Dragon Ball has been around for about 20 years. Through those 20 years there have been several Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and Dragon Ball GT games. Some of those games have been good and brought something new and exciting to the series, and most of them have been bad not living up to the greatness the anime or the manga. However, people keep asking for more. Where does this game stock up in the series?
Let me start out by saying that this game is huge. There are about 90 playable characters each with their own version of a story mode. This story mode lets players unlock more characters and more moves for those who like to create their own custom move set. There is battle game mode, which is kind of equivalent to the game series mode (where the player would fight in the series of fights just like the anime and the manga). Aside from those two modes, there is battle tournament, online mode, a movie viewer, and a picture viewer. The battle tournament is straightforward and you fight two CPU characters, two player characters, or one player versus one CPU per match. This mode is common to all Dragon Ball fighting games. Playing online can be a mixed bag, there is little or no lag when fighting other players, however there are times that it can be frustrating –players will often preform moves that would seem cheap even to the most veteran player to the Dragon Ball games.
Gameplay is as balanced as it can be for the various characters. The developer added all the moves that people who are a fan of the series know and love. However, most of the special moves will have to be unlocked if gamers want to play the story mode with their custom character. Moves can be easily pulled off as long as the players have the appropriate power level with button press. This makes the action fast paced and fluid just like in the anime.
The only gripe about the gameplay is the camera angles. At times when moving around on land, sea, or air the player can move faster then the camera. There is also an issue when two characters are on different elevation and the camera cannot seems to find the opponent.
The audio is very good. The background songs go along with the action and have a very fast upbeat tempo. When players go into a power mode the music changes to emphasize said change. There are also Japanese voices in the game. I have come to the believe that this addition is a good idea. I find myself liking the Japanese voices better than the English just because I am used to watching the anime with Japanese voices and English subtitles.
The look of the game is a nice fit because this is based upon an anime and a manga. The game is cel-shaded which we all know and love as the cartoonish colored-in look. This style is perfect for the game as it looks like it was taken directly from the anime. It is also aided by the animations and the music.
Multiplayer modes are standard for fighting games. In local there is single battle and team battle. Single battle is one-on-one while team lets the players choose up to five different characters to face off. Additionally, there is a power battle mode which limits the teams to a certain power level that can be changed by the player. This helps prevents powered characters going up against characters of a lower power level.
Online multiplayer is separated into three different modes. First, is standard battle where the fights are with normal characters. The second mode is a freestyle battle that has enhanced characters going up against each other. Finally, there is world tournament mode, where players can invite each other into a multi-round tournament.
An issue with the Dragon Ball franchise is its method to attract people who are not fans of the game or the series in general. As the series is more than 10 years old this can be a problem –people who are playing Dragon Ball games are Dragon Ball fans, thus there is no real attempt to bring other people into the game. For a newcomer the full roster of characters can be overwhelming, especially since there is no real explaining who these characters are or how they relate to the overall story. New players are also more likely to become bored by the very similar play-styles shared between every character.
Overall, the game is fun and a nice addition to the Dragon Ball franchise. There is a lot to keep people busy and players are able to fight in the epic battles that they remember from the television series and some battles that they wish to see. However, the lack of ability to get new players into the game and the fact that each character basically fights the same way are a major drawback.
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Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Cartoon Violence, Mild Blood, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes. This game can also be found on: PS3 and Xbox 360.