Monday, December 27, 2010

Dragon Ball Raging Blast 2 (360)

12/17/10. Gameplay: 30-40min. 1 & 2 Players.

History with franchise:
See previous entry for Burst Limit. Recently played that, also am a big DBZ fan.

What Happened:
Excited from playing Burst Limit and our recent DBZ marathons, Issam and I picked up Raging Blast 2 last night with high hopes. We started the game in single player, assuming we’d need to unlock a lot of characters before getting into multiplayer. We chose Galaxy Mode, which is the first option, and chose Gohan - fight one was Gohan vs. Raditz - there are no story clips like in Burst Limit, but the characters exchange lines which seem to be specific to your relationship with who you’re fighting. Ok, makes sense as fight no. 1, since it’s Gohan’s first fight in the anime. Fight no. 2 is kid Gohan vs. Goten, at the Tenkaichi Budokai... which is impossible in the anime.. which is ok, it just caught us off guard. Around this point we realized this game was far more complex than the last that we played, so we moved into multiplayer to start figuring stuff out. We played maybe 3-4 rounds, and I lost interest and gave up. Issam is currently playing the tutorial (with frequent exclamations of “what?” and “ohhh” and talking about how it would be impossible to remember everything he’s learned.)

What I liked:
Graphics! They look good I think. The intro sequence was fun. I don’t like the versus screen illustrations though - they’re illustrated as opposed to CG, and just far enough off model that they look bad. It seems like if you’re going to take them time to draw them, you need to be spot on.

Loading Mini Game: It took us awhile to figure it out, but during the loading screen you see a button sequence (which we were assuming was showing us an in-game move), but if you press that sequence during loading, you get like, an effects burst. It’s really simple, and nothing of consequence actually happens, but it’s a fun little challenge when you’d just have dead time anyway.

Amount of Characters: I’m a fan of the series, so it was exciting to see so many characters available. There are a fair amount unlocked to begin with, which is awesome. I finally get to play as Videl!!

Character Switching/Teams: During gameplay you can play with teams - so you can switch out to a different character - and, the best part - use fusion with characters in your party. This is cool, and a big bonus for fans.

What I didn’t like:
Menus: Just starting the game was confusing! It felt like DDR - there are a bunch of modes listed, and you’re not really sure what is what - there are descriptions, but they’re not immediately helpful. Galaxy Mode in particular is visually overwhelming.

HUD: They decided to shrink your energy bar down into a tiny circle in the corners of the screen. The whole point of this game is to defeat your opponent, so why not make this information obviously visible at all times? It’s not like it was taking up that much screen real estate.

Combat: Guh... I don’t even want to write this out. This game is extremely impressive in its width and breadth of combat options - but for someone like me, it’s just too much. You cannot expect to simply pick this game up and have fun. When we tried that, we were met by awkward pauses, where we were close together, but moving slowly towards each other, or hitting buttons which really just didn’t do anything by themselves. There is a high cost to having so many options - and for me it is weighted too far towards breadth of options and away from ‘pick up and play’.

No story: Whereas Burst Limit gave you some short cut scenes and moved you along the story linearly, this game completely ignores the story. There are no cut scenes whatsoever. Even though it’s a story I’ve seen a bunch of times... I still found this a little disappointing.

Replay Data. After you finish each fight, you get a menu option that pops up “are you sure you want to discard replay data and continue” which is set to “no” by default. This seems to be operating under the assumption that you will, by default, want to watch replays of all of your fights... After we’d played about 6 rounds, this was still causing unnecessary pause (since you’re used to something like this popping up when you’re making a mistake).

Mixed feelings:
“Open world” Views: As opposed to being a side view fighter, this game gives you a lot more freedom of movement. You’re always ‘facing’ your opponent, but you can fly up and down at will (which sometimes makes aiming hard, when you’re not exactly on the same level), and you can move around in the environment - going behind rocks, under cliffs, and even underwater. I have mixed feelings about this, since it’s really cool to be able to fight underwater, but it’s hard to locate your opponent sometimes. Also when playing mutliplayer, you now have to play split screen, which always feels cramped.

Super Raging Mode: When you fully charge your energy bar, and press RB at the right moment, you enter Super Raging Mode - which allows you to chain many more attacks and deal greater damage. Also the sky gets dark, and they play them music from the intro, complete with Japanese vocals. This would be ok, but when you run your energy down, the music abruptly stops, which is really jarring.

How Do I Feel About Continuing: No thanks. Just too complicated.

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