Featuring over 70 transforming characters, Raging Blast lets you beat the snot out of each while reliving pivotal moments from Dragon Ball Z’s past. From high above the clouds to crashing under the sea, this fighter goes beyond the perception of a typical fighting game.
Dragon Ball: Raging Blast continues the Dragon Ball series in its unintentional quest of being the longest running game series with the most editions released yearly. No other fighting series can even come close to keeping up with the pace the Dragon Ball Z (DBZ) series has set since the 1980s.—Yes it has been around that long. Dragon Ball: Raging Blast developed by Japanese developer Spike, who in their 4th Dragon Ball release has finally dropped the Budokai Tenkaichi name. Atari usually handles the publishing of the Dragon Ball series; however, Namco Bandai has taken over those duties and holds the license for the next five years.
In case you are not sure what to expect within Raging Blast, it is a 3D fighting game that lets you battle it out with characters from the Dragon Ball universe. Raging Blast marks another giant roster with spanning 70 playable characters, including Gohan, Goku, Piccolo, Krillin, Frieza, Android 16, and more. This massive roster list is impressive and only second to Tenkaichi 3. Raging Blast can be played solo, with friends in your typical vs. scenario, or even online with other Dragon Ball enthusiasts. Raging Blast is also a multiplatform release so expect to see players on both sides of the console war.
The most interesting feature in Raging Blast is that it allows you to play through the multiple events from the DBZ anime excluding the original Dragonball. Jumping around exploring crucial events in DBZs’ history should be interesting to both its fans, and the newbie gamers who wants to learn more about this punky-yellow jumpsuit wearing fighter (not to be confused with Nurato). My only complaint is that it doesn’t tie the events from the story together in a logical format in the game, and if you’re not a fan it is hard to tell what is happening from these “what if” battles.
Keep it Simple, Stupid
The mechanics in Raging Blast are simple to learn. However, with 70+ fighters to keep you busy you would think the game would feel more varied. The move-sets are basic, which makes Dragon Ball a good game to recommend to younger gamers, but it lacks the depth to keep the hardcore crowd interested. The most trouble you are going to have in Raging Blast is keeping up the button mashing endurance the game wants.
Unlike other fighting games where you are simply fighting on the ground, Dragon Ball: Raging Blast lets you freely fly around a 3D space while engaged in combat; this means you can punch your way through the air, on the ground, and even underwater! The action doesn’t change in any of these spaces, only the ability to go up and down. It's a real shame Spike couldn't have added a little more depth to the movesets and had the characters switch up their moves on each surface. Initially fighting in these open spaces takes a little time to adjust, but it’s something you will get in your second or third fight.
Each fighter has normal attacks, character special attacks, a generic Ki-Projectile power, and customisable character-specific moves that when equipped gives them unique boosts. This adds a tactical component to how you will set up your fighter, but the old school approach of "hit all the buttons as fast as you can" works as well. Balancing ranged attacks from melee combinations will be the most constant thought on your mind, besides finding your opponent in the 3D space.
In my time spent rocking and socking my way through Raging Blast, I mainly used melee attacks to come out the victor of most fights. Online the game is a lot more competitive than fighting against the computer A.I. This is to be except as all fighting games take on a life of their own online. Included in Raging Blast is a dojo where you can escape the competitive nature of the game and work on perfecting your craft. Using the dojo isn't a bad idea and is recommended if you need to shape up before you face-off against your friends.
The Toughest Opponent is the Camera
Now the biggest issue in the game is camera problems. In Raging Blast, you will be constantly fighting against the camera and several times during a battle you will have an obstruction of some kind that will leave you blind. I constantly had been revisiting problems like finding my opponent when they are above or below you, or watching as the camera gets stuck on the terrain—this is awfully frustrating to say the least. Why Spike didn’t add an auto-lock feature is beyond me because it would have fixed, or made this problem better. Really—Spike—this is a problem, and it is one that severally damages the final score of the game.
Dragon Ball- Now in HD
Graphically Raging Blast captures the art style from the anime and looks extra polished in HD. The characters are some of the strangest collection seen in a fighting game, so much that the Panda Bear and the Log from Tekken seem natural. The animation work here is a little blocky, but it fits in with the franchises normal look. To add a little more gusto to the mix Spike has added some extra visual touches to make the game pop with a vibrant use of colour.
The environments in Raging Blast levels are basic in design, and with the same blocky cel-shaded style that from the character design. Even though each location consists of wide-open spaces they are rather boring. The good portion to the 10 environments is that they are destructible. This means you see a little wear and tear on them, which brings more depth into the experience, but don't expect Red Faction or anything. All-in-all Dragon Ball: Raging Blast looks good enough to get by, but it is not up to the standards of other fighters, but hey, it is a step in the right direction. I’m sure Spike could have added “more” of everything into the visual production here, but it seems they played it safe and kept the special effects to a minimum.
The audio fits the license perfectly and it’s nice to hear English voice-overs in a primary Japanese series. The talent isn’t the best granted. However, it has a nice cheesy charm that will make you smile every now and again. The sound effects are on par with the rest of the effort and again, don’t expect too much here.
Dragon Ball: Raging Blast will please the longtime fans of the Dragon Ball series. The game is filled with lots of modes, characters, and online gaming that can keep you busy for ages. The graphics are not excessively impressive, but they look good and surpass what I initially expected. Besides having a somewhat basic fighting mechanic, Raging Blast real culprit is a bad camera, and it is something that can not be overlooked. Despite this issue, I would still recommend Raging Blast to fans, and if you are curious to find out what Dragon Ball is all about, this would be a good place to start, just don’t expect miracles.
Gameplay:6.0, Graphics:6.5, Sound:6.0, Innovation:6.0, Mojo:6.5 Final: 6.2 / 10
Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy | 12.08.09