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I’ll openly admit that I am a fan of Dragonball Z and have been for quite some time. The last game based on the Dragonball franchise I bought was Dragonball: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 and that was a pleasurable experience. Moving right along..

Style
Raging Blast 2 is easily the most aesthetically pleasing of any Dragonball Z game I’ve played. It’s not really easy to convert an anime into 3D and make it look good at the same time but I think Spike have managed it with this game. From the characters I’ve used, they look great and in proportion. The environments are visually stunning for an anime game at least until you start blowing them up. Everything ki related is flashy and done with style – simply put, things looked like they should. Although, to be perfectly honest, there doesn’t seem to be a marketable improvement over the last of the Budokai Tenkaichi series.

Characters
One of the good things about Raging Blast 2 is that it has an extensive character roster, with something like up to and possibly over 100 different characters from the Dragonball universe able to be selected, though many are locked to begin with (this figure includes transformations though, I believe). 6 characters in the form of Hatchiyak, Androids 14 & 15, Tarble, Neiz and Doore make their first appearance in a Dragonball game. It’s probably at this point where I begin to run out of good things to write about this game.

Game Modes
Raging Blast 2 features several game modes such as Galaxy Mode, Battle Zone, World Tournament and the ability to go online and beat up other Dragonball fans. Great right? Well.. not so much. This game is left with a glaring hole in the form of no story mode to speak of. At first, I thought Galaxy mode was intended to be the replacement for the traditional story mode but how wrong I was. Galaxy Mode is, essentially, just a series of fights each with their own condition to ‘pass’ and move onto the next fight. There isn’t any theme or order in which those you fight appear.

Most hardcore DBZ fans know the stories and while I cannot speak for everyone, I personally enjoy being able to play through them especially with a few what if scenarios thrown into the mix. But Spike didn’t even attempt to even write some generic story for Galaxy Mode. Battle Zone is pretty much standard fare and it didn’t really blow me away or disappoint me in any capacity. The World Tournament I found to be a let down though as well and it’s a pretty simple one.

The iconic World Tournament Announcer.. does not sound like the Iconic World Tournament Announcer. Not only that, but you have to unlock his speech phrases to get the full experience. For the life of me I cannot understand why the developers would make this design decision. I lasted about one online match after I soon realised that the only other people that would be playing the game online were somewhere else in the world, which meant the fights would be subject to lag – So I can’t really judge multi-player online from that one fight (Which I got beat down with consummate ease, might I add).

Dragonball Raging Blast 2

Combat/Gameplay
The quintessential feature of any Versus Fighting genre of game, combat is likely going to be the do or die aspect. But sadly, combat in this was also a let down. It’s a mixture of overly complicated controls and button mashing; which I realise is perhaps an odd thing to say but it is the case with Raging Blast 2. Most of the mundane ‘punch the enemy’ stuff fits into the button mashing aspect, while a lot of the cooler aspects of Dragonball combat fall into the overly complicated department.

There’s also a museum feature you can visit that contains all sorts of unlockables such as character pictures from the series, a few videos and the like.

The Saving Grace?
Dragonball: Raging Blast 2 ships with the OVA Plan to Eradicate the Super Saiyans, which when I had purchased this game, I was quite happy that I’d get to sit down and watch a Dragonball movie that I hadn’t seen before. After playing the game for a while, it almost become clear to me why it shipped with a movie in the first place. So I watched the movie, thinking it might just turn out to be the saving grace for this game. Oh boy I was wrong.

Plan to eradicate the Super Saiyans is a mere 30 minutes in length and only has the option of the Japanese voice actors with English Subtitles. Ok, I really don’t have a problem with the Japanese voice actors and English subtitles mix if what I’m watching is good.. but it wasn’t. Perhaps it was largely down to the short length of the OVA but the story felt rather mish mashed together. Earth was under attack and then several minutes later it was all good, with Bulma (bless her genius) making the save with an antidote for the destron gas so quickly). Then, all of a sudden our four super saiyans (Goku, Vegeta, Gohan and Trunks) along with Piccolo were no longer on Earth.

With no lead up to it all, our valiant heroes were on a different planet ready to do battle with the evil threatening Earth. A little dialogue and fight occurs between the ghost of a Truffle scientist who had created Hatchiyak and the Z-Fighters, before the real deal appears. The super evil bad guy smacks them around for a few minutes, until Goku works out his weakness and working together the Z-fighters destroy Hatchiyak. Story over.

The movie Dragonball Evolution was a massive disappointment and I am inclined to suggest that Raging Blast 2 might just be of similar caliber but of the video game department. It, like DBE, was an experience I would be all too happy being able to forget. I’m sure there are people out there that enjoy the game much more than I did, same as there are some people out there that enjoyed Dragonball Evolution (albeit in rather small numbers and are not likely to admit to liking it). At the risk of delivering the rating in a cheesy manner..

Nappa – “Vegeta, what does the scouter say?”

Vegeta “Four and a half out of Ten!

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