Review: Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2
Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 is the sequel to Spike's Dragon Ball: Raging Blast, a refreshing entry in a long line of Dragon Ball Z games of greatly varying quality.
- Worth The Time?Yes, if you haven't played the previous game, otherwise it's up to your discretion and level of obsession with the anime.
- Things LovedThe huge cast of characters, the visuals of the characters and their animations and special moves, the destructible environments, the true feeling of the anime you can get from the gameplay, the fast paced nature of the game.
- Things HatedThe lack of the story mode that the previous game had, the lack of features, the overall lack of moves - as many of them are simply slightly-altered variations of other moves, the split-screen camera when it goes wonky, the noticeable difficulty and luck involved in escaping melee combos, the tediousness and repetitiveness involved in unlocking all of the characters, the bland-looking environments compared to the great character models.
- RecommendationIf you're a die-hard Dragon Ball Z fan, chances are you won't go wrong with buying this game, although you will have to be careful with your decision if you already own the original Raging Blast, because not many big things have changed here or have been added to make it worth buying again. If you only have a casual interest in the anime, rather avoid this game as it's for the dedicated fans, and it's ultimately them who will enjoy and appreciate this most.
- Name: Raging Blast 2
- Genre: Fighting
- Players: 1-2
- Multiplayer: Online (2-8 players), Offline Split-Screen (2 players)
- Platforms: PS3, Xbox360
- Developer: Spike
- Publisher: Bandai, Namco Bandai
- Price: R546-599 (PS3, 360)
- Reviewed On: PS3
There are so many Dragon Ball Z games out there that it would be a time-consuming chore to count and keep track of them, and it comes as no surprise whenever a new one surfaces. However, that said, fans such as myself will take the odd peek every now and then, as it’s a hard thing to completely let go of the love many of us had for the anime and cartoon back in the day when it was one of the biggest crazes. Now, Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2, the sequel to 2009’s Dragon Ball: Raging Blast, which is perhaps the most fan-service crazy DBZ title you’ll find. With that in mind, let’s take in-depth look at how the sequel has done, and whether or not it’s a satisfactory addition to the legacy.
Those who have played the original game should expect more of the same. However, fans may notice the absence of a story mode, which can be disheartening, but one can argue that playing through the DBZ story has been done over and over again and there isn’t much to gain from it – but a counter argument would be that a sequel shouldn’t feature less than its predecessor. Either way the story mode is gone and it has been replaced with Galaxy Mode, which is essentially just a bunch of battles for every character in the game, where some are iconic from the anime. Some characters unlock levels for others, as they’re linked together, and more characters, artwork and other fan-related goodies are unlocked while playing. In the end, it just amounts to continuous fighting, where some battles will have certain conditions for you to meet in order to get the higher rankings – and what’s irritating is that some of these conditions can make for very frustrating battles that require a number of retries before success. The main problem, however, is that because there are so many characters in the game, it can be a tedious and repetitive chore to play Galaxy Mode to unlock them all.
Galaxy Mode, however, is one mode that falls under Single Play, which is the place where you’ll also be able to play the tutorial mode, training and Battle Zone, which is basically just a string of battles with a boss at the end. There is Battle Mode, for single, team or power battles with the computer or a friend through split-screen and of course Online Battle, which is exactly what it sounds like. The final game mode is World Tournament, where you’ll basically choose to play either the World Tournament or Cell Games and see how well you do. Before diving into any of the moves, especially if you haven’t played the original game, it would be highly advisable to play through the tutorial mode, as this game is quite a bit more advanced than you’d expect from a Dragon Ball Z game, and it’s really of critical importance to you to learn the movement, blocking, dodging and countering controls. The last thing to take notice of is the Museum, which is basically the domain of fan service, as it allows you to read character encyclopedias, check out artwork you’ve unlocked, listen to character voices and watch replays. It’s a feature for the hardcore fans, but in all likelihood it will be left ignored.
Gameplay wise, not much has changed since the original game. Basically, to newcomers, you’ll control your favourite characters in large, open environments and will be free to fly around, beat up your opponents, perform combos, smash hits and use all of the signature attacks from the series. Perhaps one of the more enjoyable aspects of the game is that each character has all of their transformations open to them from the beginning, and only certain variations, such as Majin Vegeta and Mystic Gohan, appear as separate characters. To elaborate, if you’re choosing to play as Goku, you’ll be able to ascend right through from Super Saiyan to Super Saiyan 3, as well as descend, at any time in battle. Naturally, the different transformations have new attack moves and ultimates, and in addition you’re able to customise each level of transformation of any character to have the attacks you wish them to. Special moves are activated by use of the right analogue stick, so you’re able to assign four special moves to each character and their respective transformation stages.
