Dragon Ball is definitely a large phenomenon that has been going strong for years. There are countless games, movies, TV shows and toys all dedicated to the series and it shows no signs of fading anytime soon. Namco Bandai has taken the series to new directions as far as fighting games are concerned. The Raging Blast series has taken the simple mechanics of earlier DBZ brawlers and made it more complex and fan-oriented. While some of it works and all of it sounds good on paper, the end result is sometimes more convoluted than it needs to be.
The original Raging Blast was chock full of content and the sequel is no different. There are now more than 90 characters to choose from, which is the definition of fan service. Sure it sounds impressive, but most of them follow the same control scheme and differ only in appearance. Still being able to play as nearly any of your favorite characters is a nice touch. The presentation of these characters is also dead-on. Hearing each one bellow out their unique screams and animations is a treat for fans of the series.
The game is also chock full of environments from the universe. To be fair though only a few of them are new to the sequel, but it is still an impressive list of environments. There are also a bevy of modes at your disposal including a tournament mode, online, standard single player and even the ability to recreate showdowns from the universe. Namco Bandai really has done an outstanding job of capturing what makes the show and placing it into the game. Still there is a lot of recycled content here and those that already own the first Raging Blast may be a bit upset at the lack of new content. Raging Blast 2 definitely feels more like a fleshed-out version of the first game as opposed to an all-new sequel.
Where Raging Blast 2 stumbles is about the same as its predecessor. The combat mechanics fail to strike a nice balance between complex and user-friendly. Sure anyone can pick up the controller and mash their way to victory, but in order to pull off some of the more elaborate combos, you really need to practice. While this is the method behind most fighting games, rarely does learning these fancy combos actually hinder your playing. Raging Blast 2 has some awesome moves. Most of them however, are pointless as button mashers will simply spam away at you while you are attempting to pull them off. This makes learning the flashier combos nearly pointless.
If you can get past that and just enjoy the game for what it is though there is plenty of fun to be had. As I mentioned performing standard moves is cake, and there is even a new power-up that makes melee attacks actually worthwhile unlike the first game. The fan service dips into the combat as well. While the fighters may all feel the same and play the same, their presentation is anything but. The flashy camera angles and special effects that are displayed during these ultimate moves are worth performing them alone. Seeing your favorite characters perform their signature moves is definitely one of the highlights of the game.
Speaking of presentation this is certainly one fine looking title. Capturing anime in videogame form has become an art for Namco Bandai. They really know how to embed these worlds into interactive entertainment. As I have mentioned the super attacks are the show stealer, but even the core graphics are gorgeous to look at. Sure it may not be leaps and bounds above last year’s game, but it is still aesthetically impressive. The game moves at a lightning fast clip rarely dropping a frame. The audio is just as impressive featuring both English and Japanese tracks. Everything about the game screams fan service and it is nice to see developers really pouring their hearts into recreating these amazing worlds.
There is so much content on the disc that it is hard not to recommend the game to DBZ fans. Sure the combat can be frustrating at times, but once you get past that this is one collection of fan service that should not be missed. Those that doled out the cash for last year’s version may want to wait for a price drop as the added content isn’t exactly substantial, but if you have yet to take the plunge the time has never been better. Dragon Ball fans should not hesitate to add this to their collection. General fighting game fans may want to look elsewhere for their fix.
Review copy provided by publisher.