Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 (known in Japan as Dragon Ball Z 3) is a 2.5D sci-fi fantasy fighting game developed by Dimps and published for the PlayStation 2 in North America (by Atari on November 16, 2004), Europe (by Bandai on November 19, 2004), and Japan (by Bandai on February 10, 2005).
The third game in the original Dragon Ball Z: Budokai trilogy (and the sequel to Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2), Budokai 3 features new characters and transformations from both Dragon Ball GT and some of the series's animated films. The game also features numerous gameplay changes, including a revamped Ki system (where the character's Ki meter slowly increases/decreases to a center point), a new "fatigue" system, and new techniques (including the "Hyper Mode" boost, consumable items, and a teleporting counter-attack). It also feature another revamp of the single-player Story Mode (called Dragon Universe).
Both the European "Collector's Edition" and Japanese versions of the game feature three bonus costumes, which was later added to the North American version (along with the option to use the original Japanese voice acting) in the 2005 "Greatest Hits" re-release. The game later received an enhanced high-definition re-release (alongside Dragon Ball Z: Budokai) in the 2012 compilation Dragon Ball Z: Budokai HD Collection for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
Game modes in Dragonball Z Budokai 3 include Dueling, World Tournament, Training, Skill editing and Dragon universe. Dueling is for one on one action where you can fight with a human or computer opponent using a standard or saved character that you have built up in the Dragon Universe mode. World Tournament is where you get to fight the game’s 40-odd characters for money in one of three different skill levels, Novice, Adept and Advanced. Winning tournaments earns you money , which you can use to buy skill capsules in Bulma’s Skill Shop, thus increasing the ability of your character. You can then enter Training to practice the game’s combos and skills, working out which ones are right for your character. Dragon Universe is the game’s story mode, with a long involving plot and plenty of characters to battle and unlock.
This third game uses the same chain combo system of previous games with the addition of skills that allow massive attacks to be linked into the end of the various chain combos. From simple ‘Kamehameha’ waves to massive Spirit Bomb's that must be built up by performing rotations of the analogue pads and various button presses. Some of these attacks fill the entire screen with amazing pyrotechnic displays of power that are typical of the awesome battles seen in the DBZ cartoons. Players can charge up energy and transform into different levels of Super Saiyan to enable new attacks, and a whole new physical look.
New to this game are skills including the ability to teleport behind your opponent to avoid attacks and then counter attack them, and the ability to continually teleport and smash your opponent after any attack that knocks them backwards some distance. The second skill ends up looking like a ‘pinball effect as you smash your opponent back and forth across the arena – sort of like a game of tennis when you’re the only player and your opponent is the ball! You can even have instances where both players launch a massive fireball beam attack against each other at the same time, and here players must rotate their analog sticks to overpower the other’s beam and inflict damage on them.
The game includes 38 playable characters (30 of which must be unlocked for play).