Mixed or average reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 28
  2. Negative: 1 out of 28
  1. Worlds above what the first game was, with the greatly improved graphics (beautiful Cel-Shaded graphics)and game modes.
  2. Finally the game fans of the series have waited all this time for.
  3. An amazingly accessible and fun experience in a genre overfull with games that pride themselves on their depth and complexity.
  4. 8 / 8 / 8 / 7 - 31 silver [Vol 791; 13 Feb 2004]
  5. Even though it's not in the premier league of fighters, I can honestly say for the first time that non-fans will find this an inviting game with its own brand of depth. [Jan 2004, p.133]
  6. 74
    The incredible improvement on load times alone (Budokai 2 loads about 3 times faster than Budokai 1) should be enough to excite its fanbase right out of the gate. Let alone its more balanced damage system, increased character roster, and better production values.
  7. Light years better than the original game that was released last year. The controls are much better, the visuals are very similar to TV show, and it is an overall improvement.
  8. The biggest bummer about the game, though, is the absence of last year's entirely enjoyable story mode. The new Dragon World mode is simply not fun enough to warrant the lack of a fleshed out story mode.
  9. The cartoon style might not appeal to hardcore Tekken devotees, but there's certainly a lot of fun to beaten out of this one.
  10. A major improvement over the last game, and an absolute must-buy for the DBZ hardcore. [Holiday 2003, p.28]
  11. The best DBZ game yet. It's a fighter with enough personality and depth to appeal even to all seven nonfans of the franchise. [Jan 2004, p.56]
  12. While shy of “Virtua Fighter 4” perfection (a lot of elements from the first “Budokai” engine are recycled) Budokai 2 is easily the best videogame to have ever been spawned from Akira Toriyama’s animated universe.
  13. The kind of game that will appeal for immediate accessibility but perfectionists will be turned off by the shear repetition required to get everything in the game.
  14. The sequel raises the bar in the amount of things included, but the awkward use of Dragon Worlds and the Story Mode, not to mention the choppy and average fighting engine, makes this game a fan-only affair.
  15. Improves on the original in almost every respect, from an enhanced presentation to superior controls and a broader set of skills. However, the fighting mechanics are still a little simple and the ability system is too restrictive, which makes the game feel rather shallow.
  16. The improved visuals are nice, and some of the additions made to the fighting system are fun, but Budokai 2 still comes out as an underwhelming sequel.
  17. The Master Roshi load screen has more replay value than Babidi’s Space Ship. I find this game insulting both as a gamer and as a DBZ fan.
  18. 61
    A step backwards from the previous title. There were fewer voice-overs, a worse story (if that was ever possible), and a more limited fighting system.
  19. 60
    Right away I can tell you that if you played the first one, your opinion of this game will more than likely be the same.
  20. 60
    Its uninspired controls, lack of character diversity, and the absence of a story mode make this only a marginally entertaining video game.
  21. Doesn't stray terribly far from the formula, to both its credit and detriment.
  22. 60
    One for the fans. While the fighting is passable, it's too shallow and strategically repetitive to hold any serious fighting freak's attention for more than a few minutes. Even if you're a fan, approach with caution.
  23. Far from terrible, this latest Dragonball offering may be among the best we've seen but it simply doesn't have either the widespread or lasting appeal to find the audience that the nature of the license means it once might have. C'mon guys - it may still be working for Pokemon...
  24. 58
    The fighting system is fairly shallow, and once you become callous to the flashy moves and explosive pyrotechnics, the action starts to feel repetitive. [Jan 2004, p.56]
  25. Reducing the story to talking heads turns the once-engaging plot into a drab, formulaic mess. [Jan 2004, p.138]
  26. It isn't a bad game in and of itself but as a sequel it absolutely sucks.
  27. Matches basically boil down to ridiculous standoffs that are won by whoever can bust out kamehamehas the fastest. Not exactly the best way to channel your competitive spirit.
  28. Takes the shallow one-on-one fighting action of its predecessor and repackages it with essentially no noteworthy enhancements to the fighting engine or visuals... Disappointing. [Dec 2003, p.82]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 79 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 41
  2. Negative: 6 out of 41
  1. Nov 8, 2013
    I love DBZ, really...I'm a huge DBZ fan. But..seriously. WHAT THE HECK WAS AKIRA THINKING?! The controls are good...but not near perfect. The gameplay and story is horrible. The graphics....suck....butt....I mean...I'm a 2008-era child, but this was a horrible game all in all. I mean...2008-era people are supposed to be all about great graphics and other things.But, this game has it's name in dirt. Even the first one sucked. Seriously, wanna play a good DBZ game..there are 2 (in my opinion): DBZ Devolution and DBZ Battle of Z. Just saying, you might want this game to die in the dirt later on. Overall, I give this game a 2.5. Full Review »
  2. Aug 29, 2013
    While this game is a MASSIVE improvement over it's predecessor, there is really no reason to play this game since we have its sequel, Dragon Ball Z Budokai 3, Which is overall a much better game. there is no reason to come back to this game. At least the original had a story mode that is worth playing through. This game really has nothing special to offer. And that was most likely why it was not in the Budokai HD Collection. It's a perfectly fine game. Just nothing special. Full Review »
  3. Jul 11, 2011
    If it wasn't by the weird and not right board, maybe it hit the 8 score. It gets to irritating moving little by little every time, is very desperate and gets tired. I applaud the visuals looks nice and gives a fresh feeling to the adventure. Full Review »