Dragon Ball: Raging Blast
Posted 3 years ago By - Justin Arruda
My first experience with the Dragon Ball franchise was an NES game called Dragon Power. At the time, I had no idea what Dragon Ball was or what kind of game I was in for. My decision process was as follows, “That cover looks cool. I want it.” Unfortunately, that game left a bad taste in my mouth. This was probably a contributing factor as to why, 20+ years later, and I have managed to stay away from the Dragon Ball franchise.
Now, I’ve taken the plunge and tried out Dragon Ball Raging Blast, the latest fighting game based on the popular manga and anime series. Will I be a late convert? Or will I spend the next 20 years avoiding Goku and friends as well?
As with most of its predecessors, Raging Blast explores the Dragon Ball universe within the framework of a fighting game. And the standard rules still apply. There are one on one battles to the death (or knockout), versus mode both offline and online, as well as a Super Battle Trial option, which includes staples Arcade, Survival, Time Attack and Score Attack. The game, however, does try to add some interesting modes and options to avoid stagnation.
For starters, the game allows you participate in Team Battles, where each player can have up to five characters on their side to duke it out with in a round. With a ton of characters and collectibles to unlock, there are no shortage of goals. You can even strive to win fights while hitting certain requirements to earn stars which allow you to buy extra features within Raging Blast.
Dragon Battle Collection lets you play through a few of the classic Dragon Ball storylines. Not being familiar with the franchise, this is where I decided to start. Though I’m sure the basic scenarios in the game don’t give the full picture, I must admit that I did find myself mildly intrigued to find out what happens next. Another aspect I really enjoyed about this mode is that you are able to play as a variety of characters. You will not always be on the “good” side, and sometimes you will even switch characters mid-match.
What should probably be more exciting for longtime Dragon Ball fans, and one of my favourite ideas in the game, is the addition of some “What if...” scenario stories. The chance to play with new, alternate situations seems like a great way to engage followers who already know everything about the Dragonball world and how the conflicts turn out. Sadly, the execution is a bit lacking. Fighting games are not really known for their narrative, and the “What if...” option becomes nothing more than a paragraph of writing before a fight you could have set up in Versus.
The combat in Raging Blast is not what I would call user friendly. Even on the Easy setting I had a tough time playing against the CPU until I made my way to the Tutorial. After about an hour, I had completed the basic training. Even after this, it still took quite a few matches for me to fully utilize the controls without having to think about it.
To defeat the computer consistently, my strategy evolved into knocking the computer back far enough so that I could get time to charge up my Super and Ultimate Attacks. Rinse, repeat. Of course, if you take the time to learn each characters moves, and perhaps customize the Super Attacks available to them, you may be able to string together a long chain of attacks. Players online were only too pleased to show me the seemingly indefensible combos they could pull off on their way to near flawless victories.
Admittedly, I suck at fighting games. But that doesn’t mean I can’t find some enjoyment in them. As bad as I am at Street Fighter or Virtua Fighter, I can pull off some moves and maybe win a round or two. With Dragon Ball Raging Blast, someone who is new will never, ever beat someone who is experienced. Ever. However, I now have a vast advantage over someone who has not gone through the Tutorial.
Of course, a busted camera system does nothing to alleviate the pain. Because characters can fly in Dragon Ball, having someone too far above or below you will mean losing sight of where they are. And you can’t spin the camera to find them because Super moves have been mapped to the analogue stick. And if you happen to get pinned against a wall, good luck to you.
Graphics & Audio
I have always been a fan of cel-shading in games. And I’d be a hypocrite to say that this game is ugly. In fact, since the first Budokai title on Playstation 2 I have admired the way developers were able to so accurately mimic the look of the anime. The characters jump out with vibrant colours and look exactly like their television counterparts.
That being said, I have always despised the environments in Dragon Ball games. Most arenas are open spaces that are inredibly bland. From what I’ve seen of the show, it may be true to the series, but that doesn’t make it any more fun. The characters might as well be fighting in cardboard boxes.
Hits, charges and kamehamehas all sound appropriately anime-like and Raging Blast does feature voice actors working off a very campy script. Menu music can quickly become grating, however, so you may want to speed your way through the options.
The amount of time one will spend with Dragon Ball Raging Blast will likely hinge on how much you enjoy unlocking items. Once you become acquainted with the controls, it shouldn’t take you long to get through the story mode. However, there are plenty of characters and items to unlock by completing missions. Many of these missions include beating opponents on the Hard difficulty, which will be difficult if my experience is any indication.
Of course, this is a fighting game, and it seems that interest in fighting games drops off fairly quickly unless you have a group of people to play against. That’s where the online mode comes in.
With titles like Street Fighter 4, BlazBlue and Tekken 6, 2009 saw a renaissance for the fighter genre. The things these titles have in common is that anyone can pick it up and enjoy it, while serious players explore every nuance in the design. I just don’t see Dragon Ball Raging Blast as being in the same class.
Yes, those willing to experiment and take notes will still be rewarded with powerful techniques, but outsiders will not see a reason to join in. If they’re unfamiliar with Dragon Ball, the complicated controls will only serve to validate their decision to stay away from this game. For that reason, this game is for die hard Dragon Ball fans only. And maybe not even them.
- Story mode forces you to try various characters
- Lots to unlock
- Unbalanced fighters
- Camera will break often
- Bad script/voiceover
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Release Date : 2009/11/10
System : Xbox 360
Publisher : Namco Bandai
Developer : Spike
Category : Fighting & Wrestling
ESRB : T
7.0 / 10
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8.7 / 10