(Namco Bandai for Xbox 360)
By Mike Delano
Dragon Ball: Ultimate Tenkaichi has a lot of things going for it, but precision isn’t one of them. Any fighting game that takes this much control out of the player’s hands after hitting a button isn’t aiming to be deconstructed and studied like the Street Fighters and Virtua Fighters of the world. It’s just spastic, dash-happy fun, which is OK and quite in line with the long history of Dragon Ball fighting games that precede it. Combat takes place in enormous outdoor environments, and making the most of those spaces – careening around tall buildings in pursuit of your opponent or racing across the surface of a lake to avoid a projectile – provide the game’s greatest pleasures. Dragon Ball fanatics, though, might be most impressed by the extreme fan service on display, from the fantastic cartoon look of the characters to the story-focused battles (although super fans likely experienced all of this in the very similar Raging Blast series). It’s enough to make a fan’s head explode, although they should know that the gameplay in Ultimate Tenkaichi adheres very closely to the shallow, sugar-rush scheme that defines the Dragon Ball series. It’s a blast in short bursts; just don’t plan to be raging in the long-term unless you’re a serious devotee.