The game itself, as whole, is simply another Tenkaichi installation with little to no additives to make the game different. Most of the fights are you pressing 4 buttons and watching the action commence. The Mutliplayer is literally lifeless and the Hero mode, although a new and interesting piece to the Dragon Ball Game Franchise, leaves a lot to be desired.
The story mode is as every other story mode is in any other Dragon Ball game: Most of the series repeated in a chronological state. After 3 console games from the same series, not a lot can be done to change the story. One might think you could make the cutscenes more theatrical or animated but no, it seems to be the same stiff characters making the same stiff motions.
So much like every game before this one; the story pans out like this: Saiyan Arc, Namek Arc, Cell/Android Arc and Majin Buu Arc, with a few in between missions that depict battles with movie characters.
Between battles you are offered a moment to roam the DBZ world but there isn't much do or see that you haven't already in Hero mode...
Occasionally, during a point in each arc, there will be a short animated cutscene that isn't right out of the Toei animation anime of Dragon Ball Z. Which are refreshing, but the few times they occur doesn't make you feel any different.
The story-battles incorporate the known tactic of switching out characters in a team battle to replay the anime and manga as closely as possible and isn't anything anyone hasn't seen before in these types of games.
Sometimes before battles, the heroes of the show will speak to one-another. You can't skip these scenes as whole. What you can do is press START and the confirm button to skip that particular speaking person, then you'll have to do it to the next speaker. This can be frustrating after losing a battle and having to watch it again...
This DBZ game tried something different then it's predecessors in which boss battles are not as simple as battling normally. Instead the bosses are always giant enemies (Great Apes size enemies) The boss will do a patterned set of attacks and then something will happen where you can lay into it a few times. After some damage output a quick time event will engage allowing you to do major damage to the enemy. After the first quick-time event, the boss will begin a patterned attack once again, with some new attacks (or not). Usually it takes a total of two quick-time scenes to defeat the enemy completely. Long paragraph short, the boss battles aren't very engaging or fun and sometimes can be frustrating.
The main hiccups of the story are the fact that normal enemies that have occurred in earlier games were omitted. The story was more focused towards the canonical, non-movie parts of the story. Which would be fine if they had not added the movie missions in at such odd places. One enemy in particular shows itself near the end of the game. But in the events of the actual anime, this enemy shows himself twice.
The enemy you battle in the game appears as he does in the sequel of the movie he appeared in. What I mean is. The character appears with no prior mention to the player or any idea that he even existed as there was no mission depicting his original debut. Instead you jump into a battle with this enemy and a non-DBZ fan would question almost everything about his appearance. And as a hardcore fan of the anime and the games, I was thrown off by the fact that he just appeared out of the blue. It brings up the question that if the movie characters were used for little in the story and in such weird places why would you put them in to begin with?
In conclusion, the story was very shallow and it seems not a lot of effort was put into it. It seemed the developers put more work into the story of the three games before this one...
THE CHARACTER ROSTER and GAMEPLAY
Compared to Tenkaichi 3, this game's roster was very small. Several characters are in base forms of Super Saiyan or higher. This is disappointing because it feels like the DBZ Game franchise took a step-backward. When I noticed some characters were in a preset form it instantly took me back to some less desirable DBZ games such as Ultimate Battle 22 or some GBA games. Perhaps the developers are teasing us and with the next Ultimate Tenkaichi game we'll see a bigger roster.
The only thing new about the combat system is the use of Blast and Melee ranges respectively. However both of these new additives make the game more restricted. When in Blast Range you can only fire ki blasts. And in Melee range one can only physically attack. This took some getting use too.
When you attack or ki blast an entire combo the game will slow down and you will be given the option to press X/Square or Y/Triangle. If the player who initiated this in-battle sequence picks a different button then the player or enemy on the opposite end, he begins a rush sequence where you press the button you chose in conjunction with the analog sticks when queued too. This particular feature makes you watch the game more so then play it. Very little actions are able to be done in the fighting part of this game as all the rushes are scripted sequence and only change depending which direction you tilt the analog stick during the queues. There are no combos and one can not mix between X/Square and Y/Triangle.
On the other side, if one picks the same button as the player before the rush sequence starts, the attack is cancelled.
All in all, this part of the game is pretty much Rock vs Paper... no Scissors.
Instead of ki being the basis of your stronger energy attacks a new meter called "The Spirit Meter" is used and can be built up by performing rush techniques as mentioned before. After a certain amount of Spirit is built up. One only has to press up, down or click the right stick on the controller. Some special attacks can only be done in certain ranges.
Ki is used only for defensive actions AGAINST spirit attacks.
Which is another thing. Special attacks can ONLY be dodged, blocked or countered. Like in the other games dashing left, right or even teleporting out of the way of a Kamehameha is no longer a possibility. Having enough ki and being able to follow the on-screen prompts is the only thing that will save you.
In conclusion, the fighting gameplay is a shy, sad shell of what it use to be...
This is probably the most interesting part of the new game, while still containing all of the other features of the game. You can create your own Saiyan and learn all the techniques throughout the game. You find items to build your strength, health, attack power and other essential battle abilities. Your character can also find new hairstyles, outfits and abilities through the world he traverses.
The story of Hero Mode is quite odd and different then the original, seeing normally evil characters being good and training your character is jarring but acceptable.
Some of the features of Hero Mode include, training, battling in non-event battles and battling in event battles. While this mode offers an entirely new spectrum from the normal Dragon Ball Z game, the mode itself is rather boring and repetitious. Much like the story; the voice-acting is poor and the plot is pretty lame.
It was nice idea but it could of been expanded much more.
The multiplayer is literally dead. I attempted to play it after I finished the story. And I picked quick match and not even half a second after choosing the option the prompt "No Match Could Be Found" appeared. I tried it at least ten times. I then created my own lobby and after 10 minutes nothing happened.
This game, as excited as I was for it, was nothing it should of been. It could be a lot more but again it seemed like there was not a whole lot of effort put into it.
For the hardcore DBZ fans it should be tried. Anyone aside from that might as well look for a different fighting game as you will be wasting a good $30.