The Dragon Ball Z series was one of the biggest things to hit the US shores in the 90s for numerous reasons: the allowance of mainstream anime and manga, quirky little catchphrases such as, “Over 9,000!” and of course the simple magic that was the show. Yet those powerful, stylish moves, gratuitous powering up, and urgency to save the world never really carried over when it came to a legitimate game experience. Thus, it hurts when Namco Bandai’s latest game, Raging Blast 2, doesn’t even scratch what it should for the game.
Trying to bring something different into the fighting game realm, Raging Blast 2 allows for full movement while you brawl: dodge left or right, move back and forth, and even zip around like your favorite characters did in the show in their immense battlegrounds. However, you won’t be getting a retelling, or alternate story out of the game, as the majority of the modes you’ll be playing in set you up for straight fights. Knocking down foes from each character’s past, playing online, or in 16-round tournament will definitely keep you busy, but probably not entertained.
One of my biggest issue with the game is that it’s so easy to get bored that you forget what you’re doing. Lacking a real storyline, you literally play match after match, never knowing what you’ll really get out of it – will it be a few concept pictures, or a new character? Trying to collect every little morsel and obtain the full 50-character roster is just time consuming, and made only for the true Dragon Ball Z fans.
Speaking of true fans, you’ll have to be to get any real work in with the control scheme. Another big issue with the game, each character has a plethora of different moves and special attacks, each one having a very distinct button combination. That button combination is nearly impossible to hit correctly, thanks to the horrendous timing in the game. Given that the series is based on dashing attacks, blitzing your opponent with kai blasts and speed, and stringing together insane combos, it’s nearly impossible to get that unless you’re completely dedicated to learning the control scheme.
What’s worse, button mashing is exponentially more effective than trying to learn the real commands. It’s a big problem when spamming the random buttons works better than knowing how to control you character. Even with the fantastic addition of the real voices from both the English and Japanese dubs and their ridiculous screaming as they charge up for a special attack… it’s just not enough to offset how insanely pitiful the controls are.
Raging Blast 2 does a least bring the Dragon Ball Z world to life: with it’s cel-shaded characters and animations coupled with the lifeless, dead fighting stages, you really feel like you’re in an episode. Wishing that Namco Bandi had actually done a little more work and ignored what the show considered a background, it would have been nice to zip and fly around in a densely-populated city.
In the end, Raging Blast 2 just doesn’t cut it as a fighting game, but rather a forced game for Dragon Ball Z aficionados. The collectibles and unlockables will be something to keep you busy, while you desperately try and hammer down those combinations, but that’s about it. Even then, there may only be a few extra minutes worth of your day, but at least you can see that wonderful idea of Vegeta that never was.
ZoKnowsGaming tosses this one aside, giving Dragon Ball Z: Raging Blast 2 a mere 3 out of 10. Maybe with more attention to detail and real fighting, it would suit better.