In addition to the four special moves, each character has an ultimate attack that is activated by clicking down the right analogue stick, and you’re only able to use an ultimate once you’ve charged up to maximum KI, entering High Tension mode. High Tension is where your KI meter will turn blue and electricity will dance around it, and you’ll gain access to ultimate attacks and Rage mode. The latter basically increases your speed, and allows you to pull off ridiculous combos and deal huge amounts of damage with them, but the drawback is that you lose the ability to use your ultimate attack and special moves. Now these are all well and good, but a little problem comes in with the melee combat system. While it looks stylish and fast paced, and requires a fair amount of learning to get to grips with how the game works, these melee combos can end up often being too difficult to escape if you cheaply mix up your combos, because the timing for escaping or countering is really tight. It can almost seem as if it’s left mostly up to luck rather than skillful timing at times, but this game is a bit more advanced than shallow, and it can be quite entertaining if you make the effort to learn it.
The best thing about Raging Blast 2 is that it manages to capture the feeling of Dragon Ball Z really well with regards to the fighting. Battles are really fast paced, and you’ll be able to go head to head with your opponent on the ground or in the air at the blink of an eye. You’ll fly around, close in on your enemy with huge bursts of speed, fire gigantic energy beams at him and send him flying through large objects in the environment with smash hits, reducing them to rubble. It’s packed with all the things fans will love from the series, and it can be enjoyed a lot more this time around due to the fixing of the frustrating camera that was featured in the first game. Sure tracking and locking on isn’t that easy and, for instance, it can be annoying to be unable to see your enemy due to him being just above you, but battles are enjoyable for the most part and the camera doesn’t hold back the game as it did before. The only real complaint with the camera would come with split-screen play, but that’s really because your vision is limited, and the problem isn’t present online and in single play.
However, despite all the good things said about the game so far, there is another severe problem with it, and that’s ultimately with the characters. Despite there being an enormous amount to choose from, round about 90 in total, which includes all of the characters’ transformations and separate alternate forms, many of them feel almost identical, and many basically have the same moves, or slight variations of other moves, and play the same way. It can make the large roster feel limited, but a point in the game’s favour is that characters from all over the Dragon Ball universe have been put into the game, including characters from the movies, as well as unique Raging Blast characters such as Super Saiyan 3 Vegeta and Broly, who were featured in the original game. This makes it the definite game for fans who can’t get enough of the Dragon Ball universe, and this game is undoubtedly the full package as far as characters are concerned.
When it comes to visuals, Raging Blast 2 has its ups and downs. The character models look fantastic, mirroring their TV show counterparts. They all animate really well too, and it’s great to watch the characters battle on screen. The environments, however, disappoint as they can be bland and inconsistent, in that the water effects in a map would look really good but the rest wouldn’t. What makes up for it a little though is that many parts of the environment can be destroyed, altering the terrain and giving a more DBZ feeling to the game. With regards to audio, some of the characters have their original voice actors, but many also don’t, and unfortunately the fill-ins can be annoying at times. Characters will banter back and forth in fights, especially in key matches such as Goku against Vegeta, and it’s really just a nice touch for fans. All in all, Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 hasn’t improved dramatically over its predecessor in this area, but then again pretty much the same can be said for almost the entire game, as it’s still more or less the same.
The question of whether you should buy Raging Blast 2 or not basically comes down to a handful of things. If you’ve played the first one and didn’t enjoy it, then chances are you will not enjoy this game either, because it’s mostly the same game. If you have the first game and loved it, then you should be cautious in your approach to Raging Blast 2 by virtue of the fact that not much is different, but if you feel that more characters and moves, and overall more of the same with some improvements here and there, are reasons enough to get the game, then you will not be disappointed. To the hardcore fans of DBZ who have not played Raging Blast at all, this game should definitely be in the picture, and it would in all likelihood be a purchase you would not regret making and a game you will very much enjoy playing. In the end though, purely standing on its own, Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 is a fan dream, and an all-round decent game.