A few years back, Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z was everywhere. The series was and is, arguably, the most successful anime in terms of the popularity that it has garnered since making its way out of Japan. At one point in time, it seemed as though every single kid I knew of, under the age of 12 was completely infatuated with the series and its characters. Everywhere that I looked, it was there: backpacks, school folders, action figures, Halloween costumes... you name it. Out of the popularity has come an onslaught of video games for every single platform imaginable, from home console to portable device. From the perspective of an outsider to the craze, all of the games have seemed the same to me: over the top fighting action with incredibly animated characters that I just didn’t “get”. Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 looked to be more of the same, only this one happened to “click” with me. Bear with me if I sound a little ignorant on the Dragon Ball topic, but that is because I am. This is going to be from the point of view of an outsider looking in onto the franchise, and being quite impressed with this particular package.
I am not sure, perhaps it’s may age and maturation (or lack thereof) or the seriousness in which I take my responsibility to review a game, but this Dragon Ball game hit me a lot differently than all of the others I have come across in the past. Instead of being almost immediately turned off from the outset once again, I found myself drawn into this one and intrigued to learn more not only about the characters, but the lore behind the series. Luckily for me, this game alone provides a pretty ample opportunity for me to learn about both and provides an opportunity to get in on the action, or at least feel like I am. Raging Blast 2’s purpose seems to be that of a “fan service” to loyal followers of the series while at the same time serving as a crash course on the subject to those unfamiliar with the franchise. The game is filled to the brim with content including tons of playable characters, abundant customization options, as well as what seems like a never ending list of unlockable art, movies, and encyclopedia entries and profiles which span across the proverbial Dragon Ball universe. Those who get into the game will likely be playing it for a long, long time in order to see all that it has to offer.
At its core, the game is a fighting game. Players face off against one another, or against the computer both online and offline, as one of 70 or so characters from the Dragon Ball series. That number just counts the base characters listed on the game’s main character selection screen, in addition to that base amount there are a ton of variations on the base characters available including their various forms and evolutions. All of them are presented in an incredibly detailed, cell-shaded style that looks and feels just like the anime / cartoons. The game is visually stunning in that sense; the developers have done an excellent job of recreating the style used in the actual shows into the game. It feels like you are participating in an actual Dragon Ball episode or movie. The same thing can be said for the games audio and soundtrack; while most of the original voice actors were not used, the voice samples used in the game represent the personas well based from my experience and the ability to choose between English and Japanese voices will likely be welcomed with open arms by fans the world over.
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