Dragon Ball is probably the biggest and well known anime series in history and because of that, there have been a ton of games to accompany the series. The most heavily populated genre for this is the Fighting genre, which was given a next-gen gloss of paint with Dragon Ball: Raging Blast last year and even more glossy paint this year with Raging Blast 2.
This year's release allows you to jump straight into the action with numerous modes, the main ones being Galaxy Mode and Battle Zone. Instead of concentrating on a story, Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 looks to boggle your mind with a copious amount of characters and fights. Just going into the Galaxy Mode is daunting enough, as there are a significant number of fighters to choose from and each of them has quite a few fights to go through before they are fully completed.
It's actually quite deceptive. As you win fights, more will unlock, not just in that fighter's "tree", but in those that he's related to as well. There's a huge master plan with regards to the way everything is all mapped out. Winning fights can also unlock lots of extras, such as art, new costumes and of course, more fighters. Generally new fighters are unlocked by completing the "boss" fight in each tree, so you don't necessarily have to complete all the fighters to get a new character.
Fights can also vary quite a lot. Some will be rather easy, putting you against a single weak enemy AI, while others put you against five "ultimate" AI characters. It's a pretty mixed bag, especially as there are conditions present too, such as constantly losing health.
To further this, is Battle Zone. Unlike Galaxy Mode where each character has an individual passage, in Battle Zone it's a singular passage which can be played through with any character. there are numerous fights per round and it's also possible to earn challenge stamps for winning fights under certain conditions.
Raging Blast 2 plays much how previous games have and those who're familiar with the setup will feel right at home. It might be a bit daunting for those who're new to the series though as it's rather different to typical fighting games.
There are actually a limited amount of moves, and there is only one legitimate melee button, although it could technically be founded as two or three depending on if you count a singular special move and a projectile attack as pertaining to a deep combat system. They can be chained together in a very basic format, but the defensive side of the game is surprisingly more complex than the offensive side.
Evading moves is the key to success, especially as quite a lot of the gameplay revolves around being able to perform special abilities. You get marginal amounts of Ki by performing melee attacks, but it's much easier to get to a safe distance and charge it up, so when playing against better opponents, melee combat hardly ever happens. It's actually rather disappointing, as it makes the whole experience feel a bit disconnected. There's something wrong with a fighting game when it's much easier to win by being a coward than standing up to fight. One of the strongest tactics is evading, running away, charging, using specials and repeating.
Despite the limited depth, the game does a good job of making each character feel rather different from the next. You'll have to dig around until you find a character that suits your style of play and this includes the special moves that you're allowed to use. If you've acquired enough Ki, these can be performed by pressing a different direction on the right analog stick and if you've got the maximum amount of Ki, pressing in the right analog stick will perform your ultimate attack, for massive damage.
From the perspective of presentation, all of the Dragon Ball characters look like their anime counterparts and they're brilliantly rendered into the 3D environment. The different stages are ok, but they can become a bit frustrating when the fight takes to the skies. You'll often find yourself getting stuck underneath scenery, or having the camera attempt to find your opponent and fail dismally. The music can also feel quite lacking, because there isn't much of it present within the game. It's just the same few tracks looping around all the time.
As mentioned above, there is plenty to keep you busy with both Galaxy Mode and Battle Zone, but there are also jump-in battle modes and of course, the ability to play the game online. It will take a considerable time investment to complete Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 to its fullest, but there won't a whole lot of variety along the way to doing so.
Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 builds upon last year's iteration slightly, but the combat can still feel very disconnected. If you can get past that, there is plenty of content to play through although with no actual story there isn't much justification for doing so. There are a ton of characters and lots of unlockables that fans of Dragon Ball will enjoy, but aside from this, Raging Blast 2 is a bit of a disappointment.