Given the extensive variety of Dragon Ball Z games released in recent years, it’s natural for numerous players to contemplate a nostalgic trek. Exploring the golden era of the best Dragon Ball Z games on the PS2 seems like the perfect choice.
Despite a somewhat modest beginning during the 80s, the Dragon Ball Z games found their stride and gained global recognition through the PS2 line of titles. Among these, Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 3 emerged as a fantastic 3D fighting game, earning massive praise upon its release. It successfully integrated numerous innovative features while paying homage to the essence of the original anime. It effectively captured the elements that anime enthusiasts had come to cherish in the Dragon Ball Z series.
Today, I will provide a comprehensive list of all Dragon Ball Z games released on the PS2, from the first release to the last. For the record, there are a total of 9 Dragon Ball Z games released on the PS2.
Dragon Ball Z Budokai sparked the inception of a gaming series that masterfully captured the essence of the DBZ anime. With a story mode faithfully adapting events from both the manga and the anime, players were treated to thrilling 2D fighting segments.
The legacy of Dragon Ball Z Budokai extended beyond its initial release, as its critical acclaim and modest sales paved the way for several new instalments, each striving to build upon and enhance the captivating experience of the original game.
Dragon Ball Z Budokai swiftly followed up with a second sequel a year after, and the results were an improvement over its predecessor. However, these improvements came at the cost of sacrificing some tiny details that made the original Budokai an incredible game.
Dragon Ball Z Budokai 2 featured several improvements, such as a wide variety of collectable capsules, additional unlockable characters, and an enhanced combo system that facilitated effortless combo chaining.
An improved version titled Dragon Ball Z2V, loaded with numerous changes was released exclusively in Japan a year later. Only the fortunate 2000 V-Jump magazine readers had the chance to own this edition. The game is obscure and difficult to find today, which makes it one of the rarest PS2 games ever.
Dragon Ball Z Budokai 3 stands as the zenith of the Budokai trilogy. Notably, its roster surpasses that of its predecessor, and it introduces a new gameplay mechanic called Dragon Rush. In combat, when either you or your opponent unleashes a devastating attack animation, the game prompts you to press several buttons displayed on the screen to either inflict damage or evade a potentially fatal blow. This engaging and enjoyable mechanic elevates the combat experience to new heights.
Unfortunately, Dragon Ball Z Budokai 3 does suffer from some unfairly unbalanced opponents, such as Perfect Cell, who can easily overwhelm players not well-versed in fighting games. Even on the easiest difficulty setting, numerous formidable adversaries in the game present a significant challenge.
However, the game’s remarkable roster and the gratifying story mode, where each member of the Z team undergoes major events from the original anime, make Dragon Ball Z Budokai 3 an essential experience for any devoted fan of the Dragon Ball Z series.
Dragon Ball Z Sagas was highly anticipated during its era, as it promised to be a return to the RPG roots with an interactive open world and a gameplay style that deviated from the traditional fighting style, offering an immersive 3D beat’em up experience.
However, the game couldn’t hold a candle against its predecessors as it felt flat: the controls were sluggish, and the repetitive boss AI, accompanied by the dull atmosphere, caused this game to flop. Ultimately, the game remained exclusive only to North America, making it difficult to obtain at the time. In retrospect, Dragon Ball Z Sagas is still considered one of the least-liked instalments in the DBZ game series.
Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi marked the inception of another subseries within the Budokai trilogy. Departing from the traditional 2D fighting style, Budokai Tenkaichi became an entirely 3D game, meticulously designed to emulate the exhilarating and adrenaline-fueled fights characteristic of Dragon Ball Z.
Despite the improvements made in the subsequent sequels, it is crucial to acknowledge this instalment as the catalyst for the birth of the Budokai Tenkaichi series. Its introduction of dynamic 3D gameplay set the stage for the series’ evolution and contributed significantly to its enduring popularity.
Super Dragon Ball Z often gets overshadowed in the Dragon Ball Z lineup of video games, and that’s unfortunate. Initially released in arcades and later ported to the PS2, this title is a commendable 2D fighter that shouldn’t be overlooked. If you’re a fan of the franchise, it’s definitely worth checking out.
While it may appear that Super Dragon Ball Z is trying to capitalize on the success of the original Dragon Ball Z Budokai series, it possesses its unique charm. Notably, the art style stands out as it endeavours to faithfully emulate the manga’s colour schemes in every aspect. The entire game pays homage to Akira Toriyama’s manga, evident in every corner.
With a modest roster of characters and engaging game modes to captivate players, Super Dragon Ball Z is a title worth experiencing at least once.
Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 2 serves as a heartfelt tribute to the franchise. With an extensive roster of beloved characters and a Potara customization system that expands upon Budokai’s Capsules, the game truly embraces the essence of the Dragon Ball Z universe.
Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 2’s story mode not only follows the original DBZ anime but also expands its reach to include the storylines from Dragon Ball and GT. As a result, players can enjoy a solid 3D fighting game that takes approximately 13 hours to complete.
Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 3 stood as the apex of the Budokai Tenkaichi series. Not only did this game enhance everything from its predecessors, but it also featured an extensive roster with 98 playable characters and their transformation forms. Even to this day, Budokai Tenkaichi 3 continues to be revered as one of the greatest anime games of all time.
Similar to Budokai Tenkaichi 2, Tenkaichi 3’s story mode not only delved into the plot of the original DBZ anime but also explored events from the original Dragon Ball, GT, and even several movies.
In addition to a substantial story mode to conquer, Budokai Tenkaichi 3 incorporates various new mechanics that enhance the combat tenfolds. Looking back, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 stands as an exceptional 3D fighting game that you shouldn’t overlook.
Dragon Ball Z Infinite World served as the final game released on the PlayStation 2, marking the end of a remarkable era. For many players, Infinite World can be considered the spiritual successor to the Budokai trilogy, as it incorporates various elements borrowed from its predecessors.
Infinite World had the unfortunate timing of being released shortly after Dragon Ball Z Burst Limit when players were already transitioning to the next generation of consoles. While it may appear to draw inspiration from the Budokai Trilogy’s legacy, Infinite World also introduces a range of new characters and a unique fusion mechanic that allows characters to fuse with anyone, at any time.
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I'm just your average gamer who enjoys hunting hidden gems and underrated games. My love for Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams is like a truck and I recommend that you play it.