Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3

“Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3” is the third installment in the Budokai series of fighting games based on the popular anime and manga series “Dragon Ball Z.” Developed by Dimps and published by Atari (later Bandai Namco Entertainment), the game was released for the PlayStation 2 in 2004. “Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3” built upon the success of its predecessors, offering an enhanced and more expansive experience for fans of the series. Here’s a detailed overview of the PS2 game “Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3”:


  1. Fighting System:

    • Budokai 3 retains the 3D fighting system with a 2D plane from its predecessors. The gameplay is fast-paced, featuring intense battles and signature moves from the Dragon Ball Z series.
    • The game introduces the “Capsule System,” allowing players to customize and enhance characters with various abilities, power-ups, and transformations.
  2. Character Roster:

    • The character roster is extensive, featuring a wide array of characters from the Dragon Ball Z universe. Playable characters range from Saiyan warriors like Goku and Vegeta to powerful villains such as Frieza and Majin Buu.
    • Characters can transform during battles, showcasing iconic forms such as Super Saiyan and Frieza’s different transformations.
  3. Story Mode:

    • The Story Mode follows the major arcs of the Dragon Ball Z series, providing players with the opportunity to relive key moments and battles.
    • The game features an interactive world map where players can explore and engage in battles, with the outcome affecting the narrative progression.
  4. Dragon Universe:

    • A new addition called “Dragon Universe” allows players to embark on a unique single-player experience. Players can explore the Dragon Ball Z world, complete quests, and make choices that impact the storyline and character development.
  5. World Tournament:

    • The World Tournament mode returns, allowing players to participate in various tournaments and test their skills against AI-controlled opponents.

Graphics and Presentation:

  1. Visual Style:

    • Budokai 3 maintains the cel-shaded graphics characteristic of the series, capturing the essence of the Dragon Ball Z anime and manga.
    • The game features vibrant and dynamic visuals during battles, with special effects enhancing the intensity of attacks.
  2. Cutscenes and Voice Acting:

    • Animated cutscenes with voice acting contribute to the storytelling experience, featuring both English and Japanese voice tracks.
    • The game pays attention to detail in replicating the iconic moments from the source material.

Reception and Legacy:

  1. Critical Acclaim:

    • “Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3” received widespread critical acclaim for its improved gameplay mechanics, extensive character roster, and the addition of the Dragon Universe mode.
    • The game was praised for successfully capturing the spirit of the Dragon Ball Z series and providing an engaging and deep fighting game experience.
  2. Legacy:

    • Budokai 3 is often regarded as one of the best Dragon Ball Z games and has left a lasting legacy in the franchise’s gaming history.
    • Its success contributed to the continued popularity of the Budokai series and influenced the development of future Dragon Ball Z fighting games.


“Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3” for the PlayStation 2 stands out as a landmark title in the Dragon Ball Z gaming franchise. With its expanded character roster, enhanced gameplay mechanics, and the introduction of the Dragon Universe mode, the game successfully appealed to both casual and dedicated fans of the series. Its critical acclaim and lasting impact solidify its position as a classic among Dragon Ball Z games.

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