Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 – The PS3 Attitude review
Creating a 3D fighter based on a long-running anime is a massive challenge. Fans expect all the characters to be in the game, and for every one of them to be equipped with their special moves. That’s before considering how to recreate the unique fighting experience; which is destructive and fast with lots of verticality.
Raging Blast 2, like its predecessors, is a true 3D fighter. Its free-roaming one-on-one battles are fought on large (fairly) destructible stages. The fighting isn’t consigned to the land either; you’ll spend as much time flying through the sky as you do on the ground. As the camera is often zoomed in close, it can get disorientating, and you’ll regularly lose sight of your opponent following a combo, but the flip side of this is that the attacks feel weighty.
It’s not all close quarters combat however; the game makes good use of its huge stages. Charge attacks (ie, hold down square) will send your opponent flying across the stage, and another quick press of square will see your character teleporting across the map to hit a devastating smash attack. Alternatively you could have pressed X following the charge attack, which would have sent your character after them, so you can get another shot at throwing them around the arena. It’s a bit like pinball.
The most basic moves are rush and smash attacks, both close range moves. The former can be used (by pressing square) to chain up combos while the latter mixes square and triangle button presses to produce more powerful attacks. Different combos can be made by varying your button choices.
Ki blasts (balls of energy) offer a ranged option; pressing triangle fires them. They’re not very powerful but they can be useful in certain situations. They’re good for stopping your opponent from charging up a powerful attack.
The signature skills aren’t particularly satisfying. These are moves unique to the character; they are mapped to the circle button. They are not responsive and neither do they feel powerful. However, this can vary between characters.
The best moves, without a doubt, are the super attacks and the ultimate super attacks. These powerful moves cause massive damage, and they’re pretty flashy to boot. Just as they are in the anime, they are the highlight of Dragon Blast 2’s combat. Each character has four super attacks, mapped to the four directions of the right thumbstick.
Not all of the super attacks are flashy, some offer benefits like increased dodging skills for a limited period of time. As you progress through the game more attacks will become unlocked, which will give you the chance to pick and choose between your favourites.
The special attacks can’t be used at any time, you just need to have enough ki. You can charge your ki by landing rush attacks, or by holding down on the d pad. This sends your character into charge mode. The obvious benefit is that you will be able to use extremely powerful moves, but you will be vulnerable to attacks while charging.
New to Raging Blast is raging soul. You can activate raging soul once your ki gauge has maxed out. It’s an alternative option to using an ultimate super attack. Raging soul heavily increases your stats so you can do a lot of damage with your basic moves, but you won’t be able to use any special attacks.
As you can see, Raging Blast 2 for the most part has a strong selection of attacks, and Spike, the game’s developer, has clearly put in a lot of time into making sure each attack feels powerful and exciting. The drawback to all this is that the gameplay can often feel out of your hands.
It’s certainly not the most nuanced game. This is pretty evident when analysing the defensive side. Dodging and blocking is such a key aspect of Raging Blast 2’s gameplay, but it always feels sluggish and unreliable. This sluggishness can be found in most of the mechanics.
If you’re new to this type of game, you may find some of the gameplay pretty awkward, and downright dull, at first. You will be pressing square all the time and running into some trouble. You need to show some patience, and invest some time, and it’ll start to open up for you. You’ll soon be taking part in fights like the one shown in the video above.
There is a tutorial in the game which can be used to get you up to scratch; all beginners should sit though it even if it is lengthy and slow. Even the tutorial has its problems; it’s not always clear what you should be doing, and it doesn’t explain to you when you should be timing your moves. Still, it teaches you some invaluable tools.
It’s hard to imagine Dragon Ball Z fans being disappointed with Raging Blast 2. The moves pack the punch of the anime; they’ll love how stylish it is. They’ll especially appreciate having around 100 characters to choose from (including transformations). Although we should say: there are lots of variations of the same character in the game. Most of them play very similarly too.
Raging Blast 2′s main new mode is called galaxy mode. In this mode, the player is faced with a series of battles where the odds are stacked up against them. Other games will see them being outnumbered by two or more enemies, who take turns in entering the field. The most cruel challenge is when you have to fight from near-death. Basically one hit kills you.
Aside from galaxy, there is battle zone mode. This takes the player through several fights before taking on the zone’s boss. There is also a world championship knockout mode. The online side of things is pretty rich as well. You can set up tournaments online, or you can simply take part in ranked or unranked fights.
Raging Blast 2 is a rewarding game. After victories you’ll see many large “unlocked” signs appear, it’s telling you that you’ve unlocked moves, items, encyclopaedia entries and more.
There’s even a full 30 minute episode of anime sitting on the disc; it’s called ‘Plan to Eradicate the Super Saiyans.’ So there are lots of things for Dragon Ball Z fans to enjoy in Raging Blast 2. It has its flaws (camera issues, unresponsive controls) but it’s also a very stylish game. If you learn to play it right.