Last year's Dragon Ball: Raging Blast kicked off a new series of fighting games set in the popular Dragon Ball universe. But while it admirably captured the look and energy of the Dragon Ball anime, delivering fights filled with stylish attacks and demonstrations of tremendous power, the core fighting action was too shallow and repetitive to make wielding that power much fun. And sadly, Raging Blast 2 does very little to improve upon its predecessor. The visual energy is still there, but Raging Blast 2 doesn't do anything we haven't seen before, making its weaknesses even harder to forgive than they were in the striking but flawed original.
6283551NoneKicking your opponent from one end of the level to the other is fun for about five minutes.
Raging Blast 2 feels more like a modest expansion of the first game than a full-fledged sequel, which makes its $60 price point pretty tough to swallow. It adds 20 characters to the roster, bringing the total to 90, which sure sounds like a lot. But since the differences between one character and the next remain mostly cosmetic, this does nothing to address the shallow gameplay. All the characters handle almost identically and have functionally identical melee attacks and combos. The only real difference is in the super and ultimate attacks they have at their disposal, but these, too, are largely the same for many characters, even if the names and animations associated with them are different. And of the 14 environments in which you can do battle, only four are new for this sequel. The rest are recycled from the original Raging Blast.
Little has changed with regard to the fighting mechanics since the first game. The combatants all soar effortlessly in all directions through large, three-dimensional environments, and the blistering speeds with which they move around make controlling them a pleasure. All the moves are incredibly easy to pull off. Standard melee combos can be dished out with one button, long-range ki blasts can be fired with another, super attacks are performed by pushing the right stick in one direction, and the even more powerful ultimate attacks are done by clicking the right stick. The simplicity of the control scheme makes it easy for anyone to jump in send their opponents flying through the air, through the nearest building or into the nearest mountainside, and it is a kick to fill the screen with the blazing energy of Goku's kamehameha, Tien's tri-beam, and all the other flashy super and ultimate attacks you can so easily perform. But this simplicity also means that the action quickly starts to wear thin. There are a few attacks and defensive maneuvers that require precise timing to pull off, but all of your staple moves are so easy to do that none of it is rewarding in the long run. There's very little nuance to combat in Raging Blast 2, and battles quickly start to feel repetitious and shallow.
The most significant addition to combat is the raging soul system. In the original Raging Blast, melee attacks did so little damage that they were almost pointless, except as a way of building up the ki needed to perform super attacks. Building up ki is still a major component of Raging Blast 2, and it's not uncommon for the action to come to a complete halt as both fighters stand in place, charging up their ki for several seconds before unleashing their next barrages of super attacks at each other. But now, at least there's a way to make melee attacks worthwhile. By charging up your ki to the limit and triggering the raging soul state, you lose the ability to perform super attacks, but your melee strikes become much more powerful. Having a way to make melee strikes a more viable path to victory is a small step in the right direction for the series, but there's still too much emphasis on the slow process of building up ki, and pounding a single button to release strings of melee attacks or holding it down to charge up a strike and send your opponent flying doesn't make for engaging combat.
Dramatic camera angles help make the super attacks look awesome.