Gamertell Review: Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team for PSP

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Dragon Ball Z Tenkaichi Tag Team PSP box art

Title: Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team
Price: $39.99
System(s): PSP
Release Date: October 19, 2008
Publisher (Developer): Namco Bandai (Spike)
ESRB Rating: “Teen” for Cartoon Violence and Mild Language
Pros: Story mode covers the Dragon Ball Z storyline well, over 40 different characters, different outfits for many characters, environment can sometimes be destroyed with attacks, nice selection of special moves, can upgrade characters with points and items, ad-hoc multiplayer for 2-4 people, has loading screen mini-games, install option and there are three game modes. You can take part in battles with up to four characters.
Cons: Sporatic voice acting, battles drag on needlessly, many battles can easily be beaten with button mashing and story mode missions are occasionally tedious. It’s also quite easy to get discombobulated when fighting, since characters are always flying and zipping around the area.
Overall Score: One thumb up and one thumb sideways, 80/100, B-, * * * out of 5

Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team has the honor of introducing a lot of new elements into a PSP Dragon Ball game. It’s the first portable Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi game for one, and has battles with up to four characters participating in each match. It also boasts the largest character roster yet, with 70 character options once they’re all unlocked. So while it does have a few quirks, there is plenty for Dragon Ball Z fans to be happy about.

Dragon Ball Z Tenkaichi Tag Team PSP

Help Goku defeat evil with his family and friends by beating it down!

Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team covers what’s probably the most beloved part of the Dragon Ball series, Dragon Ball Z. It’s a fighting game that focuses on fast-paced flying action. Characters are constantly hovering and dashing around the fighting area, meaning you have to keep moving to keep up and have a chance at winning. All play modes encourage large matches, that can have between two and four characters fighting at once. And while the Battle Selection generally has 2 on 2 matches, the Free Battle and Dragon Walker modes can have 1 on 1, 1 vs 2 and 2 on 2 matches.

The Dragon Walker story mode follows the adventures of Goku, his son Gohan and his friends as they fight Saiyans, Androids, Cell and Buu. As you go through this mode, you unlock almost 50 characters (though some are older or altered versions of existing characters), not to mention different variations of existing characters.

Dragon Ball Z Tenkaichi Tag Team PSP

Nobody ever really dies when their HP hits 0

The first thing you need to know is that each match against a major character in the Dragon Walker story mode will last at least five minutes. Each opposing character has a health bar over his or her head, with a number next to a gauge. The number represents how many full gauges he or she has left. Even if you successfully make the number drop to 0 and deplete the last gauge, your opponent’s still going to come back. If this happened occasionally, it’d be tolerable. But it happens almost every match. It’s most troublesome when you find yourself in a battle where your one character has to defeat two opponents. You knock one down, start focusing on the other and all of a sudden the other guy’s revived and is sneaking up behind you.

This means it’s often easier to resort to button mashing to defeat matches. Each character has a nice array of special moves, which you can see in a list in the pause menu. But when you’ve got enemies bearing down on you or double teaming you, you don’t have the luxury of remembering which button presses trigger awesome specials. Many attacks also require Ki, which means you have to stand still, charging with the L button until you’ve built up enough power. Which would be fine, but enemies aren’t going to leave you alone for 10-15 seconds so you can do that. For the Dragon Walker mode, it’s easier to keep up a constant assault on your opponents with attacks and Ki blasts.

The Dragon Walker mode isn’t bad though. It’s just best enjoyed in short bursts. It’d divided up into missions, which deal with small story segments from the original Dragon Ball Z and each take around 20 minutes to complete. You’ll have to float around a map searching for a certain character to battle, looking for side quest battles or collecting items. If you want to unlock certain characters to play as, additional character forms/costumes, or points necessary to upgrade fighters and give them items to boost their abilities, you’re going to have to play.

The Battle Selection and Free Battle modes are the most enjoyable parts, since they allow players to take part in the fast-paced battles, jetting around environments and attacking any opponent who moves, without dealing with any kind of objectives. The Battle Mode does offer “challenges,” so players have opportunities to earn more points for upgrades, but they’re optional. It also requires players to take on set character pairings and matches in grids, in the hopes of creating lines that go through cleared matches and unlock more difficult ones. It’s great for learning Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team‘s nuances so you do better in Free Battle, Dragon Walker or multiplayer matches.

Dragon Ball Z Tenkaichi Tag Team PSP

Dragon Ball Z fans will be pleased, despite the urge to button-mash to victory.

Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team is perfect for short play sessions. If you play for too long, the game starts to drag, what with opponents suddenly reviving in the middle of a match after you’ve already spent five minutes beating them down. Plus, your fingers will start to hurt if you play for too long, what with the constant dashing and button mashing. It’s definitely a Dragon Ball Z fan’s dream, allowing the creation of matches with many popular characters and a story mode that recounts the Dragon Ball Z saga. As long as you love the series, you’ll be able to ignore its small faults.

Besides, where else do you have a game where you actually want the loading screens to drag on? The fruit catching minigame that rewards players with extra D-Points to upgrade characters can be surprisingly satisfying, and provides an incentive not to install data to your PSP memory card!

Site [Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team]

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  • jerry

    You made me laugh about the "enemy revives after defeating them" thing. It's because they or you if you die, use Seizu beans. In free battle mode, you can choose how many Seizu beans you or your team and your opponent will have during the match.

  • Jenni Lada

    Thanks Jerry! I had no idea, because the instruction manual mentioned nothing about that.

    Well, I guess in the Dragon Walker story mode the enemy will sometimes have two or three Seizu beans to use, because some of those Saiyans just won't stay down! 😛

  • AlexG

    Battle selection is definitely fun, that is until you get to the very last stage. The enemies here are ridiculously overpowered, and that's really no problem. They're not that hard to beat fairly, the problem is that instead of it being fair, both enemies focus primarily on you while ignoring your partner. That's my big beef with this game. It makes it 'almost' impossible to win and you have to rely on luck (not skill) and hope they don't team up on you relentlessly.

  • Jenni Lada

    I know exactly what you mean. In the least few episodes of the story mode I noticed the opponents were getting quite aggressive!