Reviewed: November 22, 2010
Released: October 19, 2010
Dragon Ball Z is one of the most beloved anime series of all time as many people already know. For gamers and anime fans, the love for Dragon Ball Z hasnít faded and if the number of Dragon Ball Z games is any indication then the developers at Namco Bandai know this too. In Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team, the newest entry in the portable fighter market, players gets an epic console sized experience in a small but powerful package.|
Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team is brought to us by Spike, developers behind the new Raging Blast series instead of Dimps, who did the Tenkaichi series from which this release takes its name. While Tenkaichi Tag Team is a complete diversion from the series from which it aspires, the fundamental adventure is the same old experience. Tenkaichi Tag Team does contain the full Dragon Ball Z series from the Saiyan Saga all the way up to the end of the Buu series. While you might think that once youíve played one then you have played them all, thatís not the case here. Players get the chance to relive their classic battles in 1 vs. 1, 2 vs. 1, and 2 vs. 2 battles.
Unlike previous PSP Dragon Ball titles, Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team is a 3D fighter like the big console versions. This is a pretty big leap for the series as I found it much more enjoyable as well as challenging. The controls are pretty solid for the most part and after getting the hang of using the analog stick to do the moving and the D-pad for the actual moves things went pretty smoothly. By changing to a 3D battle field it definitely improves the overall feel as well as allows for the full 2 on 2 experiences without running into say you team mate. The only issue that I found was that by giving the characters the ability to move more freely is that sometimes itís hard to keep track of where your opponents are. Luckily Spike has an answer for that in the form of a lock on system, which allows you to track your opponentís movements.
The meat and potatoes of Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team is the Dragon Walker mode. As I mentioned above you get to do the whole DBZ run that we all know and love. What I didnít mention is that you can follow the story with the appropriate characters or mix things up and pit allies against each other. There are 70 characters in Tag Team though some of them are the advanced forms of the key players. Each form is treated like its own character with its own set of moves to go along with it. There is one thing that despite the title being Tag Team, sort of falls short.
While you do have an ally in the field you canít switch between them in battle. You have to switch while on the world map and then us that character. While youíre on the world map you can take side jobs such as destroying random monsters or finding missing items. Itís a nice little change of pace from the story and allows you to get more familiar with combos and attacks.
Besides engaging in a trip down memory lane players can take things into the multiplayer arena where they can do free battles against the CPU or with up to 3 other players in Ad-Hoc mode. There are also two other modes available to test your fighting abilities outside of the story mode. There is the standard survival mode that every Dragon Ball title has had over the years. The other is the Battle 100 where you must create a line of wins by defeating a series of fights. You also get bonus D-Points if you beat the challenges for each fight such as beating the other team in less than 90 seconds. For those wanting a bit more than the multiplayer and single player modes there is a customization shop where you can spend your hard earned character D-Points to increase your stats like Attack, Defense, and Ki. You can even buy the ability to change the color of your Aura and give your Ki a jump-start at the beginning of all fights.
I have to admit that the gameplay isnít the only thing thatís improved in the Dragon Ball portable market. The graphics took a turn for the better sporting large detailed cel-shaded characters and fairly decent landscapes that are pretty accurate to the shows. You can really tell the quality of the character designs when youíre up close though you lose that when youíre across the arena from each other and I do mean across the arena. The arenas are console sized in proportions. I also like the animation effects when you charge up your Ki and I absolutely love pulling off the Kamehameha as much as possible. The menus for Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team also looks amazing featuring the same hand drawn animation of the show.
The sound department for Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team is sort of the sore part of the experience for me. While I do like the fight music, sound effects and story narration, Iím not a real fan of the spoke dialogue. Be it a bad day or stand-ins, the voice acting while some is better than others arenít quite right. Normally Iím a fan of spoken words but this time I just didnít enjoy it even as a Dragon Ball Z fan.
In my experience with Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team I will say that despite the few things I disliked, that it is probably one of the best Dragon Ball Z title on the PSP. The Tag Team aspect of the game makes it much more of a challenge though sometimes the fights are easy at times. Overall I definitely recommend giving Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team a go. And it doesnít cost over 9000 dollars to experience.