Digimon Rumble Arena 2 Xbox Review
Digimon has a following, make no mistake about it; it has it’s fans that will gobble everything Digimon up. You may write this game off as a Pokemon imitator and nothing more then a cheap game off of the Digimon license, but that wouldn’t be a wise decision as Digimon Rumble Arena 2 is a step in the right direction for the Digimon series. It may not be Super Smash Brothers Melee, but it certainly does quite well on it own merits.
Bandai likes to borrow a lot from what Nintendo finds successful you could say. With Digimon Racing (for the GBA) being more of a kart racer like Mario Kart and Digimon Rumble Arena 2 receiving comparisons to Super Smash Brothers Melee, Bandai has found some successful genres to put their Digimon license through. Some may not remember the original Digimon Rumble Arena as it didn’t receive a lot of recognition or any notice from the gaming community. With the first one being lost within the plethora of last generation Playstation One video games, Rumble Arena 2 is more of a fresh start for Bandai. Does it succeed at emulating the “party-fighter” sub genre?
When compared to Nintendo’s known Smash Bros. series, Digimon Rumble Arena 2 isn’t as great as it seems but considering the fact not many fighting games have the “party-fighting” scheme, Rumble Arena 2 is actually a nice addition to the genre that is gaining popularity quite quickly. Not only does it offer new Digimon to use, but they come straight to you with better graphics, interactive environments and a better overall gameplay than the original.
If you don’t own Super Smash Brothers Melee or haven’t played the first Rumble Arena, here’s a quick detailing on how the fighting is. Characters move across the screen like those of 2d fighters. Yes you heard that right; it’s a 2d fighter in essence with polygonal graphics that are shiny to give you the feel of technical graphics. The environments are interactive as barrels will explode when you knock the opponent into them, lava will be dangerous to stand on, a few levels constantly move to keep you thinking on your feet and there are many other hazards that may stand in the way of achieving your goal of winning your fight.
The levels might not be the most original but they get the job done. They all may seem cliché but they serve their purpose. A lava level which you don’t want to fall into, a factory type level which can suck you up and turn you into processed food in a can, and the usual ice variety levels that are hard to walk on; everything you expected is in this game. What isn’t expected, though, is that it actually gives us another fighter that may have quality within gameplay.
What Rumble Arena offers is evolving your Digimon while you play as you collect power ups that are scattered on the ground when you execute some offensive moves on the opposition. Each Digimon has three different forms, one more powerful then the other. I gave it a test to try out all the Digimon due to the fact that I am not too familiar with the Digimon cartoons or movies, and I came out quite impressed. They aren’t too inspiring but they do have their draws to them that make them a little entertaining. A seal looking character can ‘digi-volve’ into a walrus and then into a knight type character that holds a spear. When you collect enough power ups and are fully ‘digi-volved’ you gain a special one time use power that will unleash some mayhem on those near by or standing in the way.
Some Digimon may seem too powerful but you shouldn’t have to worry about it since I have the feeling that this title will only become a party game rather then a dedicated game people play on a constant basis. Though I must tell you if you love Digimon, you’ll find the imbalances quite quick as you can tell right from the get go which ones will overwhelm the others while in multiplayer. The addition of four player capabilities helps even out the odds and adds in a much better experience overall. Having four players duke it out to the end will always be satisfying. What is disappointing is that there is no online whatsoever. If online would have been added, the characters that are over-powered, would have been taken advantage of quickly and this game may have received harsh feedback from the crowd that buys this title.
The last thing that should be covered is the sound and graphics. I must give Rumble Arena credit that they didn’t deliver an annoying game with sound as I have often found with the latest 2d fighters that have come out through the Capcom and SNK licenses. Digimon Rumble Arena 2 doesn’t do anything too surprising but it doesn’t go overboard and offers the player a more relaxed audio department then the hyperactive audio found in other fighters. Graphically, the game resembles more or less the whole Digimon world nicely and it’s cute of course but nothing that will make you want to dwell yourself into the whole Digimon Universe. You can appreciate the characters and the colourful environments as they are done with the effect that appeals to all crowds rather than just the younger crowd.
Digimon Rumble Arena 2 is welcomed by me as a good party fighter that fills in a gap found on the Xbox, while also offering Gamecube fans another option after they have had enough of Super Smash Brothers Melee. Nothing to get too excited about but it’s worthy of picking up if you love fighting games. The game is barely worth the $39.99 price tag but at least it tried to make something of itself. Without Xbox Live being enabled, it should be noted that it is missing a key feature that should be at least somehow implemented with the current generation of Xbox games.