Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 Playtest: Revenge Of The Sphere Grid
Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 retells the story of Dragon Ball Z with a giant, multi-character connecting, sphere grid. Namco Bandai calls it Galaxy Mode and that’s what you’re going to play to unlock the bulk of Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 characters.
Galaxy Mode drops cutscenes that setup the story and goes straight to fights. It’s more arcade-like than the single player mode of other Dragon Ball games. Diehard fans don’t have to watch Piccolo shoot Goku and Raditz with his special beam cannon for the 9000th time. On the other hand, casual Dragon Ball fans may be scratching their heads wondering who some of the 100 characters in the game are. Each fighter has their own path to follow with preset fights ranging in difficulty from easy to ultimate. As the difficulty level increases, computer controlled enemies get stat boosts or you have to fight multiple opponents with only one character. Galaxy Mode, compared to the other Dragon Ball games, covers more characters. You can play through missions as villains like Turles and lesser characters like Saibaman. Winning fights can unlock missions on another character’s galaxy grid and character customization items. Other modes like the world tournament, quick battles, a tutorial (set in Galaxy Mode) and online play from Raging Blast return in the sequel.
Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 uses the same rush & smash combo system from Raging Blast too. Every character has the same basic set of combos. Square (on PS3) throws out a string of punches and kicks. Break the chain with triangle for a smash attack. Depending on when you press triangle, you can turn an enemy around, hit them with a flurry of fists or make them stagger for a second. The circle button is reserved for character specific attacks. You can still send enemies flying across the battlefield with a well-timed charge attack, but recovery is a bit different since you mash buttons instead of spinning the analog stick. The stick spinning motion comes into play when two special moves beam attacks clash. Specials are still the most damaging moves in Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2. Battles usually come down to ki fights, but the newly introduced Raging Soul system changes that a bit.
The Raging Soul system makes melee attacks more useful. To activate it you need to max out your ki meter and high tension gauge, usually done by charging. Once both bars are full hitting a button switches you into Raging Soul mode (plus changes the music to the opening theme song) where hand-to-hand attacks chain easier and deal more damage. If an enemy runs away you can teleport to them to keep pressure on. Raging Soul combos can be evaded by swaying and vanishing so this isn’t a super mode. The downside about Raging Soul is you cannot use any super or ultimate moves while its active. Also, you lose all of your ki afterwards. It feels like Spike developed this system to give players a choice between pummeling an enemy with energy blasts or just plain pummeling them.
Spike also fixed the camera issues that plagued the first game and gave the world a CG coat of paint. While a working camera is nice (and should’ve been in Raging Blast in the first place), Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 is more like a Raging Blast roster update with Ultimate Gohan as a highlight.
OK, a roster update with a mini-anime movie to watch. A remake of Dragon Ball: The Plan to Eradicate the Super Saiyans is included on every game disc. Flip over to the museum to watch it with Japanese voice acting and English subtitles. The animation has a bout with Goku, Future Trunks, Vegeta, Turles, Cooler, and even Frieza in a fight. Hatchiyack is the main villain and after watching the OVA you unlock him for use in the game.
How much you’re going to enjoy this or not comes down to how much you liked Dragon Ball: Raging Blast (or not). Aside from a working camera, the mechanics are the same, but the character lineup is different.