• Publisher: Atari
  • Release Date: Dec 4, 2003

Mixed or average reviews - based on 28 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 28
  2. Negative: 1 out of 28
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  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. Weekly Famitsu
    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. 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.
  8. 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.
  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. 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.
  11. GMR Magazine
    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. PSM Magazine
    A major improvement over the last game, and an absolute must-buy for the DBZ hardcore. [Holiday 2003, p.28]
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  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. netjak
    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
    Its uninspired controls, lack of character diversity, and the absence of a story mode make this only a marginally entertaining video game.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 60
    Doesn't stray terribly far from the formula, to both its credit and detriment.
  23. TotalGames.net
    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. GameNow
    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. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    Reducing the story to talking heads turns the once-engaging plot into a drab, formulaic mess. [Jan 2004, p.138]
  26. 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.
  27. Cheat Code Central
    It isn't a bad game in and of itself but as a sequel it absolutely sucks.
  28. Play Magazine
    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]

Awards & Rankings

#28 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2003
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 115 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 83 out of 115
  2. Negative: 11 out of 115
  1. Aug 28, 2020
    Same as the first game decent fighter and fun to play

    Cool graphics and can be a bit more difficult than the first at times
  2. May 6, 2020
    Good fighting game for ps2 with a change in his art style making it more cartoon than the previous one. This new ´parchis´ story mode is notGood fighting game for ps2 with a change in his art style making it more cartoon than the previous one. This new ´parchis´ story mode is not bad too. Very nice. Full Review »
  3. Apr 17, 2020
    This is the first Dragon Ball game that i played and it was funny and entertaining, with some changes from the anime like Buu absorbingThis is the first Dragon Ball game that i played and it was funny and entertaining, with some changes from the anime like Buu absorbing Freezer or Cell. Full Review »