Battle Zone is comparatively simpler, more like an extended training mode. Most challenges require that you defend a capture point from waves of enemies, which can grow boring after a while but at least it gets you acclimated to each character’s moveset. Of course there are also plenty of multiplayer options, from the standard one-on-one duels to tournaments and online battles where you can test your skills against the best players. While much of this is pretty standard fighting game setup, just on the requisite DBZ steroids, Raging Blast 2 isn’t necessarily among the purest or hardest in the fighting genre.
Raging Blast 2 seems just as focused on recreating the anime’s look and feel as it is on being a competent fighting game. The characters are recreated perfectly, looking like 3D cel-shaded animations ripped right out of the show. The voice actors from the original episodes don’t reprise their roles but with 70 characters I can understand why Namco-Bandai went with sound-alikes, and all said the new actors do a decent job emulating the iconic voices. The focus here is obviously on the characters and the fight; the battle effects and animations are crisp, fluid and truly something to behold when the action gets crazy. As I mentioned the arenas are massive but unfortunately they don’t meet the caliber of the characters; most are low-poly and only averagely-textured, probably to keep the framerate smooth with so much open space and chaos.
The actual fighting gameplay works well and has some real depth but again it’s hung up on mimicking the anime, not providing the deepest or best-balanced combo system. Button mashing is sadly more effective than it should be, but you’ll often feel like you’re cheating yourself by not pulling off the super powerful flashy moves to get the same result. While truly experienced players will still own your butt online, you can do pretty well for yourself with just a few combos and blind mash-typing the face buttons. You’ll feel disappointed with your utilitarian approach, however, when you see pros (and the computer) get the same results through a skill and finesse that makes you feel like you’re in one of the episodes. The experience of an epic, well-played fight is just as rich a payoff as winning the battle, if not more so.
Unfortunately, that also describes Raging Blast 2 to the letter. It’s more about replicating the experience of the source material rather than building a deep, accessible fighting game for fans and non-fans alike. Smash Bros can get away with this fanservice approach because most everybody playing action games on the Wii is a huge Nintendo fan, and will eat the customary Smash Bros fanservice up with a spoon. Raging Blast 2 is a similar story--just about everything a Dragon Ball fan could ever want in a single comprehensive game, but an impenetrable, strange and sometimes frustrating fighting game to outsiders. The only problem is that Dragon Ball fandom isn’t nearly as broad as pure Nintendo fandom, so Raging Blast 2 is aimed squarely at the dedicated fan. If you’re one of those fans, though, you’ll be very happy with the combat, production values and sheer volume of bonus content in Dragon Ball Raging Blast 2.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
If you're a dedicated Dragon Ball fan, look no further than Raging Blast 2 for your fanservice. It recreates the anime's battles with loving devotion and has a wealth of bonus material, but the button-mashing and requirements for unlocking the extensive roster might turn off fighting games connoisseurs who don't happen to be DBZ fanatics.
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