|System: PS3, X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Spike||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Namco Bandai||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 2, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by DMarcus Beatty
Dragon Ball Z is one of the most well-known and popular anime series in America. As one of the first Japanese cartoons to reach the mainstream, the glowing, muscular heroes of DBZ are nearly synonymous with anime to the average American.
While a lot of anime junkies find themselves drawn to the relatively newer Naruto games, there is a strong annual following for each years addition to the Dragon Ball gaming universe. However, basing a game on a series that hasnt had any new episodes for over a decade comes with a particular problem. How do you keep an annual game fresh when there havent been any new episodes in two decades? Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2, the sequel to last years Raging Blast, attempts to do this by adding a few features never before seen in a DBZ game.
Raging Blast 2 continues the formula set in place by last years Raging Blast. For anyone whos been away from DBZ gaming for a while, Raging Blast is a kind of high-definition, easier-to-say version of the Budokai Tenkaichi series. You take control of the protagonists (and antagonists occasionally) of the Dragon Ball Z sagas and recreate any of the numerous, planet-shattering battles.
Raging Blast 2 adds quite a few of the expected features. The graphics are a bit sharper than the last iteration, with crisp, cel-shaded visuals that leap out at the player. Of course, quite a while ago, the look of the games progressed beyond the anime, and Raging Blast 2 definitely keeps up that tradition. Each of the characters sports much more detail than the impressive character models in the previous game.
Speaking of characters, Raging Blast 2 wouldnt be much of a sequel without the addition of a few new characters. RB2 adds twenty characters to the roster, bringing the total character count to over ninety. The characters include old stalwarts such as Goku, Vegeta, and Krillin, but bring in a few that are new to the Raging Blast series like Ultimate Gohan, Turles, Cooler, and Mecha Frieza. What-if characters Super Saiyan 3 Vegeta and Broly are still counted among the fighters along with the inclusion of a few characters who have never appeared in a DBZ game. A few of the characters in the last category include Cooler's henchmen Doore and Neiz, Androids 14 and 15, Vegetas younger brother Tarble, and the villain Hatchiyack.
If youve never heard of some of the new characters, especially Tarble and Hatchiyack, you can be forgiven. Tarble was introduced in a Japan-only Dragon Ball animated feature Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!! Similarly, Hatchiyack was only seen in an even rarer OVA The Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans, which first found life as a Famicom game Visual Guide and then later as a Playdia digital comic. While neither of these features have ever been officially released in North America, at least one of these features will break that trend soon. Renamed The Plan To Eradicate The Super Saiyans for North America, Spike plans to include a reconstructed and rescripted version of the original episode, subtitled in English and playable out of the box. This alone is a treat for DBZ fans, many of whom may have never heard of this obscure feature, and others who will see it translated into English for the first time.
Of course, the same frenetic gameplay from before returns. Players can expect to unleash the same hyper powered explosive attacks at one another. As always, players can knock their opponents away with powerful attacks and pursue them, knocking them around like a ping pong ball. The new Galaxy Mode allows the player to choose a character and play in all their epic battles, shifting the focus from individual sagas to the characters. Raging Blast 2 also introduces the Raging Soul System, which allows the player to power up to perform more powerful attacks. More details of that should be forthcoming in the future.
Of course, online play is a given for this fighting game. Players can take the World Tournament Mode and go online to challenge other players to establish their dominance. World Tournament allows people to recreate the World Tournament of the anime, with eight players battling against each other for the title.
Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 is the latest iteration of the popular DBZ game and is highly anticipated by fans of the anime. With the unprecedented inclusion of a rare, new to North America OVA, DBZ fans will be clamoring for this game. Add in the new gameplay features, new characters, and enhanced fighting, as well as online play, and Raging Blast 2 should be a dream come true for anime aficionados when it releases this fall.
CCC Freelance Writer