Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 was released today in North America for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. There is no shortage of Dragon Ball Z fighting games these days so what makes this one any different? Is it worth the price of admission or is it simply another attempt to cash in on a popular anime franchise?
Raging Blast 2 has an in-depth single player called Galaxy Mode where you pick a character and play through their unique story. With a roster of over 64 characters, this makes for a rather lengthy campaign. Of course, there can only be so many fights for each character that would stay true to the show so there are also several “what if” fights embedded in each storyline. For example, what if Cui fought Frieza? Galaxy mode also has several RPG-like elements such as acquiring and equipping items, customizing your super attacks, and even a sort of leveling up system which further increases the amount of time you can get out of it. Each item that you equip requires you to have a certain amount of “limit points” available. You can increase the maximum number of limit points each character has by winning battles with them so as you win more fights, you’ll be able to equip more items and thus grow stronger and stronger.
The environments of Raging Blast 2 are completely interactive and destroyable. Whether it be smashing your opponent through a mountain or immersing yourself underwater to hide, you can do it. There are even times when you can pin your opponent against the side of a cliff and beat them senseless.
The size of the battle area is massive. You can distance yourself from your opponent to the point they are merely a speck on the horizon. You can’t simply run away from your opponent the whole fight like a coward, however, because the gap can be closed very quickly by super dashing. Fans of the show will recognize this as “power flying,” when the character becomes engulfed in an aura of ki and can move and fly much faster than normal. Control is very smooth, allowing you to maneuver around and above the battlefield at will.
Hit detection is also very good which is important for any fighting game. Character animations are fluidic and the voice acting actually adds to the atmosphere of the game instead of just being an annoyance. You can tell that Raging Blast 2 was polished a bit more than previous Dragon Ball fighters.
One problem that Raging Blast 2 faces is that the controls are maddeningly complex. With vanishing attacks, pursuit attacks, super attacks, ki attacks, ultimate attacks, signature attacks, charge attacks, three different types of dashes, and several techniques unique to the Dragon Ball world such as transformations and fusion, you’re definitely going to want to check out the tutorial before you dive into the gameplay. Even with the tutorial, there is a frustratingly high learning curve to successfully take advantage of all the different techniques at your disposal. As with any fighting game, there is always the tactic/problem of spamming your super attacks, which still proves to be quite a successful strategy in Raging Blast 2 despite its level of complexity.
Raging Blast 2 also adds a new “Raging Soul” mode not found in the original. Characters can enter Raging Soul while at high tension. While in this state, their attack, defense, and speed are all drastically amplified. The drawback is that you are unable to use super attacks while in this mode which severely limits its usefulness. Considering you can also choose to fire off your ultimate attack when at high tension, you might as well just use that as it can inflict massive damage and end fights a lot quicker than Raging Soul.
Another issue is that you can’t change the difficulty. Instead, each stage has its own preset difficulty level. This can add to the frustration of new players when you are taking on a “very hard” foe in only your second or third fight. In order to get good at this game, you’ll need to be like a Saiyan; get your butt whooped a bunch of times and hope to come back better than before. Even veterans of other Dragon Ball fighters will have a hard time getting acclimated to the complexity of Raging Blast 2 right away.
Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 is a pretty good fighter that successfully captures the essence of the show. For all that it does right as a fighting game, Raging Blast 2 will most likely only appeal to hardcore DBZ fans eager to finally have a good game. That said, if you are a fan of fighting games and DBZ in general, Raging Blast 2 is definitely worth checking out. You will easily get your money’s worth in the hours and hours of playtime. At the very least, Raging Blast 2 blows the likes of Burst Limit out of the water (though that doesn’t really say much).
Final Score: 4 / 5 stars
(This review was based off a review copy of the game).