hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi

Review: Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi

2:00 PM on 11.16.2011 // Ian Bonds

Dragon Ball Z games are a dime a dozen. The TV series may have ended 15 years ago, but that hasn't stopped developers and publishers from trying to make the ultimate recreation of the show's experience in game form. The latest attempt even goes so far as to claim such right there in the title!

So what makes Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi so... well... ultimate? Is this truly a case of truth in advertising, or is it merely a wish made once all seven Dragon Balls are gathered? Read on, dear friends, and ready those "Over 9000!" comments.

Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])
Developer: Spike
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Released: October 25, 2011
MSRP: $59.99

First, let me say how ambitious Ultimate Tenkaichi is. Taking the huge storyline of the Dragon Ball Z series and condensing it for a game is no small task, especially when you weigh the fact that every DBZ game has repeated the same story ad nauseum. If I have to fight Raditz and Piccolo has to kill Goku at the beginning of every game, I'm going to shoot someone.

Thankfully, the story has been nicely condensed to keep things fresh for folks familiar with the source material while not alienating those who are viewing a DBZ product for the first time. Developer Spike has done a great job of emulating the look and style of the show without going overboard on re-hashing. The bright colors pop and the backgrounds all fit within the scope and storylines involved.

Recreating the epic battles the show is known for is an entirely different matter, and despite some issues, Spike has done admirably well in that respect too. Combat is heated, with characters charging Ki here and blasting energy there. There's even environmental damage based on attacks, though the environments only stay damaged for a brief, cinematic "aftermath" moment. Once the animation is finished, the area is clear of craters. It would have been nice if they stuck around and affected gameplay, but it's still a cool effect once the devastation occurs.

There are two standard attacks, quick and hard. After a series of quick attacks, you'll go into "Clash" mode, where you basically have a 50/50 shot at hitting the opposite button your opponent does in order to win the clash and beat down your foe with a series of flashy moves. The first few times you do this, it's exciting and visually stimulating, but after a while, it becomes what all DBZ games degrade to: repetition.

The main problem here is that all the characters perform essentially the same way. Sure, their special attacks (executed by tilting up or down on the right analog stick once "Spirit" energy has been gathered in battle) are unique to each character and look fantastic, but the standard combat looks and acts the same. As the game progresses, your character naturally evolves with the storyline, but since they all play the same, it doesn't make much difference, even despite the obvious power difference (cue "Over 9000!" now). In fact, while floating through the overhead map in story mode, I stumbled upon the in-game "World Tournament" and beat it with my base character without having advanced at all..

That isn't to say there's not a lot to do here. Far from it, as Ultimate Tenkaichi boasts the most robust gameplay modes in the series. For the first time ever, players can create their own Saiyan heroes and take them on an alternate-history version of the DBZ storyline, leveling and powering up their characters through training missions between battles. While the character creation isn't as deep as, say, those found in a WWE game, there's still a decent variety of edits to be made. Plus, it's kind of cool to power up your character for a brand-new beatdown.

The story modes (the main story and "Hero Mode") will last about a dozen hours each, but they do get a bit tiresome. The presentation switches between cutscenes with in-game graphics and clips from the anime itself. Sadly, all of this is consistently broken up by long, arduous loading screens -- if I ever see another damn capsule, it'll be too soon! There are also your standard versus and tournament modes, as well as online play, but I had some connection issues in trying to find matches.

Capturing the breadth of the Dragon Ball Z franchise is no small feat, and Ultimate Tenkaichi does an admirable job. While combat can be a bit on the repetitive side, there's still that hint of satisfaction when you decimate your foe with an canyon-creating power move. There's a lot here for fans to enjoy, and while the story may be streamlined for new fans of the franchise, I can't really recommend it to anyone but the hardcore.



THE VERDICT

7.5

Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi - Reviewed by Ian Bonds
Likable - That's a seven, which is actually a different number than five. It's more than ok. We like this game. I don't want to play it every day forever and ever, but it's definitely worth the time I invested in it, and I'll be picking it up again to relive the fun sometime down the line.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Ian Bonds, Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure Tips
Ian is Dtoid's resident review monkey. If there is a game no one else wants to review, it usually goes to Ian. As a reviewer, Ian has been writing for close to ten years for various sites, starti... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Steven Hansen avatarSteven Hansen
Idris Elba needs to be James Bond & heck to anyone who thinks otherwise
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
We need a Dtoid RPG that stars Mr Destructoid, Gardevoir, Macho Man Randy Savage, and MATT DAMON. The hub zone will be Nekro's dungeon.
Cynic without a Cause avatarCynic without a Cause
In the middle of discovering a bunch of Hirasawa Susumu's non-film related work. Currently listening to Planet Roll Call. Fantastic album!
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
*Looks at Battle.net* League of Storm Heroes. Magic: The Hearthstone. Diablo. Starcraft. World of Warcraft. Oh, pay $10 to unlock Tychus. ...Guys, is Blizzard evil? I mean really, despicably, EA-level evil?
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Do you enjoy MOBA games such as LoL, Dota 2, or HOTS? Why or why not? Leave your thoughts in the comments!
James Internet Ego avatarJames Internet Ego
The Witcher 3 is 30% off on GOG.com, if you thought it was a bit expensive at launch. You get store credit too.
Flegma avatarFlegma
Realized I've turned on my PS3 in the past month or two only to watch Mario cartoon DVDs. I really need to get around to playing something - anything - on it.
Perro avatarPerro
Listening to Studio Ghibli Collection at work https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_WbO_LPXDo Reminds me that my dad really liked Howl's Moving Castle. He's retired military and serious most of the time but rather enjoyed its fanciful world.
Terry 309 avatarTerry 309
Sorry for my inactivity... I've been lacking motivation and have nothing on my mind right now so i haven't blogged in a while. Still playing Grandia 2 anniversarry, getting annoyed by mount and blade warband's phantasy calradia mod and other shit...
CaseyCor avatarCaseyCor
Donkey Kong Land 3 Any% Speedruns, right now! [url]http://www.twitch.tv/caseycor[/url]
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
Remember Black? That PS2 era shooter from Criterion? It has a REALLY good orchestral soundtrack. I'm gonna throw that in my MGSV iDroid. Why not.
CaseyCor avatarCaseyCor
Can't sleep cast: Donkey Kong Land Any% [url]http://www.twitch.tv/caseycor[/url]
ooktar avatarooktar
Defeated a sniper in MGS V by dropping supplies on his head. 10/10.
Nat Monney avatarNat Monney
I'm with 3 other guys and we're about to release a mobile game we started almost 3 years ago. What should we do ? [youtube]https://youtu.be/5EGPUBZCGwo[/youtube]
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
Guys I'm on a train what should I do?
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Traded in a bunch of old Star Trek novels and other books at a used bookstore. Made $10 and got Tori Amos' "Strange Little Girls" album along with it. They made me take the William Shatner novels back. Smart clerks.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Can this be Toy Story 4? [youtube]https://youtu.be/XJkZX0rKElY[/youtube]
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Also I will be reviewing freedom wars. I didnt make it to the end. I will not be kind to it. There will be blood.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Yeah....been there before.
techsupport avatartechsupport
MGS V review: When using a character other than Big Boss for missions, the intro credits still say, "starring Punished 'Venom' Snake." Sloppy work, Kojima - no wonder Konami dumped you. 0/10.
more quickposts


Contest!


destructoid's previous coverage:
Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!



Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -