A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team, a game based on the Dragon Ball Z anime series, is a fighting game. All of the game modes involve some form of brawling, from the standard story mode to the game’s “fight for a long as you can” survival mode. The fights do serve as a means for the game’s good guys to triumph over evil. There is no blood, just over-the-top fighting moves involving fisticuffs and magic.
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What's it about?
In the video game DRAGON BALL Z: TENAICHI TAG TEAM, fans of this TV show can revisit every single battle from the animated series -- from Goku’s first meeting with his Saiyan brothers in episode one, all the way to the series-ending battle royal with super-baddie Majin Buu. Nearly all the dialogue from the series is here as well, thanks to an RPG-style story mode that requires players to move throughout various world maps (triggering talk-heavy cut scenes) in-between between dustups.
Is it any good?
Most Dragon Ball-inspired games have been lackluster at best, but Tenkaichi Tag Team is a pleasant exception to the norm. Gamers don't control two characters, as in most traditional tag games, instead they control up to four players, paired into teams of two. This fighting within the game’s 3D environments creates frenetic action that serves as the best virtual recreation yet of the anime’s now-legendary brawls. Seriously, it’s pretty cool to throw an energy attack at an opponent half a screen away, then watch two other fighters come crashing in-and-out of view before your attack lands. The game’s control scheme also helps make this the most immersive Dragon Ball fighter in recent memory. It’s easy to jump right in and begin duking it out, but pulling off complex attacks requires gamers to combine different attack commands simultaneously. Figuring out which combos will yield the best results can take some practice.
Unfortunately, the story mode is packed with dense, rambling dialogue. The nuances which shed light on why characters fight are easily overlooked, since they are sandwiched between the game’s in-your-face fisticuffs and pyrotechnic gameplay. However, considering that the Dragon Ball Z anime also dedicates most of its air-time to massive one-on-one battles, children may be more interested in recreating their favorite fights from the cartoon, rather than re-watching the story of Goku and his friends. Toss in over 70 playable characters, loads of unlockables, and online multiplayer battles, and Tenkaichi Tag Team scores a knockout as one of the best Dragon Ball games released.
Online interaction: Up to four players can battle it out online, against friends or total strangers, in the game's Multiplayer mode. The game does not support voice-chatting.
Talk to your kids about ...
Parents could discuss the game’s class themes with their children, specifically why it would be hurtful for those from more privileged backgrounds to antagonize friends or classmates from less fortunate environments.
Is the game’s cartoon violence necessary? How could a fun Dragon Ball Z game be created without focusing on fighting? What are some of the other activites that Goku and his friends enjoy?
Families could talk about the game’s fantasy violence. Why is it ok for the characters of the Dragon Ball Z universe to use such over-the-top attacks against one another, and why are those moves not ok to try against a friend in the real world?
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