Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi
has all of the standard gameplay modes that DBZ
fans have come to expect. Besides the Training, Online Versus, World Tournament and Story Mode though, a new type of play is introduced in Ultimate Tenkaichi
, Hero Mode.
Where Story Mode takes you through all of the biggest battles in the series all over again, Hero Mode lets you create your own Saiyan character and take him through his own all new adventure. Sure, he will still meet the same heroes and villains that Goku does, but under different circumstances and for different reasons. Both the Hero and Story Modes take on a World-Map style for moving between the different story elements, much like what fans will remember from Budokai 3, and while being able to fly around the whole world and find interesting areas to explore is nice, there were a few times when I couldn't figure out exactly where I needed to go in order to advance the story.
Unfortunately, where Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi breaks down is at the very heart of the game, the fights. While they look great and definitely give off the hard-hitting feel of the show, the controls are over-simplified and, for the most part, all you have to do in order to pull off huge combos is keep hitting (X).
Basically, the two characters meet up in the arena, someone gets off a combo of hitting (X)(X)(X) first and the game goes into "Clash Mode." Here, the fighter who pulled off the simple combo can choose to hit (X) or (Y) to do a combo that will do one of two sets of pre-arranged attacks that sends each character flying all around the arena. After each time the attacking character belts out a few hits, that fighter can continue the combo by tapping a direction on the D-pad and hitting that (X) or (Y) again. This process repeats three or four times before the defending player has any kind of control again, although they can attempt to recover by rapidly pressing all four face buttons as fast as possible, a task I found all but impossible to pull off.
What results is the same massive hit-count combos with tons of damage being dealt out over and over again; sometimes you are the one being beaten up and sometimes you are the attacker. There are a few other maneuvers you can perform in the fights, including ultimate attacks, that are as simple to pull off as those melee-based moves, but they all feel like quick-time events you might find in other genres, not fighting. The whole control scheme just doesn't feel right for a fighting game, and results in a button-masher with no real strategy.