning visuals, an immense roster, and fully destructible environments to unleash the chaos as expected of a Dragon Ball title.
The next few releases started a low time for Dragon Ball games. Budokai Tenkaichi 3 set a high bar and the subsequent games didn’t quite reach that. Raging Blast 1 and 2 were considered toned-down Budokai Tenkaichi games with a severe lack of solid defenses. Despite having impressive visuals, Ultimate Tenkaichi was just a bad idea to apply a rock-paper-scissors-like concept to a dragon ball game.
Dimps returned to develop Dragon Ball Xenoverse 1 and 2, which took a more RPG approach to the third-person fighting game concept. Xenoverse received a lot of content down the road, and also brought a unique and fascinating concept of creating a custom character to relive the iconic story of Dragon Ball Z and beyond with your character in a somewhat what-if scenario.
The series once again returned to a true 2D fighting game and Arc System Works executed the concept with perfection in Dragon Ball FighterZ. Boasting impressive visuals, intense duels, and intricate gameplay that is both simple and filled with strategy, FighterZ ended up being one of the best fighting games, and a true Dragon Ball experience.
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot opted to provide a rich RPG experience by delivering a faithful retelling of Goku’s adventures in a semi-open world. Other than the oversimplified gameplay mechanics and some tedious tasks, the game was a treat for long-time fans of the series with its intriguing easter eggs and details hidden around in side quests.
Throughout history, Dragon Ball games have continued to change with sometimes the new approach appreciated and sometimes criticized. It remains to be seen what sort of approach the new Budokai Tenkaichi game will adopt.
The Appeal Of Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi Games
When speaking of the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi series, the glorious era of PlayStation 2 with its many astonishing games quickly comes to mind. And even among the vast competition, Budokai Tenkaichi 3 continues to stand out as one of the best Dragon Ball games. Despite the presence of a variety of Dragon Ball games, the Budokai Tenkaichi will be the direct comparison when discussing the new unnamed Budokai Tenkaichi game.
With the release of Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi, the series stepped into the 3D arena fighter domain for the first time. After the beloved Budokai 3, doubts surfaced about the shift of the games to a different concept, but the release of Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi and subsequent games ended up rectifying the concerns as the games managed to excel in their respective approach.
The games featured multiple modes like a story mode, a simulation mode with random battles of varying difficulty, VS battles, tournaments, and training sessions to improve your skills. Budokai Tenkaichi 2 had one of the best story mode implementations as it provided a somewhat simplified open world before initiating the story point and had an in-depth adaptation of all the relevant content.
Not just limited to Dragon Ball Z, both Budokai Tenkaichi 2 and 3 covered story sections from Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball GT, the storyline of the Dragon Ball Z movies, and some intriguing what-if scenarios as well. Budokai Tenkaichi 3 featured a mid-battle cutscene prompt that brought more depth and immersion to the story adaptation.
In addition to a charming story mode, the games had excellent gameplay mechanics. The combat could be as simple as mashing square and triangle, and then had versatile dodges, last-minute evasions, and super powerful counters that could turn the tables but required precise timings and reflexes. Moreover, we had super attacks which are as flashy as they are just straight-up fun to execute and extremely satisfying when they land.
Besides having impressive visuals and versatile combat, the games featured one of the largest rosters of any Dragon Ball game. Ranging from highly obscure to the most well-known fighters, players had a plethora of iconic characters to choose from and create their dream teams, which further fueled the urge of experimenting with every one of them.
Another factor that has made Budokai Tenkaichi 3 consistently appealing is the extensive modding. Though not exactly a game’s built-in feature, modding has allowed the game to incorporate new characters like Super Saiyan God forms of Goku and Vegeta from Dragon Ball Super, and some straight-up fascinating and funny character fusions.
With Budokai 3 as the pure fighting game and Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 3 with the most exciting fanservice, both are considered timeless classics by many Dragon Ball fans including myself, as I still boot up my PS2 from time to time in order to relive the thrilling experience these games provided. We expect great things from this continuation as the hype for this game continues to soar among the fanbase.
A Creative And Fun Experience Desired
Personally speaking, the fact that the Budokai Tenkaichi series is receiving a continuation is reason enough to be hyped due to the overwhelming nostalgia alone, and it’s the same for many fans. However, we need a properly thought-out game to overcome the standard of Budokai Tenkaichi 3.
From what we know so far, the game appears to have stunning visuals as Goku’s transformation to Super Saiyan Blue was showcased in the short reveal teaser, employing a similar design to the Dragon Ball Super Broly movie. In addition to the visuals, it will be a treat if the game improves upon Budokai Tenkaichi 3’s satisfyingly destructive gameplay.
Modern hardware possesses the capabilities to make the many combat transitions like high-speed dodges, air juggles, and counters much more seamless and fluid if properly handled. A refinement of the base mechanics without completely straying away from the Budokai Tenkaichi formula will be a perfect fit.
Dragon Ball FighterZ ended up providing a phenomenal fighting experience and was a precise interpretation of this series’ true roots. It will be highly difficult to top the high bar set by FighterZ. Therefore, I believe the shift to the Budokai Tenkaichi formula can benefit the new game. A competition with FighterZ in the same genre will be difficult, so the game can excel in a different approach.
In addition to the visuals and gameplay, the game should take note of the huge roster of characters and versatile game modes that made Budokai Tenkaichi 3 beloved. I know it’s difficult to provide a roster of that scale with today’s production costs and the developers will opt to produce those as DLCs instead, a good variety in the base game would be appropriate.
In the end, fans are happy just because Budokai Tenkaichi is receiving a sequel. If they manage to capture the essence of Dragon Ball Z’s epic transformations, thrilling clashes, and just an over-the-top destructive and enjoyable experience filled with overwhelming nostalgia, the game can be a beloved experience for many gamers. The unnamed Budokai Tenkaichi sequel’s platforms and release date are not yet known.
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