Game Review: Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 (Xbox One)
07/11/2016 Leave a comment
Dimps once again returns to the Dragon Ball franchise with it’s sequel to Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2; but has the game seen improvement or is it just another revisualisation of the iconic manga series? Well it’s a bit of both and you’ll find out why in our review of the game!
When Dragon Ball Xenoverse released onto multiple-platforms early last year it gave the anime-come-gaming franchise a refreshing reboot with it’s unique story and MMOPRG styled mechanics and now; just a mere 20 months since it’s original release, a rather unexpected sequel has arrived and in some ways it can be considered the best Dragon Ball game released to date.
Developed by DIMPS, the studio who brought us the Budokai Trilogy onto the PS2, and pubished by Bandai Namco Entertainment comes Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, a sequel that no-one expected and yet it manages to build-upon the foundations laid down by it’s predecessor to make it not just bigger, but a lot better. Sequel’s are all about taking everything we know about the original and improving upon it and with Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 DIMPS have managed to do just that; as everything you could ever love about the game (and the series in general) is here waiting for you to explore.
So why was Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 an unexpected sequel? Well the original game saw players create their own protagonist (known as a Time Patroller) and aid the Supreme Kai of Time in stopping enemies, namely Mira and Towa, from altering the events of the Dragon Ball timeline. It’s a story which, in some aspects, can only have one way of being told and yet here we are with its sequel. It’s surprisingly unexpected. So whats changed? Well in the original game it was Demigra that led Mira and Towa to alter the Dragon Ball timeline by boosting power of infamous villians (such as Freiza, Cell, Buu etc) in an attempt take control of time itself. However in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 Mira and Towa are the ones who are in charge and they have recruited Turles (from the Dragon Ball Z movie The Tree of Might) and Lord Slug (from the Dragon Ball Z movie of the same name) to do their bidding; a choice which leads to some interesting results when you progress through the games story.
The result of this change is an incredibly different way of presenting the Dragon Ball story; as this time the ‘Dragon Ball timeline’ is used as a guide while the ‘story’ of the game itself is the ideals between Mira, Towa, Turles and Lord slug and the plans they have for the time patrollers residing within Conton City; a city rebuilt on the ashes of Toki Toki city from the first game.
Put simply; Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 has a story that uses the original Dragon Ball Z timeline, and in turn Dragon Ball GT and Dragon Ball Super, as its guide but the actual storyline is the events which see the time patrollers attempt to stop the villans plans from succeeding. It’s another unique story and –in turn – feels completely different to that of the original game; and while we do see elements of the Dragon Ball timeline played out in front of us it feels like a completely different and refreshing experience; something which isn’t easy to do when the franchise is three decades old.
Storyline aside Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 has once again been developed as an online-centric fighting game; and as such elements of both fighting gameplay are blended with MMORPG elements. To start with upon creating a character (of which players can choose from Saiyan, Earthling, Namekian, Buu and Freiza races) players find themselves thrown into the online hub world of Conton City whereby players can interact with other players and NPC characters at the same time. Just like TokiToki City within the original game this hub world acts as the players gateway to all of the content and despite being designed for an online experience it can be played offline in single-player with Non-Playable-Characters filling out the land.
As mentioned the hub world is where all of the gameplay modes can be found; but it offers much more than that. For starters the basic gameplay modes, which consist of Offline and Online Missions as well as Story Mode and Multiplayer match-making modes, are blended together with shops (such as Item, Outfit, Skills and Mixing) for character customization and numerous characters from the Dragon Ball timeline that can act as your tutor. Exploring Conton City is crucial to getting the best out of Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 as while Missions and Story elements are located in the city of the city exploring the vast hub world can see additional attacks, tutors and outfits being unlocked if interacting with the right characters; such as tutors who can teach your character new moves or fan-favourite moves such as Vegeta’s Galick Gun.
This hub world is not only bigger in size but unlike the previous TokiToki City in the first game there are virtually no loading screens; so exploring this hub world is much easier and more refined. In hindsight the only loading screens appear during transitions between Rift Worlds and the main area of the hub world or after returning from a mission; every else flows seamlessly with no lag or noticable buffering. Rift Worlds are a new addition to Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 and it sees iconic landmarks from the franchise trapped within a single space of time; each of which offer something different. For example Buu’s house will see the player feed Buu food in an attempt for ‘smaller buus’ to be created while attending Hercule’s house will see home provide you with challenges to complete for bonus money (zeni) rewards. The Rift World’s are only a small part of the explorative side of Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 but it does offer that ‘alternative’ comical side of the game that wasn’t presented in the first half; especially when it comes to giving Buu food.
To be blunt; you can spend several hours within this Hub World without even touching any of the generic story content and it’s side-story missions and challenges and even after exploring all of this ‘hub world content’ there is still more to explore in the forms of hundreds, if not thousands, of different items, outfits and accessories as well as an extensive selection of characters from the entire Dragon Ball franchise. Of course the real talking point of this game is its fighting game mechanics and how it works during combat; of which both work well with each other. The mechanics remain consistent with the previous game and as such players can find themselves in teams of up to 6 characters battling against each other with each character having a Health, Ki and Stamina bar. The Health Bar is a no brainer but the Ki and Stamina bar are used for two different purposes; for instance Ki is used for special or super attacks (such as Kamehahaha or Destructo-Disc) but the Stamina bar is used for high-speed-movement and teleportation; a feature which has become much more simpler and useful compared to the first game.
In regards to actual combat then players can use the X button for Punch and Y button for kicks with B button being reserved for Ki attacks. In order to preform special attacks then the RT button must be pushed to bring-up a sub-menu with four different special attacks (with A,X,Y,B offering a different type of attack or command). More powerful attacks, those which use 4 Ki gauges, require the player to push both RT and LRT and chose from a slightly different on-screen sub-menu with once again A,X,Y,B offering different types of attacks. It sounds complicated on paper; but in practice it works extremely well and it seems to flow much better than it did in the previous game despite being the same style of input.
Combat is relatively easy and straight forward; but as players progress through the game higher difficulty missions will become unlocked – such as the new Expert Missions which require four player-controllered-players in order to stand a chance of beating it. To aid players with this increased difficulty items can be equipped and used freely during battle; with items such as health recovery and ki recovery being available for use. Personally I neglected to use these, mainly because I forgot about them; but they can be extremely useful during those intense moments of combat.
At a glance Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 looks like a simple sequel that re-uses elements from the past game; but in reality the whole experience has been redefined for a new generation of gaming and despite a few niggles, such as the repetitive music, relatively steep difficulty increase and the numerous loading screens in-between-missions, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is one of the best Dragon Ball experiences to date. It looks great, it plays great and it features an extensive amount of content, such as an insane amount of characters, that explores the entire Dragon Ball franchise so as a ‘fan’ of the franchise this is one game that’s worth adding to your collection.
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is now available for the Xbox One, PS4 and PC.