Friday, November 4, 2016

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 Review (XONE)

Dragon Ball Xenoverse was a fantastic MMO-style game that lets players live out their Dragon Ball fantasies with friends while soaking in a ton of DBZ fanservice at the same time.  It looked great, had fresh and fun fighting gameplay, and let you create your own characters that fit right into the DBZ world.  Fast-forward just under two years later and now we have Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2.  What new tricks does Xenoverse 2 bring to the table for die-hard Dragon Ball Z fans?  Surprisingly, not much as it is largely more of the same.  It is easily more polished than the original, but the meat and potatoes of your experience is pretty much the same as the last go round.  See all of the details in our full Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 review.

Game Details

  • Publisher: Bandai Namco
  • Developer: Dimps
  • ESRB Rating: “T” for Teen
  • Genre: Action
  • Pros: Awesome presentation; improved hub world; solid fighting gameplay; character creator
  • Cons: The same ol’ DBZ storylines; not much different from Xenoverse 1
  • MSRP: $60
Just like the first Xenoverse, you once again take on the role of an agent in the Time Patrol – a group who has to make sure the timelines don’t get altered by going into the past to fix things that get put out of order by bad guys trying to change things.  This means that, just like pretty much every Dragon Ball Z game released in the last 15-years, you’re re-treading through the DBZ plot in a bunch of “what if?” scenarios.  I’m just going to come out and say it – I’m tired of playing through the same DBZ storylines over and over and over again in every game.  At this point I kinda want Raditz to win and the Saiyans to take over just so we can see something new and interesting even though preventing exactly that is the whole point behind the Xenoverse series to begin with.

While rehashing the same old DBZ storylines is the main drive of the game, you do get to play your own unique role in the DBZ universe outside of missions.  You create your own character by selecting a race – Earthling, Saiyan, Majin, Namekian, Frieza – and gender (if available) and then totally customizing how they look and assigning different skills and attributes to suit your play style.  I have to admit that I really love the character creator as it gives you a stunning amount of options to choose from to make a huge range of characters.  And you can make really, really cute girl characters so I was sold pretty much right from the start.

Once you have your perfectly crafted character you join the online hub world where the real game begins.  The hub has vendors to buy new clothing and items and other stuff, training areas to learn new skills, main DBZ characters who give you quests, and, of course, dozens upon dozens of other players.  The hub in both of the Xenoverse games has always been interesting because it is like the biggest Dragon Ball Z cosplay party ever and it is fun to get to hang out with so many other fans.  When you tire of admiring all of the characters it is time to jump into a mission – either solo or with a group of other players.

Combat in Xenoverse 2 will be familiar to anyone that has played any of the DBZ games lately.  The game puts you in large open 3D environments and lets you fly wherever you want and throw enemies through mountains with ease.  Fighting consists of simple melee and energy attacks that, when mashed out in different combinations, result in different moves.  Because this is a customizable experience, you can give your character moves you actually want to use and level up only their attributes that apply to the way you want to play.  These RPG elements give the combat and overall progression a personal touch that lets you put your own twist on the proceedings.  You may be playing the same story missions you’ve already seen before and you already know how things end, but being able to fight with your own style keeps you engaged.

The presentation in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is fantastic all around.  The graphics look just like the TV anime in motion and the sound effects and music is all either taken directly from the show or sounds like it would fit right in.  The voice acting is also, of course, done by the same actors as the show.  Xenoverse 2 is pretty easily the best looking and sounding Dragon Ball Z game yet.

All of this comes together to create an experience in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 that is undeniably more polished than its predecessor, but also one that is far too similar to not only the first Xenoverse but pretty much ever other recent DBZ game as well.  We’ve seen this same gameplay before and we’ve definitely done these stories a million times already and as a result Xenoverse 2 doesn’t do enough new or different to make it really stand out the same way the first game did.  My ultimate recommendation comes down to this – If you spent a hundred hours with the first Xenoverse, there probably isn’t enough new stuff here to hold your interest.  On the other hand, if you only dabbled in the first game or haven’t played any DBZ games in a while, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is a pretty great experience that you should definitely check out.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher.