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Dragon Ball: Raging Blast review

All new developer, same old balls

Pros

  • Crisp DBZ looks
  • Meaty roster
  • Faithful to the material

Cons

  • Narrative-constricted combat
  • Repetitive battle rhythm
  • Alienates gamers to appease the fans

Sorry Dragon Ball Z. These titles are a unique presence on the fighting calendar; an imposter of sorts. Squint and it almost looks like a beat-%26lsquo;em-up: meaty roster, health bars, combos and counters; people could fall for it. Boot it up and the facade thuds to the ground. Throw a punch, sure, but only if Dragon Ball lore foretells it.

You see, Raging Blast is less a brawler than a historical re-creation simulation. The aim of the game isn%26rsquo;t to master one character and prove prowess over all others, but to recall the plot of Dragon Ball and ensure the episodes play without deviation. So: Goku and Piccolo pair up against Raditz not because this is a tag-team of strategic note, but because this is how it played out in the manga.

Hopping between characters through a disjointed solo mode is one thing. When narrative beats begin to interrupt our fighting? We no like. Imagine a beating in progress. Darting into the sky, Goku charges a furious flurry of chi, only for a cutscene to butt in %26ndash; Goku didn%26rsquo;t win like this, after all. At best it throws your concentration, at worst it kicks you in the nuts, swapping characters on a whim or healing an opponent because %26lsquo;this is when he magically revived in the manga%26rsquo;. Crazy.

Ignore the fanboyishness ingrained in the code and Raging Blast remains a disaster. Combat revolves around charging up super attacks, those mile-wide lightshows that define the series. Charging can%26rsquo;t be done on the move, turning matches into bizarro bouts of evasive hide and seek. A cycle emerges: lob foes into the stratosphere, squat behind a mountain and crank out enough power to insta-melt the spiky haired sucker opposite you with a super-duper space blast.

Are we missing the point here? Is Raging Blast simply fan service taken to its alarming logical conclusion? Several sagas%26rsquo; worth of brawling, what-if scenarios (what if Kid Trunks fought Future Trunks, etc) and encyclopaedic factoids would suggest as much, but there%26rsquo;s little here you couldn%26rsquo;t get from vegging out with anime. Hey, at least the show isn%26rsquo;t interrupted with truly awful interactive brawling every two minutes.

Nov 10, 2009

More Info

GenreFighting
Description<p>Even with 70 characters, HD visuals and very destructible environments, this is just more of the same from the DBZ series and is too closely aimed at Dragonball fanboys.</p>
Franchise nameDragon Ball
UK franchise nameDragon Ball Z
PlatformPS3, Xbox 360
US censor ratingTeen, Teen
UK censor rating12+, 12+
Release date:10 November 2009 (US), 13 November 2009 (UK)
Available platforms:Xbox 360
Genre:Fighting
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