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Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 review

Mediocre
AT A GLANCE
  • Fast, over-the-top battles that do the DBZ license proud
  • A ridiculous number of characters to choose from
  • Unlockable attacks and items
  • Story mode that lacks, well, a story
  • Shallow combat that quickly becomes repetitive
  • Clunky camera can't keep up with the action

We've been doing this videogame reviewer racket for quite some time now, so we figure that makes us pretty qualified… as psychologists. And Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2, well, it's having an identity crisis if we've ever seen one. (We haven't). On one hand, it's undeniably Dragon Ball. You've got big men, bigger hair, and high-flying fisticuffs that make wire-fu films look downright plausible. However – probably in response to the super saiyan beating the first Raging Blast took from critics – Raging Blast 2 has opted to tone down its cutscene-heavy fan service, resulting in a game that's neither a perfume-scented love letter to fans nor a balanced, responsive option for fighting game nuts.


Above: A tale of souls and hair that's sharper than swords, eternally retold

This time around, the game's single-player story – known as Galaxy Mode – cuts out cutscenes altogether, essentially reducing the plot down to “Man/robot/alien 1 is angry. So is man/robot/alien 2. Punching ensues.” And no, we're not asking for a tear-jerking, thought-provoking masterwork from friggin' Dragon Ball, but the series has always thrived as much on build up as it has face-smashing, and without that, fights lose the epic, climactic feel that inspired so much rabid fandom in the first place. Instead of an actual plot, all Raging Blast 2 gives us is pre and post-fight trash talk, much of which doesn't even make any sense (Super Saiyan Trunks: “Hah! I didn't even need to go super saiyan to beat you!”).

In the end, Galaxy Mode boils down to a series of challenges – for instance, smash this guy until his body is composed of over 9000 bone fragments in under 60 seconds – with rewards that range from new attacks and stat boosts to images and things of the like for perusal in the game's museum. In theory, it sounds like a perfect blend of fan-pandering and addictive character-tweaking, but sadly, the museum's stock of still images is about as exciting as a convenience store postcard rack, and customizing your character doesn't alter the underlying combat enough to prevent it from quickly devolving into rote repetition.


Above: We're just gonna go with “ouch”

The only other single-player mode – aside from tutorial and training – is a long-form take on an arcade mode. You know, mop the floor with one character, then put your fistic janitorial prowess to the test against a slightly tougher fighter, and so on and so on. Again, it's nothing that will hold your attention beyond the point where you realize pretty much every single one of the game's 90 or so characters plays more or less the same way – with even flashy special attacks essentially putting on different nametags and then saying, “No, no. I'm totally not that guy who was just here a second ago.”

Now, that's not to say the fighting's all bad. It definitely captures the madcap pace and bone-shattering feel of a Dragon Ball Z battle, and it's even pretty fun – at first, anyway. Problem is, the combat's nowhere near deep or varied enough to support a fighting game all by its lonesome. Granted, with Raging Blast 2, it's taken baby steps in the right direction, with pursuit attacks keeping the action lightning-quick and relentless while Raging Soul and High Tension (both results of powering up) provide new avenues to ultra-powerful super attacks. Even then, however, those features are undone by a camera that frequently loses track of your opponent and some odd timing quirks that often result in your character bull-rushing an opponent, only to come to an abrupt halt right in his/her face and politely demand a nice kick in the teeth.


Above: An accurate depiction of what many historians believe David versus Goliath looked nothing like

Multiplayer, too, is a no-frills affair, running the usual fighting game gamut of one-on-one, team battle, and tournaments. Taking your customized characters online is definitely the high point here, but again, there's not all that much to do once you're there. There's also a small twist on team battle that forces you to choose characters within a certain power level range, but why play a Dragon Ball game if you're only gonna swim in the shallow end of the power level pool? Isn't that sort of missing the point?

But then, we suppose that describes Raging Blast 2 in a nutshell. It tries to cater to both fight fans and Dragon Ball's frighteningly devoted legion, yet fails to really hit the mark on either side. Instead, the game seems to be caught in an awkward in-between phase, and we can only hope it'll find its way out in time for the inevitable follow-up.

Nov 2, 2010

More Info

Release date: Nov 02 2010 - Xbox 360, PS3 (US)
Oct 01 2010 - Xbox 360, PS3 (UK)
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3
Genre: Fighting
Published by: Namco Bandai
Developed by: Spike
Franchise: Dragon Ball
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Cartoon Violence, Suggestive Themes, Mild Language, Mild Blood
PEGI Rating:
12+

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7 comments

  • nemesisuprising - June 25, 2011 12:35 a.m.

    @BigBoss213 dude...im hoping your kidding, because the did exactly that a while ago...it was fun...but uhhhh...BEEN DONE (lol rhyme)but what they need to do is deliver on past ideas like REAL customization of existing characters, character creation, more interactive stages, and very different characters with their own pros and cons, ive been playin these games since I was like 5 and got every single one since so I know wut this series needs haha
  • BigBoss213 - December 4, 2010 7:04 p.m.

    they really need to be more creative with DBZ.They should make one with some kind of free roam with some RPG element.something besides just another fighting game.
  • TNK2 - November 3, 2010 5:07 a.m.

    This proves Budokai 3(Original not Tenkaichi) is still the best DBZ game ever and was the only DBZ game that was ever in any major fighting game Tournament.
  • ThatGamerDude - November 3, 2010 3:01 a.m.

    Tenkaichi 1-3 were the best DBZ fighting games period. ReCaptcha: Judoware CODE- my COD clan has judoware for you if you join.
  • Larinah - November 2, 2010 6:12 p.m.

    Tenkaichi 1-3 was the high point in DBZ fighting games. They need to start taking more pages from them when it comes to these games so we get less 5s and more 8-10s. "Those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it..." =/
  • shimrra - November 2, 2010 6:06 p.m.

    There was only 2 DBZ games I enjoyed in all my years. Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit on the 360 and Dragon Ball Z 2 on the SNES.
  • Manguy17 - November 2, 2010 4:52 p.m.

    Seems none of the new Dragonball games are very good, i can still enjoy DBZ Budokai Tenkaichi 3 on wii.

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