Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Dragon Ball: Raging Blast Review

With "Dragon Ball Xenoverse" just a week away (FINALLY), I figured now would be a good time to take a look at what is my favorite DB game. So far. I'm hoping "Xenoverse" is able to shatter this, and maybe be one of the best DB games we've seen.

I would review "Budokai 3," but I kinda don't want to. I'm not as comfortable with that game as I am with "Raging Blast." I would also review "Battle of Z" but I'm not at all comfortable with that game. It was released last year, and I only just now beat the main campaign, not at all defeating the various side quests. But, hey, I've all but maxed out my Super Saiyan Trunks (Sword) character, so that's a thing. His combos are killer.

Anyway, let's talk about "Raging Blast." It's always weird doing a videogame review for me, because most games I talk about don't have much of a campaign and rely solely on gameplay. Okay, "Sonic Heroes" had a campaign but is that really what you think of regarding a Sonic game? No. Probably not.

That's the same with any "Dragon Ball" game. You already know the plot because it's the exact same as the TV show/ Bardock special/ Broly movie. You're not being majorly spoiled by anything. Having said that, this game likes to have missions that were not previously in the show and kinda make you scratch your head as to how they're in the game.

Like most DB games, this one is very simple in its modes. You've got the campaign to cover the "Dragon Ball" story, a Tournament mode, a Versus mode, and a shop. This one, though, adds in a special twist of the Super Battle Trial mode, where you can choose from seven other challenge modes in an attempt to get a Dragon Ball, which is the eighth fighting mode and is a pretty standard fighting mode with a Dragon Ball on the line. It's pretty exciting, as the challengers are randomized so you never know who you're going to fight.

That's why you pick the players with the bigger HP. Kinda cheating, but, if they give you that option, not really.

I won't go mode-by-mode as this would take forever, but I'll cover what I need to from the modes in order to get my point across. First, the campaign.

As a fan, I both love and kinda don't like the campaign. It covers all the major battles, but, then are are ones that really don't make any sense, as well as some that they completely omit. The first time we meet Trunks is not there, but apparently they were able to make a fight out of that one brief moment where an injured Captain Ginyu tried to change bodies with Vegeta on Namek. That wasn't a fight. That was Goku throwing a frog in the way! They add in Vegeta fighting Gohan after Namek but also add the near slaughtering of Krillin at the hands of Second Form Frieza.

Then, there are also some battles that they repeat, but from two different perspectives. You'll fight Gohan as Cell, then Cell as Gohan. Why not just the one battle? I guess in this way it's similar to the show since the fights are being dragged out so long, but still.

The best change to this system is without a doubt the "What-If" scenarios. Some of them you do end up thinking about and how it would be cool to see, and some not as much, such as the tournament to prove who the strongest human is. Most of them are very specific, too, like the tag-team match between Tien and Chiaotzu versus various other pairings from the "Dragon Ball" universe.

Many of these scenarios are about Vegeta, too, but I'll get to his role in this game in a moment. If anything, he should have been on the cover instead of Goku, yeesh.

What's interesting about some of the stages in the main story, as well as in the "What-If" is how you have to earn them by doing "Missions" in the campaign. Basically, you have to redo the whole campaign in the Hard difficulty and complete various challenges. Fair enough. It'd be easy enough if the game just gave you missions, but I suppose they want to add in some component of skill to this so a bad player wouldn't be able to unlock it. Like me.

This game takes quite a bit of dedication to play one of my favorite fights in all "Dragon Ball," but it was worth beating the crap out of Androids 17 and 18 in the future as ya boy Trunks.

That's pretty much it for the campaign, though. Playing through it a first time isn't too difficult except for the main missions and many of the missions where they give you three players to fight as throughout the mission are relieving as you know you'll have some wiggle room if your character goes down.

Tournament mode is another basic element of the game. There are some settings you can adjust, such as only heroes or only villains, but what's the fun in that? Sadly, unlike many other games, the max amount of participants is 16. I suppose since this game is only two player co-op that makes sense, but I'd like a few more rounds to kick some butt. It takes place on the World Tournament stage, but thankfully that stage has no ring-outs and you can fly up extremely high. It makes the knock-backs pretty fun, especially since you can also destroy the stage. There's no complete eradication like certain stages, but, just seeing the stadium get wrecked is fun. I wish most World Tournament stages didn't have that stupid ring-out. "Battle of Z" made it impossible not to get a ring-out with those sudden knock-backs.

