Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2

Raging Blast 2 Generates Lots of Rage

Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 should be avoided unless you're a fanboy. And even then...
Author: Andy Curtiss
Published: November 25, 2010
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Reviewing Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 felt like deja vu after my recent crack at Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2. Like the Naruto series I've only seen a scant two or three total episodes of Dragon Ball. So like my review for Naruto, I went into this review not knowing much about the series. What I do know, however, are fighting games. Aside from RPGs, fighting games are my genre of choice. Throughout the years I've played many an obscure fighting game for all the various consoles. I've also owned just about every game put out by all the major series (ie: Soul Calibur, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Dead or Alive, etc..). So I went into this review of Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 (DBRB2) with two perspectives: first from the point of view of someone who has played a lot of fighting games and has a healthy respect for the genre. And second from the point of view of someone who doesn't know the Dragon Ball series.

That being said, let's talk first about DBRB2 as a fighting game. The first thing that sticks out are the controls. It's funny because some of the functions are excessively easy to pull off - like the special moves. Everyone's special moves (ie: massive fire balls, power waves, crazy combos, etc...) are done simply by using the right joystick. That's right... just move the joystick. But then you have at least seven different ways to perform a simple dash. There's regular dashing, super dashing, homing dashing, quick dashing, dash cancels and so forth. And depending on the dash you're required to hit a combination of directions, the x button and some times the block button - all timed perfectly. So it seems like the controls have the priorities a tad mixed up. Normal melee attacks and combos are easy enough to pull of using the square button mashed multiple times. Or you can choose to mash the square button several times, then end with the triangle button to finish the combo off. However, pressing triangle outside of a combo throws a projectile. I found that just a tiny bit counter-intuitive. Both square and triangle can be pushed and held to charge up a melee attack or projectile for extra damage and knock back. So while it's pretty easy to learn the basics, you find yourself inundated with little extras (like twenty different dashes) that are totally unnecessary and hard to even keep straight in your head.

On the plus side though, the controls for flying are quite easy to use which does actually add something to the game. Combined with the 3-D movement, you have a fighting game with 100% mobility. You really can take the fighting just about anywhere. You're not limited to a little ring. And it's always fun to lure your enemy up into the air, and then blast him through that hill way off in the distance. Which actually brings me to my other point of interest - the stages. The developers did a good job of making the game TOTALLY mobile, but then also giving you big, open stages. Most of the stages have something in them that can be demolished by throwing your enemy around like a ragdoll.

The fun of flying in open-air stages only takes the game so far... considering that there is no story mode. I literally found myself saying, "Why do I care?" Not that fighting games are known for their strong stories all the time. But generally you have some kind of story premise to know WHY all the fighting is taking place. DBRB2 doesn't even try to do any of this. And the characters themselves aren't given any backstory during the progress of the game. The developer at least saw fit to have an Encyclopedia function where I could read a profile of each character, but the profiles read as if they assume you know about the Dragon Ball series already. Even the latest Naruto game tried to have a story mode so you had something to hook you into playing. With no story mode, vague and uninteresting character explanations, and no description of virtually anything, I had no desire to keep playing this game beyond four or five matches. I ended up having to force myself based on my commitment to reviewing the game.
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