|System: X360, PS3||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 D'Marcus Beatty
Dragon Ball Z is probably one of the most popular and well-known anime series in the U.S. The adventures of Goku and pals were introduced to America over a decade ago, presenting Japanese cartoons to Americans and paving the way for Naruto, Fullmetal Alchemist, and all of the myriad animes that have found their way overseas. While anime aficionados owe a great debt to Dragon Ball Z for opening the floodgates, fans must also recognize that DBZ, while well-loved, has become dated. This is most evident in the annual Dragon Ball Z games, which rehash the same stories that have been resolved for years. Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 is the latest of these games, and while it is fun, it doesn't offer up anything innovative enough to warrant a new iteration. Sadly, Raging Blast 2 is, for better or worse, Raging Blast with a few more characters.
One of the major problems presented each year for Dragon Ball Z titles is the problem of innovation. All of the DBZ fans know the sagas backwards and forwards. The Saiyan Saga, the Frieza Saga, the Cell Saga, and even the Majin Buu Sagaâ¦all of these stories have been told, retold, and explored into oblivion. It's is an understandably difficult task the developers have in attempting to make these old stories fresh for their fans, and the DBZ developers have tried a number of different methods. However, in Raging Blast, the developers seemed to have given up, nearly abandoning the story mode completely for Galaxy Mode. Galaxy Mode simply allows the player to follow a single character through their "career," battling one foe after another with little variation. The developers must have decided that since the stories have been retold so many times, they don't need to subject the player to story by providing context or cutscenes. This creates disconnect from the story and character motivation. While this is DBZ and not Shakespeare, it is always more exciting to confront Frieza as Super Saiyan Goku after witnessing Goku's rage at Krillin's death, or see Gohan explode into Super Saiyan 2. The developers also neglect the casual fans who might not know the dialogue of every episode and may become lost without a framing story.
There are quite a few modes for players to battle through. Tournament Modes allow players to battle against up to sixteen other combatants, whether computer-controlled or online opponents. Museum Mode allows you to watch replays and brush up on DBZ history and character bios. Ultimate Customize lets you alter your favorite characters' movesets and items. Obviously, there are also versus modes that let you play against friends to prove who is the galaxy's strongest warrior.
The gameplay will be familiar to anyone who has played Raging Blast, or even the Budokai Tenkaichi series. Attacks are performed with a single button, as are ki blasts. Special attacks are initiated by flicking the right analog stick in a direction, giving any character an available four special attacks and a super attack that is activated by pressing the right analog stick. For a gamer new to the series, the control scheme will take some getting used to, but dedication will unearth a fighting system that is a lot deeper than it appears. There are counters and defensive teleports that can be completed by a gamer with excellent timing. While there is deceptive depth, Raging Blast doesn't approach the subtleties of deeper fighting games like Tekken or Street Fighter, so gamers expecting multiple attack buttons, parries, or super combos should look elsewhere.
The graphics in Raging Blast are beautiful, as the games have surpassed the visuals of the anime a long time ago. The cel-shading in the character models is greatly detailed and shows a marked improvement over the original Raging Blast. However, the backgrounds are a bit bland and could have been spruced up.