Forgotten Video Game Classics: Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3

Dragon Ball Z

It’s been a minute since I decided to take a trip down memory lane. However, I was thinking about this series where I talk about forgotten video game classics and this game immediately came into my mind. DBZ is a well-known franchise for its manga, anime, video games, you name it. While I never grew up on the content as so many people did, I’ve grown to appreciate the series over the years.

I’d say it was roughly five or six years ago that I really started to get into it, and it all started with one video game. Sure, there have been many DBZ fighting games over the years, but my heart will always belong to DBZ: Budokai 3. It’s not just due to the nostalgia, either, as it’s mainly due to how well this game holds up all these years later.

The Fantastic Ki System

The major mechanic that makes this fighting game unique from literally every other one I’ve ever played is the Ki system. Fans of the franchise know that Ki is very important. In this game, it’s the primary component that you need to understand to do well. With most fighting games, you can just mash random buttons to high success. That’s not the case here as the Ki system creates endless strategies.

Possessing Ki allows you to use super attacks, to dodge behind your opponent, and to do a variety of other tasks. At any time, you can charge up your character to build Ki. Though different characters possess different base Ki, everyone utilizes it.

The Canceling System

It’s not as if this is the only fighting game that allows you to cancel attacks, but none do it better. The difference between a high-level player and a mid-level player often comes down to how well the players can cancel. Top-level players will be able to string along huge combos simply by canceling. Along with the Ki system, canceling allows for further strategy opportunities. Even better is that some characters have a ton of different cancels that you can utilize.

Transformations and Variety of Characters

Dragon Ball Z is synonymous with transformations. Above all else, this is the aspect that people typically remember the most. Being implemented into this game, transformations allow for new opportunities for characters. Speaking of characters, this game has an excellent variety available. From Cell to Super Buu to Vegeta to Piccolo, the fantastic characters read like a who’s who of DBZ greats.

It Hasn’t Aged a Day

Yes, the graphics have aged, but I couldn’t care less about that. People are so consumed with how good games look that they often forget why they’re fun in the first place. This game is a fantastic example of that as the gameplay, music, and overall fun haven’t aged a bit. And even if you can’t stomach the PS2 version anymore, you can always dive into the PS3 version. All these years later and it’s still the best DBZ game ever made.