• Publisher: Atari
  • Release Date: Nov 16, 2004

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 32
  2. Negative: 2 out of 32
  1. Oozes superiority, quality, class and eminence; it's a cut above the rest, taking the fighting genre and painting it red.
  2. It's a licensed game that perfectly captured the property while still being fun and accessible.
  3. 90
    The sounds and fast paced action makes this game feels like the actual animated series.
  4. 90
    The weak Story mode is the only blemish on what's otherwise the best DBZ game yet.
  5. It's pretty darned fun once you get used to the quirks.
  6. The game's visuals are incredibly true to the source material. The character models, once again in the cel-shaded nature, are excellent with believable and fluid animations backing up their every move.
  7. Budokai 3 will rev your engine if you're willing to forgive it for its colourful, crazy, and unserious premise.
  8. The game is very good in its own right, and for DBZ fans this is a must have title.
  9. The game has great sound work overall with most of the US voice cast lending their talent to the game for that extra air of Dragon Ball authenticity.
  10. Simply put, if you are a Dragon Ball Z fan, or know someone who is, get this game. It’s the title they’ve been waiting for, for 10 plus years now.
  11. It’s not just for Dragon Ball Z fans any more.
  12. This game hits the nail on the head in so many ways it really is hard to nitpick about the small shortcomings such as no in-game cut scenes or free flight. If you are a DBZ fan, don't rent this game. Buy it right now.
  13. This is far and away the best Dragon Ball Z game around, and it's a must-have for DBZ fans. However, the action is also so fast-paced and viscerally satisfying that it can genuinely appeal even to those otherwise uninterested in Dragon Ball Z.
  14. A lot better of a fighting game than the previous two entries into the fighting world. While this game is not enough to go up against the "big boys" of fighting games, it is a solid entry.
  15. 80
    A surprisingly addictive little fighting game that, while not overly technical, has an astonishing amount of depth and strategy to it.
  16. From fantastic special effects to authentic (though recycled) voices/music from the TV show, and from new useful moves (teleportation!) to a keen balance between overkill and authenticity to its source material in the graphics, this is it.
  17. 80
    Easily the most forward-thinking DBZ title we've seen. It captures the speed and style of the show and wraps it into a very playable presentation with fantastic character designs.
  18. 80
    It's hard to find any major faults with Budokai 3. With 40 characters from Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT, the Saiyan Overdrive System, and an ambitious new story mode, I'm absolutely blown away by this game. If you're a DBZ fan like me, there's no reason to think you won't be too.
  19. 80
    The game is extremely fast.
  20. 80
    Even gamers who don't know Gohan from any other spiky-haired anime kid will smell what Budokai 3 is cooking.
  21. The kind of game Dragon Ball fans can enjoy without feeling guilty. [Jan 2005, p.110]
  22. The game may not have a huge amount of depth, but its clear a great deal of care and attention has gone in to making it as polished and as faithful to the subject matter as possible, from the colourful voiced menus to the dazzling special effects and cinematic camera cuts.
  23. Timing is a very definite requirement of play, perhaps more so than who's got the biggest strike and without practice you'll almost certainly have no idea why what happened just did.
  24. The best DBZ game yet? Definitely. Likely to appeal if you don't know what Potaro earrings do or who Gogeta is? Probably not. [GamesMaster]
  25. After all is said and done this is the best Budokai to date however there are still two or three major flaws preventing Budokai 3 from being a truly great game.
  26. It's the closest any DBZ game has ever come to replicating the insane airborne fights from the show. [Jan 2005, p.114]
  27. Combat is a fluid, nippy affair more in keeping with 2D fighters like Guilty Gear than Tekken and includes a fine array of attacks that can be learnt and built on.
  28. Little more than fight after fight of stilted controls, repeated animations, and frustrating difficulty. [Jan 2005, p.70]
  29. It's simplistic, clumsy, unresponsive, and boring, even with the improvements over last year's entry. [Jan 2005, p.122]
  30. Far and away the best game in the series, but unfortunately, the creators have still neglected to address the lackluster fighting at the core. [Jan 2005, p.68]
  31. You can only ride on the license for so long before things get stale, and that's exactly what's happened here. If you loved the first two, you'll still probably love this one, but when do fighting game fans get to have fun with a DBZ game?
  32. The graphics are terrible. They tried way too hard to make the people look as they do in the animated series, but the result is that it all looks pretty flat. Even the first Budokai had more depth. People tell me that I judge the game too much by the graphics. I agree; but this isn’t right. Seriously.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 89 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 32
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 32
  3. Negative: 1 out of 32
  1. Jul 5, 2012
    This game was the best game for fighting ever! I love it and i've played it so much that the disk is too scratched up now lol so now I gotta buy another one! =D Full Review »
  2. Jan 29, 2014
    The budokai and the tenkaichi series made my childhood alongside with the anime they are based one. One of the greatest fighting games, if you really are a dbz fan. Go get it! Full Review »
  3. Sep 15, 2013
    If you're a Dragon Ball Z fan, you need to do two things:

    1. Watch the new DBZ Anime movie Battle of Gods (Cause it's freaking amazing!)


    Seriously, I've never had more fun playing a fighting game than I've had with Budokai 3. Everything's perfect, there's not a single thing that doesn't resemble the legendary DBZ. All we need now is a Ultimate Budokai game with Battle of Gods Kami to Kami Characters!
    Full Review »