Dragon Ball Z Shin Budokai 2 PSP
Published by: Namco Bandai
Developed by: Dimps
Release Date: Out Now
Dragon Ball Z, as a manga and an anime, enjoys enormous popularity and it's little surprise that there have been quite a few Dragon Ball Z titles to date. Dragon Ball Z Shin Budokai 2 is the latest game to arrive and features an improved camera system and 18 playable characters from Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT and the Dragon Ball movies amongst other things, and it's certainly a game that will appeal to those who have enjoyed the previous Dragon Ball Z titles.
The modes on offer in Shin Budokai 2 are Another Road, Arcade, Z Trial, Network Battle and Practice. Most of these modes are pretty self-explanatory. The main single-player mode is entitled Another Road and is a story mode that takes place after 'Trunks Another Story'. You'll mostly play as Trunks in a story that offers a 'What if' scenario. Trunks will have to go back in time to attempt to persuade the Dragon Ball fighters from the past to help him. In the future Trunks will even have to put a stop to the evil Majin Buu. Whilst many elements of the Another Road mode have been seen before in other Dragon Ball Z titles, the power-up system is very different. Essentially there are booster cards that are attained by completing missions. You'll have a 3x3 grid on to which you'll place your cards. Each card enhances one of your character's abilities so in effect this power-up system is giving you a degree of character customisation.
Whilst there are a decent collection of modes in Shin Budokai 2, it's probably going to be nothing you haven't encountered before if you've played Dragon Ball Z Shin Budokai. The Another Road mode is probably going to be the main mode for many players. The Arcade mode allows you to choose your duel time, amount of rounds you'll have to win in order to win the fight and the difficulty level. There are six difficulty levels available ranging Very Easy to Z and these difficulty levels should cater for all abilities quite nicely. The Z Trial mode allows you to pick from Survival, Time Attack and Challenge trials. Survival pits you against CPU opponents until your health finally runs out. Time Attack requires you to complete a series of fights as quickly as possible. Finally, Challenge gives a series of challenges. For instance you might be required to X5 Aura Burst Smash, and then beat your enemy or you may have to simply use your Ultimate attack. The Practice mode allows you to setup a fight against a CPU opponent and you can give instructions to your opponent. You can tell them what defence to use or whether to counter-attack for instance. Essentially you can set the AI up as you please and then practice your technique against the chosen AI strategy. Network Battle allows you to take on a friend over an ad hoc connection.
As you would expect, the game retains the unique artwork style of the Dragon Ball Z manga. The game actually looks pretty impressive for a PSP title. The character models look just as you would expect them to. The various environments you'll battle in all look good. There are some rather impressive effects on show during the battles, such as the Aura Blast attacks, and it's rather pleasing how the game doesn't appear to suffer from any frame rate issues. The load times aren't too bad although you will see the loading screen a little too frequently for my liking.
Deaf gamers should be fine with Dragon Ball Z Shin Budokai 2. The storyline dialogue, some of which is voiced and some of which is not, is subtitled and delivered in a comic-book fashion with the text being displayed in speech balloons. Even the pre-fight conversations in the Arcade mode are subtitled, which is certainly good to see. Taunts made before, during and after the fights aren't subtitled but these are only a word or two and of no real importance. All the important information, such as the mission objectives in the Another Road mode and the challenge you'll need to complete in the Challenge section of the Z Trial mode, is shown in text.
If you're a fan of the previous Dragon Ball Z games and their rather unique brand of fighting then you can't really go wrong with Dragon Ball Z Shin Budokai 2. In truth the combat model doesn't seem as deep as in some of the PlayStation 2 Dragon Ball Z games (such as Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi) but it's certainly enjoyable. If you are a fan of the games then the only disappointment is that the game doesn't really do anything to differentiate itself from Dragon Ball Z Shin Budokai and doesn't feel like a true sequel. Still it looks very good and plays well too and if you're a fan of Dragon Ball Z you'll certainly enjoy what's on offer here. However, you may be disappointed if you were hoping for a true sequel to Shin Budokai.
Dragon Ball Z Shin Budokai 2 is a solid title but it may not offer much to those who purchased DBZ Shin Budokai and it doesn't differ greatly from that title.