Super Battle Trial is where things get interesting. I mean, there is literally a stage where you get graded on how much you and your opponent destroy the city stage while fighting. Gotta abuse those Super Attacks and charge attacks, you know? My favorite of the modes is the Team Battle, which is basically like "What-If" but after every victory, a Dragon Ball is earned and the fights are not too difficult. Some are, some aren't, depends on the battle. There are seventy or so fights in total, and only a few feel repetitive. But Team Battle makes gathering the Dragon Balls much easier.

Unfortunately summoning Shenron isn't the greatest of achievements. He doesn't reward you with much outside of a few costumes, custom moves (that I never use), and 30,000 D-points that you can't really use except to buy a few things that aren't integral to the overall game.

There is a fun minigame of sorts during the loading screen where you control Nimbus to get D-Points in the form of capsules. Thought that was worth mentioning.

But what's a "Dragon Ball" game without the most integral part? The character selection.

This game has a very limited number of characters, 42 in total. They only go up through the DBZ canon (and Broly) that was released in 2009, so, no Super Saiyan Bardock (sad face) and even then doesn't have some canonical characters such as King Cold or Hercule. Then again most games don't really have King Cold so whatever.

However, I do have a complaint about the character selection. Out of the 42 characters, there are four different versions of Vegeta: Scouter, regular (with SSJ, USSJ, SSJ2), Majin, and SSJ3.

What the heck? I knew Super Saiyan 3 Vegeta was a playable character, but, I didn't think he would have his own freaking character slot! Why couldn't they just put it with the other Super Saiyan transformation he has? It'd be like putting Perfect Cell and 100% Frieza as their own characters...and they don't! They're transformable. I feel like that extra character slot could have been given to another character like King Cold or Hercule just to change things up. Just to have a character weaker than Chiaotzu.

It's just strange to have so many versions of one character. It's something I don't really care for in "Dragon Ball" games. Why not have the transformations as a part of the character, why have them be their own character? It just takes up character space and feels like the creators are putting no effort into the game. Clearly they are, and they've made a great product in this game! I just think it would have been better on their part to add in more characters.

They did in "Raging Blast 2" but I personally don't feel that's a better game, I think this is the better version.

I still like the inclusion of many other characters. They have the whole Ginyu Force lineup as well as Zarbon and Dordoria. Basically any big character fought on Namek is in the game. A few characters feel the same, so, it all comes down to how good the player is.

Which brings us to combat. I love the combat system of this game. It's simple, the combos are easy, and there are many mechanics that are enhanced to make the fighting seem fluid yet easy when the going gets tough.

This game uses the 3-D camera that you don't really see in fighting games anymore, unless it's a DB game. I love being able to fly around a large arena going in any direction that I want. This is "Dragon Ball" after all, where the characters can fly around at super speeds. I think "Battle of Z" has captured this system the best so far, but for its time, this was pretty awesome. Especially compared to the other big anime fighters where the characters had to stay on the ground.

This camera angle does provide for a few awkward moments if the character is caught in a corner, but you can just as easily get out of it by punching the opponent away or blasting up.

Speaking of which, the flight controls in this game are pretty easy, and even an option to immediately charge toward a character while dodging their possible Super Attack. It makes for a more aggressive play style that can also trick the AI pretty easily, as you can just charge up an attack while they are helplessly still shooting their attack.

The knock-backs in this game are also ridiculous. There's two versions: the vanishing knock back and the charging knock back. Both can be performed for a string of six massive hits that the opponent often can't dodge, and maybe seven if you're high enough in the air to send them crashing to the ground. It's pretty sweet, and can definitely turn the tides in a match. When it happens to you, eh, not so sweet.

Transformations and super attacks are also pretty easy to pull off, given how both usually only require one bar of energy to be filled, which can be charged up in a mere matter of seconds rather than the typically slow moving charge system. It makes fights potentially more interesting yet at the same time way easier to bulk up the character with different types of attacks.

Finally, I'll mention the graphics. They're pretty good. I mean, the backgrounds look good, and the ones that can be destroyed are pretty distinguishable. The movements are fluid and hardly anything feels clunky. Sometimes the lip flaps are so far off the dialogue that it hurts, but, I understand that's not at all the purpose of the game. The game is hardly pixelated, the characters look good, and overall its not a drag to look at, and the quick movements of the characters are more than welcomed.

In the end, "Dragon Ball: Raging Blast" is a ton of fun. You get everything you're looking for in a "Dragon Ball" game plus various other modes that may not have been around prior to this game, ones that maybe you've been looking for all this time. Given how old it is, it's fair to compare it to other "Dragon Ball" games that have come out since and say it's definitely one of the best.

If you wanna stay up to date on when I post, be sure to follow me on Twitter @seanovan13. Thanks for reading!

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