Dragon Ball Z: Budokai PlayStation 2

  • Publisher: Atari
  • Release Date: Dec 3, 2002

Mixed or average reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 28
  2. Negative: 3 out of 28
Buy On
  1. A Dragonball fan’s dream. It is the first "true" American game based on the series, and Infogrames really came through on this one.
  2. If you are a DBZ fan, this is a dream come true. The game does just about everything right. Go and buy this now (you probably would even if I told you that the only difference between this and a bag of manure was the bag). If you aren’t a DBZ fan, you might be turned off by the simplistic gameplay.
  3. Doesn’t have a lot of spit & polish, and at first glance would seem to be a pretty crappy game, but that’s only skin deep. Get underneath the hood, and you’ll find an enjoyable fight engine, lots of extra material, and an impressive amount of content for a fighting game.
  4. netjak
    Officially the first fun Dragonball Z game to hit the market. While it has a couple problems in the lack of jump or flight and a few strange mini-games in story mode, this fighter is remarkably deep and entertaining.
  5. Dramatic, hilarious and impenetrable by turn, it's a cold heart that won't be warmed by this one, but hardcore fight fans may find themselves irritated.
  6. The authenticity will truly impress the fans of the series with the soundtrack and voice acting all wrapped up in one neat and tidy package.
  7. Between the terrific cinemas, TV voice actors, and perfectly re-created story lines, you'll really feel like you're playing the show. And isn't that what you've wanted all along? [Feb 2003, p.136]
  8. It doesn't always make sense, but it's so big, daft and loud that you can't help but join in with all the shouting. [PSM2]
  9. It's hard to find a Dragon Ball Z game that's fun, fast, and enjoyable. DBZ nuts should savor this one. For every one else - it's a solid rental at best.
  10. Game Informer
    Fans of the show will drool over the voices, music, and perfectly replicated look of the animated series. [Jan 2003, p.96]
  11. If you can get past the pastel coloured craziness of it all, then Dragon Ball Z: Budokai provides a decent enough challenge – just don’t be expecting another Tekken 4 and this should find favour.
  12. If you are into DBZ and haven’t picked this game up yet ... do so immediately.
  13. 70
    Non–Dragon Ball Z fans, however, may have a hard time not only grasping the quirky DBZ story, but also wrapping their fingers around the repetitious controls.
  14. It flirts awfully close with being a mindless button-masher, but Budokai embraces its “Dragon Ball Z” license with a passion and eye for little details that’ll surely make hardcore fans of the series flip from joy.
  15. Fighting Game Fan: "I'll admit, I was surprised at how deep the game is, and I actually enjoyed the Story mode, despite the oddball characters." [Feb 2003, p.104]
  16. A fun, frantic fighting game tht completely captures the unique spirit of the show... A must have for DBZ fans. [Feb 2003, p.69]
  17. The rather simple fighting system in DBZ Budokai is really the key factor that's going to keep it from appealing to many people outside of the DBZ fan base.
  18. If you're an aficionado of the series, then you won't be disappointed with the quality of this title. However, as a fighter the game falls short of the top titles in the genre and will more than likely be too simplistic for fighter fans.
  19. 69
    As a fighting game, Budokai is mediocre at best and annoyingly frustrating at worst.
  20. Only bother with DBZ:B if you are a steadfast, utterly devoted fan of the series, otherwise steer clear of this title and getting your fighting game fix elsewhere.
  21. 67
    Slick cut-scenes. [Feb 2003, p.38]
  22. This game is basically made for the DBZ fans out there than don't mind putting up with some sub-par gameplay as long as they get to play as their favorite DBZ characters.
  23. 62
    A poor fighting game disguised by an excellent presentation.
  24. Entertainment Weekly
    Features 23 characters who, while lacking artistic detail, still yell, grunt, and move almost exactly like their broadcast counterparts. [17 Jan 2003, p.87]
  25. Cheat Code Central
    It's really quite one-dimensional. Did they pull this fighting engine out of a Game Boy Color?
  26. 40
    While it does have generally high production values, nobody would give this title a second glance if it didn't have the Dragon Ball Z license attached to it.
  27. For those looking for an actual fighting game and not a license, I would suggest extreme caution because this one is quite simply for the fans.
  28. PSM Magazine
    In recreating the action of the cartoon show, the developers have gone the easy route, implementing automatic special attacks rather than an effective combination system. [Jan 2003, p.42]

Awards & Rankings

#11 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2002
#64 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2002
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 71 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 43
  2. Negative: 8 out of 43
  1. Nov 8, 2011
    Each fight in the game is harder than the one before it so hardcore gamers will like the difficulty. The fighting is fast so a lot of buttonEach fight in the game is harder than the one before it so hardcore gamers will like the difficulty. The fighting is fast so a lot of button mashing is required. It follows the Dragon Ball Z storyline very well. If you like fighting games, then you just might like this game. Full Review »
  2. Dec 7, 2016
    Let's get this out of the way right now: I'm not really much of a fan of the "Dragon Ball" franchise. Not that I dislike the series, it wasLet's get this out of the way right now: I'm not really much of a fan of the "Dragon Ball" franchise. Not that I dislike the series, it was just never my cup of tea. As a kid, I was part of the "Pokémon," "Digimon" and "Yu-Gi-Oh" boats, but I never found a huge interest in "Dragon Ball Z," or "DBZ," as some call it. That said, I fully believe that a fighting game based around the "Dragon Ball" franchise is a match made in heaven...at least on paper. While "Dragon Ball Z: Budokai" has the right idea, it just doesn't execute it well.
    Off the bat, the game really captures the feel of the show pretty well (basing this off of what little I've seen of the show, along with word-of-mouth from friends who watched the show). It really feels like I can watch these cutscenes and understand the plot of the show. I also appreciate how the game actually follows the different "sagas" of the shows, which makes it feel like it could be enjoyable even for people like me that didn't watch the show.
    Unfortunately, that's about where the positives end. Though it captures the feel of the show, it certainly isn't visually brilliant, and it's extremely easy (and rather fun) to just make jokes about the cutscenes being weirdly animated and poorly-acted. You'll also find yourself making jokes about the story and the dialogue, and worst of all, the gameplay is extremely frustrating. "Dragon Ball Z: Budokai" has all the potential in the world to be a really technical, exciting, competitive fighting game, but unfortunately, the game is weighed down by some really poor controls that fall somewhere between "bulky" and "unresponsive." It's clear that this game hasn't aged wonderfully and, unless you're a huge fan of the show or you really need a good laugh, you'd be a smarter person if you invested your time and money into a more interesting fighter. "Dragon Ball Z: Budokai" had some great ideas going for it, but unfortunately, it's a disappointing fighting game.
    Full Review »
  3. Apr 4, 2012
    The story linearity is short for gamers that plays a lot in a day, for DBZ fans , consider this a punch in the face. Three important modesThe story linearity is short for gamers that plays a lot in a day, for DBZ fans , consider this a punch in the face. Three important modes that will likely be in use often, the first one is the main story ( before mentioned ) , the other is the Duel one where you actually pit two players one on one and finally the best varied option is the tournament where it was used countless of times in previous DBZ games but hopefully Budokai's tournament style is the best option for those interested . Graphically Budokai is fine enough ( though this was the first and the last DBZ game to include those daunting graphics) , playability side is easy to pick in the first try . Consider this the superior DBZ fighting game, although is short on content. Full Review »