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The definitive Dragonball Z game and I've given it a 2?! Surely I must be mad? I'm not mad and my rating is justified here's why.
Dragonball Raging Blast is a 3d cell shaded fighter containing characters and scenery from the popular Dragonball Z franchise. This game will be around the millionth Dragonball game released (ok not quite but there's been so many of them!) and as far as I'm concerned it's taken a real step backwards.
Graphically the game is stunning. The environments and characters are stripped straight from the anime and you probably couldn't ask for more in terms of appearance. There are many arena's to fight in from throughout the anime with more being unlocked as you play through the game. The characters look awesome and each character has alternate costumes. I will say that there are plenty of characters though to choose from and more to download for free through PSN which is a nice touch. Unfortunately some characters have the same old moves and are just rehashes of each other. These might just be a ripped costume but it's a nice touch which will let the kids re-enact their dream battles. The main menu looks a little shoddy to me however and is hard to navigate. The game does a poor job of introducing you to the game. I'd have liked a little King Kai or something to guide me through the menu like "Before playing why not learn the controls in the dojo?".
In terms of sound the game is excellent. The soundtrack is fine and definitely fits with the game. I don't find myself getting tired of the music like I have done with some games in the past. What I really really really like however is that both japanese and american voice actors are used and you can choose which set you'd like to use. This is an excellent touch as the american voice actors are sounding a little weak these days but the japanese cast is still going strong.
The gameplay lets the game down massively and it's a real shame. Firstly the poor menu foreshadows the rest of the game. It just isn't put together that well and it feels like it was bodged together and the only thing holding it together is the shoddy menu. The new controls are cumbersome and difficult to use and what's more is that there are far too many of them! I struggled and I'd hate to think how much someone younger or someone with less gaming experience would find pulling off a vanishing dodge. The counter attacks are unbalanced and hard to pull off due to the counter button being assigned to the shoulder buttons. You can of course change the layout but that just ruins everything, the controls are weird enough as it is without messing around with them. There is no camera control in the game which means that pulling the right stick will cause you do send an unnecessary and inconvenient blast half way across the screen when all you wanted to do was rotate the darned camera! This problem wouldn't be there if the camera actually panned correctly but when you're in a corner or up against a wall or your enemy is above you (FYI - these things happen a lot), the camera just zooms in on your leg or your back and you get the stuffing kicked out of you because you can't see anything useful.
So since the controls are terrible there must be some clever way to show you the ropes right? Wrong there is the awful 'Dojo'. In this mode you play as Gohan and are taught the controls by Piccolo and Goku. This is fine but it takes around an hour to complete all of the tutorials which become boring after a while. I'd have liked to have the story mode incorporate a tutorial to teach the controls instead. I ploughed into story mode expecting this and lost because I had no clue what to do! The tutorials are also a waste of time in some cases such as when teaching the counter attacks. Instead of perfecting your timing you end up getting beaten up for a couple of minutes while you pull off the required move by accident instead of actually learning anything.
As a piece of art Dragonball Raging Blast is amazing but as a game (and it is just about) it is plain terrible. Wait for the next inevitable game and hope it's better than this!