• Publisher: Atari
  • Release Date: Dec 3, 2002
Metascore
67

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. Game Informer
    73
    Fans of the show will drool over the voices, music, and perfectly replicated look of the animated series. [Jan 2003, p.96]
  2. 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.
  3. If you are into DBZ and haven’t picked this game up yet ... do so immediately.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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]
  7. A fun, frantic fighting game tht completely captures the unique spirit of the show... A must have for DBZ fans. [Feb 2003, p.69]
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 69
    As a fighting game, Budokai is mediocre at best and annoyingly frustrating at worst.
  11. 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.
  12. 67
    Slick cut-scenes. [Feb 2003, p.38]
  13. 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.
  14. 62
    A poor fighting game disguised by an excellent presentation.
  15. Entertainment Weekly
    50
    Features 23 characters who, while lacking artistic detail, still yell, grunt, and move almost exactly like their broadcast counterparts. [17 Jan 2003, p.87]
  16. Cheat Code Central
    50
    It's really quite one-dimensional. Did they pull this fighting engine out of a Game Boy Color?

Awards & Rankings

9
#9 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2002
35
#35 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2002
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 77 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 50 out of 77
  2. Negative: 10 out of 77
  1. Nov 8, 2011
    8
    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. Mar 7, 2011
    8
    Dragon Ball Z: Budokai is a great fighter, with a great selection of characters, and a fun story mode, but is lacking in tournament modes andDragon Ball Z: Budokai is a great fighter, with a great selection of characters, and a fun story mode, but is lacking in tournament modes and replay value, but has some pretty good multiplayer, if your a fan of the DBZ Budokai series and you want to see where it began this is a great purchase. Full Review »
  3. Feb 25, 2018
    4
    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, because 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, 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 have no experience with the franchise.
    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.
    Final rating: 4 out of 10 "Bad"
    Full Review »