November 25, 2009

The Comics Console: Dragon Ball Z: Raging Blast & Attack of the Saiyans!

Dragon Ball Z: Raging Blast is the second of Namco Bandi’s new Dragon Ball video game initiative, following closely behind Dragon Ball: Revenge of King Piccolo, as well as the annual updated DBZ fighting game installment. If you’ve never played a DBZ fighter before, you’ll have no reason to start now. Just like every other DBZ game, you relive some of the more epic battles and moments in the DBZ storyline in Dragon Battle Collection mode. The problem with this in Raging Blast is that the story’s presentation is completely dull and uninteresting, using simple text boxes to quickly explain why you’re fighting who you’re fighting. Previous games have had more cinematic vignettes building up the fight that were just as intense as the fights themselves. The text boxes are a big step down, and will likely bore players familiar and unfamiliar with DBZ’s story.


The chapters cover DBZ’s long drug out conflicts from Radditz, Frieza, Cell and beyond, but there are a few ‘What If’ chapters that are a nice mix up from the over played story. Each chapter is skipable, allowing you to pass over fights you’re having trouble with. In addition to Dragon Battle Collection, you have Super Battle Trial mode which is different challenges with specific goals: like deafening an opponent within a time limit or surviving a gauntlet. Of course it wouldn’t be a DBZ game without a World Tournament mode. 16 players can compete in a single elimination tournament with the computer filling in for any non-human players. It’s pretty basic, but if you can fill a living room with friends to play with, you’ll definitely have some fun with it.

Online has plenty of customizable options for players. You can play against DBZ warriors from all over the world or just in your country, play in ranked or unranked matches, compete in a World Tournament, set default players, and upgrade and customize characters. It’s not too fancy stuff for a video game, but for a DBZ game, it’s a step up.

You’re definitely getting a lot for your zeni in Raging Blast with good online features and a strong 70 character roster, but Raging Blast‘s biggest issue, unfortunately, is everything gameplay related. The initial attack button doesn’t always attack. If you’re standing right in front of your opponent, and not doing anything else at the time, it works fine. Otherwise, not so much. That feeling of unresponsiveness can be extremely problematic, especially since this is a fighting game. The style focus seems set more for performing big power moves and special attacks, than using fighting fundamentals. The camera can also be difficult. It’s easy to get lost in the arena-like environment you’re fighting in.

Dragon Ball Z: Raging Blast really feels like a step backward from previous DBZ fighters, but if you’re a hardcore fan, you’ll find something to enjoy. 3/5

Raging Blast wasn’t the only Dragon Ball game to come out recently, but it was the only DBZ fighter. The other, Monolith Soft’s Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans for the Nintendo DS, returns the Z warriors to the RPG genre. DBZ has never had the best luck with RPG style games, but Attack of the Saiyans completely changes that.

The most welcome change of pace to this DBZ game is the liberties taken with the story. Instead of the same old long journey through Snake Way, the scuffle with Vegta, and the tedious build to the battle with Frieza like we’re use to, Attack of the Saiyans starts you off in the middle of the Dragon Ball series with Emperor Pillaf, and the Red Ribbon Army, and takes you into Dragon Ball Z and the coming of the saiyans. It’s all the same plot we know, but it’s a unique approach to the DBZ lore.

Veteran RPG players won’t be wowed by the simple gameplay, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t pleasing. Its got everything you would expect from your run-of-the-mill RPG — random battles, leveling up, capsule collecting, strategic use of items, ect. A lot of the items you pick up tend to be useless. Some have use in battles, others don’t seem to have any purpose in the game. You could go the entire game without touching half your inventory. One unique feature the gameplay offers is the collection of Ki for a special meeter that, once filled, allows you and your party (Goku, Gohan, Tien, Krillin, Piccolo or Yamcha) to preform all their special attacks at once. However, this feature isn’t perfect and you’ll most likely reserve it for boss battles, otherwise it feels more like a gimmick, but it’s still exciting to do.

The worst part of the game is that it’s too easy. It has a built in walk-through system that tells you exactly where to go and what to do. There also isn’t much replay value, and once you beat the main story, you’ll have to start a new one altogether instead of carrying over previous data. Though there is a hidden boss to hunt for and level up your characters to battle once you find him. Overall, the game is good for at least 25 hours of gameplay.

There are no voice overs in the game, but you do hear the familiar cries and yells of Goku and the gang as they hurl their energy blasts, and a lot of the noises and sounds you’ll recognize from the anime.

Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans isn’t the deepest RPG experience, which is good, because it’s perfect for gamers looking to get into the genre, or those looking for a fun, light breeze through the DB Universe. Dragon Ball Z fans are sure love it. 4/5

Namco Bandi picked up quite an asset when they acquired the Dragon Ball franchise a year ago, and Dragon Ball will always have a faithful fan following, but I have to wonder how long games, or even the manga or anime themselves will last. Dragon Ball has already shown that it can endure, but with no fresh stories coming out every month like American comics, I don’t see it ever being nearly as popular as it was in its prime.

Akira Toriyama created a fun and vast universe, and games are a great way to explore that. Dragon Ball Online, a massively multiplayer online game developed in Japan and South Korea, is a great step in the right direction. The game will take place 216 years after the events of the manga, allowing players to choose a race from the DB Universe, and create their own Z warrior. No release date has been announced, but games like this are exactly the kind of breath of fresh air the series needs.

Checkout The Comics Console next week when we play Ghostbusters: The Video Game!

Andrew Hurst



  1. Another great write-up Andrew!

    I’ve yet to get into the DBZ universe… I played the CCG a little bit years ago, but that’s about it.

  2. billy

    Great stuff AW.

  3. InfiniteSpeech

    My fav DB games were the Budokai series on PS2 anything after that is pretty much the exact same game with unecessary tweaks and worse controls. I agree that since the series is over if nothing new is produced the games will, if they haven’t already, lose a lot of fans. But hearing that something new is on the horizon is good news hopefully it will pan out to be worth the time and effort. Damn good article..can’t wait for the Ghostbusters one…I played a LOT of it!

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