Demo Daze – Dragon Ball: Raging Blast
I was a big fan of Dragonball Z when I was a kid. Like any childhood cartoon, it seems a little silly looking back but as long as I had my daily dose of Toonami and people with gravity defying haircuts throwing each other through canyons then I was happy. So whenever I get the chance to play a new game based on the Dragonball franchise, I’ll usually give it a go. After all, it’s a perfect candidate for a fighting game, with the number of locations as well as the huge number of filler characters than no one care about. So when I saw a demo for the upcoming Dragonball: Raging Blast on Xbox Live, I gave it a go. After all, even though I hadn’t even heard of the game up until this point, it was only 281MB and it was Dragonball, so it couldn’t be too bad.
One download later, I booted up the demo and I was presented with the title screen accompanied by a delightfully cheesy and DBZ-esque theme song. The demo lets you pick from Goku, Piccolo and Raditz to fight 1 on 1 on a random valley of rocks, boulders and all of the typical scenery you’ve come to love in an episode of Dragonball Z. The demo also lets you choose from two costumes for each character as well as letting you pick between regular Goku and Super Saiyan Goku. The costumes changes were laughable, with virtually no difference between the two. The worst was Goku, who’s second costume is just the same as the first but with a badge on his clothing. I’d waited enough by now though and it was time to fight.
The stage was set and Piccolo was having a healthy spar with Goku to see who was the best. Now to the game’s credit, it does look a great job of making you feel like you’re watching an episode of Dragon Ball Z. For starters, the game’s cell shading has been used well. While the graphics obviously couldn’t look completely like out of a DBZ episode due to the difference of 2D and 3D, Namco Bandai have done the best job they could of matching the look.
As well as the graphics, the fights also have the feel of a DBZ episode, minus the staring sequences that outstay their welcome. Battles are fast and ferocious and the right number of punches and kicks will throw an opponent through the air or into a big boulder for more beatings. There was no throwing through canyons in the demo but pretty much everything else you could expect was there.
Of course, the most important part of any game is the gameplay. Now the fighting system is strange for a fighting game. You tend to fight with your character’s back to you and battles are full 3D with no restrictions from any fixed planes and views,although you move your character around your opponent. While this works, particularly for creating the feeling of an epic DBZ battle, it also leads to some camera issues. For example at one point in the demo the camera got stuck behind the top of a boulder for a few seconds and I couldn’t see Piccolo. Perhaps these camera issues can be ironed out though before the final release.
The main problem however is that this game is simply a button basher. Maybe it gets more tactical with a higher difficulty but based on the demo’s difficulty, all I had to was mash X and Y constantly to win. Now there are moves you can pull off but DB Raging Blast sins with the standard textbook method of learning combos, with combos that would take a person more paitent that me to remember. Seriously, how hard is it to make a simple combo like a Hadouken? Even worse, because of the button bashing, learning these combos are even more pointless, because there’s no need to pull them off. Sure they might look cool, but it’s a lot of unnecessary work. If the game had easier to learn combos and was harder then maybe it would be less mindless fun and more tactical fun.
In conclusion, Dragon Ball Raging Blast makes you feel the kind of person who only plays with other peoples’ pets. They’re very fun to play with but you’d never buy one for yourself. It’s the same story with any Dragonball game and this hasn’t changed my mind.