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Dragon Ball: Raging Blast - 360 - Review

Dragon Ball fans, I have been with you every step of the way.

I was there when the disappointing Dragon Ball Z: Sagas was released on the original Xbox and I was there when Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi made me realize that a great Dragon Ball game can be possible in the right hands. I was there because, like you, I adore the series and want a game worthy of the great story and characters. Unfortunately, Dragon Ball: Raging Blast for the Xbox 360 isn’t the game we have been waiting for despite the fact that it piles on the game modes and scenarios.

 

Oh, Namco Bandai, it’s quality and quantity that we crave in our games and you have given us the quantity but it’s the quality that makes Raging Blast feel like this is the game that would have been amazing if the game’s problems didn’t hold it back. You see, the game features an impressive mode called Dragon Battle Collection that offers seven Dragon Ball sagas that fans of the manga and anime will recognize. Each saga contains various battle scenarios associated with each saga. Consider it a Best Of collection of battles you can play.

There are brief recaps for each of the battle scenarios so even those who aren’t familiar with the series can understand what led to the battle and what’s at stake. There’s the original Frieza Saga that has Goku and the rest of the Z-Fighters going up against the evil overlord Frieza and then there’s the Androids Saga that has the heroes going up against Dr. Gero’s android creations that have run amok. There’s even the Bardock Saga and the Majin Buu Saga but it doesn’t come close to matching the awesome Legendary Super Saiyan Saga with Broly.

If that wasn’t enough, there’s a What If Stories section that offers interesting twists and “what if” scenarios such as What If Bardock faced off against his grandsons Gohan and Goten? In another “what if” scenario, Videl asks Piccolo to be her master … by facing off against him to prove herself worthy. These are certainly some fun twists in the storyline worthy playing.

Then there’s World Tournament mode that offers a tournament challenge against any character you might have unlocked in Dragon Battle Collection mode as well as some Cell Games that have you fighting until you’re crowned as the tournament champion. Then there’s Versus mode that brings Single Battle and Team Battle fighting action against a CPU opponent or against a friend online or offline. Super Battle Trail contains nine different arcade-styled fighting modes such as Survival, Time Attack, Score Attack and KO Attack to name just a few.

 

The good news is that your characters can also be customized via the Ultimate Customize feature that allows you to equip different Super Attacks for your favorite characters as well as equip any item you might have earned during the main mode to upgrade your character’s abilities and skills. The bad news is that while this feature does make a difference, the flaws in the gameplay will not let you enjoy the customization options.

Aside from the long load times and the inconsistent opponent AI (why can Super Buu beat you without taking any damage in one instance and then be easily defeated in the same game mode if you go for a rematch?), the camera is awful. You are often left looking at a rock if your character mover to the far right and sometimes you’re just looking at blue sky if you move to your lower left. I once lost a fight I was winning because the camera kept focusing on a wall. On top of those problems, occasionally the game doesn’t respond to the basic Melee Attacks button leading to your character getting knocked around like a bowling pin. 

As far as the visuals are concerned, Raging Blast does a great job with each character. Not only do they look great in action but they look like they just stepped out of some Blu-ray release of the anime. Even the visual effects rock in this game as each character’s ability shines through. What doesn’t shine are the environments that look bland. Sure they can crumble and break as your characters fight but do they have to look that plain?

 

The game’s sound fairs a bit better thanks to the great voice acting that can be heard throughout the game and it’s great to hear favorite character making little comments during the battle, many of which are aimed at particular characters or rivals. Aside from the cool anime-styled opening song, the rest of the soundtrack is cheesy rocking guitars.

Dragon Ball: Raging Blast is one of those games that should have been an unforgettable fighting game Dragon Ball fans could seriously love but its faults make this one a major disappointment. This is too bad considering the fact that there are dozens of characters, plenty of game modes and story scenarios to play. Skipping Raging Blast might not be such a bad idea but hopefully we will have a Dragon Ball fighting game on the Xbox 360 one day. 

Review Scoring Details for Dragon Ball: Raging Blast

Gameplay: 6.0
The game’s main story mode has more than enough scenarios that fans will recognize and the other modes offer even more extras to the table. It’s just too bad that the game’s various problems get in the way of the action. There’s a good multiplayer mode, though.

Graphics: 8.0
All the characters look like they stepped out of a newly remastered high-def version of the characters straight out of the anime. It’s unfortunate that the backgrounds didn’t get the same treatment.

Sound: 7.5
The game’s soundtrack ranges from decent to super cheesy and repeat often throughout the game, although I did like the opening theme song. There’s a solid voice acting cast in the game is awesome and the sound effects are simply Ok.

Difficulty: Medium/Hard
Naturally, some opponents will give your chosen character quite a workout so expect the likes of Android #17, Piccolo or even Frieza giving you a hard time. Fans who know the strongest characters will know what to expect during the battles.

Concept: 7.0
The Dragon Battle Collection contains a number of familiar scenarios spanning different sagas in the Dragon Ball lore such as the Frieza Saga or the Saiyan Saga as well as What If scenarios. There are plenty of arcade-styled modes plus a World Tournament mode you can share with friends.

Multiplayer: 8.0
Dragon Ball fans will certainly appreciate the game’s multiplayer mode whether you’re playing against friends using a single Xbox or going online and battling with other Dragon Ball fans. You’ll certainly enjoy holding a World Tournament and with numerous characters to use the competition is deliciously fierce and fun.

Overall: 6.0
Raging Blast had all the makings of an amazing Dragon Ball game but comes up short in all the places that count. Sure, all the great characters are present and there are enough extras to keep fans wanting to jump into a tournament but the gameplay just falls flat to make the battles too awkward. There have been great Dragon Ball games before but, sadly, this one does not qualify.

Above Average

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