The game starts in the beginning of Dragon Ball Z. One unlocks characters as they go. After a saga is 100% completed, a secret story is unlocked so one can fight and unlock secret movie characters like Bardock, Cooler and others. There are a total of 53 characters and 87 forms. This game is different than the Budokai series because different forms are treated like different characters. For example SSJ2 Vegeta can be played solely as a SSJ2 character and not revert to earlier forms or stronger forms like SSJ4. There are also What if? stories like what if Raditz becomes a hero after he too loses his memory.
The gameplay is also different from its earlier counterparts because it is open world and one can roam around in an open battlefield fighting enemies in realisticly large stages. It greatly resembles the manner in which fights are fought in the television show.
Also character selection can make a greater difference. In earlier games a weak character like Raditz could defeat a powerful character like Super Buu. But in Tenkaichi the difference is expanded so it makes it much more difficult.
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