The Revival of Budokai Tenkaichi

A familiar game appeared during the Dragon Ball Battle Hour, Dragon Ball Budokai Tenkaichi 3. It showcased a variety of fights, reminding the world of a series that slept for over 15 years. As it lay dormant, its engaging gameplay inspired other Dragon Ball fighting games, such as Raging Blasts and Ultimate Tenkaichi. Now the series has rekindled its flame, standing again with its focus on Dragon Ball Super.

Hype of Budokai Tenkaichi

So much hype!

Bandai Namco and Atari released Dragon Ball Budokai Tenkaichi 3 on October 4, 2007. It’s a fighting game staged in a huge 3D battle arena. The game is similar to Dragon Ball Xenoverse, but less competitive and imbalanced. This is due to its many features like beam struggles, giant transformations, destructive environments, fight clashes, immense power scaling, and many others. What made the game amazing during its time is its canonical portrayals for the whole Dragon Ball series.

Budokai Tenkaichi 3 had over 1 million sales, which is under its predecessor’s 2 million. Once it laid to rest, other series came to take its place, including Raging Blast and Ultimate Tenkaichi. Raging Blast 1 & 2 had a total of 1.2 million sales while Ultimate Tenkaichi made 700,000 sales. None of them could reach the total sales from the Budokai Tenkaichi series.

Possibilities of Budokai Tenkaichi

Budokai Tenkaichi 3 has influences from many games

Budokai Tenkaichi 3 explored many different Dragon Ball sagas. It demonstrated influences from the original Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT, and  What if scenarios. The game included as much Dragon Ball as possible during its time. Players could choose from over 90 characters, each with several different variations.

The trailer showcased the canonical order of the main Dragon Ball sagas, from Frieza to Perfect Cell to Kid Buu before ending with Goku Super Saiyan 4. This hinted at what may be added to Budokai Tenkaichi 4. More adventures are available, such as OG Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Super Movies (Broly & Super Hero). It’s up to Bandai to decide how far the game will handle Dragon Ball as a whole.

 What’s interesting about the trailer is how Goku went Super Saiyan Blue on Planet Namek. No major event in the anime made Goku return to Planet Namek with his godly ki. Anything is possible with the new game, possibly taking some referenced battles from the manga

The events of Dragon Ball Super have never been covered in a fighting game. Dragon Ball Xenoverse included certain DBS events, but involved time paradoxical interruptions. It will be the first for players to experience DBS battles in more engaging, canonical scenarios. Players will even have characters transform mid-battle rather than being forced to pick one of its several variations, like Goku in Xenoverse.

Modern Budokai Tenkaichi

What does the future look like for Budokai Tenkaichi?

The one concerning thought about the new Tenkaichi game is how it will play out. Raging Blast was heavily inspired by Budokai Tenkaichi’s gameplay, though Ultimate Tenkaichi tried a different method.

Ultimate Tenkaichi was more inspired by the DragonBall series’ dramatic fight scenes. The characters would fight at unbreakable speeds with a shifting camera, similar to the anime’s cutscenes. The game looked stunning in visuals, and the attacks were more explosive, especially the planet-sized ki blasts.

Battles and characters looked amazing, though the gameplay suffered from its simplicity. The fight animations and movements were copy-pasted throughout the roster, making the game repetitive and dull.  The fighting system relied on its Rock-Paper-Scissor mechanic, except there were only two options available. The game resulted more from guessing rather than skill. Players have little control over different fights, only pressing a few buttons to make the game play itself. It relied too heavily on its cutscene style, creating more watch time for players rather than playtime.

Ultimate Tenkaichi held an ambitious gameplay style, though not without its major flaws. Hopefully, the new Budokai Tenkaichi avoids being too dependent on cutscenes to improve the player experience.

We're looking forward to fewer cutscenes in Budokai Tenkaichi

Budokai Tenkaichi slept for many years. DLC updates and online environments have changed the gaming industry during those years. This gives the game more opportunities to shine, but it also could reign its downfall. Hopefully, it maintains the true essence of its Tenkaichi battles while letting players experience the depths of Dragon Ball, especially Super.

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