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

Mediamister avatarMediamister
Steven Hansen avatarSteven Hansen
DTOID PAX MEET UP DAY 1 WAS FIRE.EMOJI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Shinta avatarShinta
[youtube]https://youtu.be/JOXdORyTqVY[/youtube] I told you guys ... The Witcher 3 has more pirouettes than a ballet show. It's ridiculous!
Nathan D avatarNathan D
Are we really calling followers "fappers" on these quick posts? I knew I loved Dtoid.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
[youtube]https://youtu.be/z04MAOubUgM[/youtube] This might've been a fun show.
Cosmonstropolis avatarCosmonstropolis
Someone is trying to log into my Dtoid account. I keep getting emails notifying me of bad password attempts. What?
gajknight avatargajknight
If you spend 10 minutes trying to write a Quickpost...can it really be called Quickpost?
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
So I have enough coins to get a new character in Heroes of the Storm. I like big portly characters like the Butcher or Stitches, but I did enjoy my free week of Tychus. Crowd thoughts?
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Today I learned that Bad Rats 2 is a thing that is happening. I don't know how to feel about this.
techsupport avatartechsupport
The temp agency that employs me had me work as a sign spinner today. As in, I held a six foot cardboard arrow-shaped sign and spun it and danced for six hours. It got interesting when a homeless couple confronted me about hogging their spot.
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
V days until !
Snaveage avatarSnaveage
5ish hours into Phantom Pain and it is absolutely glorious. This is truly A Hideo Kojima game.
Robo Panda Z avatarRobo Panda Z
It looks like my job at PAX didn't work out (For a variety of reasons). Have fun at the convention, everyone! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdqoNKCCt7A
thelivinglegend avatarthelivinglegend
Witches of Crookback Bog from Witcher 3 is the best quest in the whole game and of any game I've played in recent memory.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
I was just accosted by the most gorgeous cosmetics saleswoman with an adorable Hatian-Creole accent. It's not often my attention gets that immersed in a total bullshit sales pitch. Well, that and I didn't want her to let go of my arm.
Cosmonstropolis avatarCosmonstropolis
My son just washed my Majora's Mask NEW 3DS because the screen was dirty. Bahahaha *cries uncontrollably*
Flegma avatarFlegma
Ever thought of skipping a console generation (and not upgrading PC for years, either) because of how big your pile of shame is? I'm doing that just now.
Tenzan  avatarTenzan
Apparently there are cancellations on the CE versions of MGSV:TTP from Europe and North America. People getting emails saying they are cancelled and such. On top of that is that there's been unboxings that don't have the extras for the Day One edition.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
I've been mad at myself all morning for missing the apostrophe in "I'll" on my Quickpost last night, but it turns out that apostrophes just don't show up on the feed! Isn't that the bee's knees?
Perro avatarPerro
Playing through Skies of Arcadia Legends right now. Bringing this to Steam or current gen in HD seems like a no-brainer. Make it so, Sega!
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 -