Dragon Ball Xenoverse was one of my favorite games of last year. I was excited for what could become of a sequel because, while the game was really fun, it had a lot it could improve upon. A month or so before E3, we heard that we were getting Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 later this year and I became instantly excited. How would they improve the fighting, the customization, and everything else the game had on offer. I couldn’t wait. I’ve been a Dragon Ball fan since about Middle School. I used to draw my favorite characters all the time and later would even take the manga with me to school to read during free periods or after I had finished my homework for the day. It’s something I both cherish and love, and am nostalgic for. So, how did they do with such a beloved series? Well, in simple terms: it’s definitely an improvement. So, I hope you read this Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 review and find out how. We have to protect the timeline, let’s go.
Gametype/Genre: Action RPG with some MMO Elements, Fighting, Anime
Developer: Dimps, QLOC performed PC Port
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Reviewing: Playstation 4 and Steam Versions
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 Story
The game starts on a white screen as you hear the Supreme Kai of Time saying that she needs to pick someone for “that special mission”. After that, you are taken to the character creation screen where you can pick between making your character an Earthling, Saiyan, Majin, Namekian or a Frieza race. Every character race can be a Male or a Female, besides the Namekian and the Frieza Race as those two are gender neutral. Once you finalize your character, keeping in mind you won’t get a chance to change if unless you wanna make a new character entirely or unless you gather the dragon balls in game to make a wish, the game proceeds. Depending upon your race your character’s story starts in one of five places. A short scene plays out, giving you a bit of insight into the location the character is currently in as they investigate the area, a plot point that returns later in the game. Suddenly, the Elder Kai from the Buu Saga of Dragon Ball Z interrupts your character to tell them they have been chosen for a special mission and to come back to headquarters immediately. You arrive back and begin to help the Elder Kai and the Supreme Kai of Time protect the history of the Dragon Ball Z timeline from sudden and detrimental changes. Villains are tampering with the way the story flowed and it’s up to you to put it back together and stop them.
Characters and Visuals
Your character is a silent protagonist, at least mostly. During character creation, like most RPGs that have a character creation system, you do select a voice however they don’t say anything during the story mode whatsoever. Their voice is strictly there for the grunts and yells during fighting and to shout out the name of special moves such as the Kamehameha or the Special Beam Cannon. They can also be heard saying certain things when doing emotes, such as the “I win!” or “Bingo 1-3” emotes. However, that’s not to say the same of your supporting cast. Helping your character throughout their journey is the Elder Kai, Supreme Kai of Time and Trunks, the Timetraveller from a destroyed future who changed the future for Goku and co in the Android Saga. Accompanying Trunks is your character from the first game, assuming you played and had data to transfer from Xenoverse 1, otherwise it’s a stand-in that you select at a certain point not so long after starting up.
Of course, you’re also gonna be meeting Goku, Vegeta, Krillin, Piccolo, and all the others including villains such as Frieza, Cell, and Buu along the way as you are attempting to keep the timeline the way it is supposed to be. The villains are powering up the bad guys from the series in an attempt to kill the heroes of the series, changing the way the story is supposed to progress. So you’ll become quite familiar with a lot of them as you go along, albeit a somewhat abridged version of who they are if you aren’t familiar with them. This game is a fanservice game, meaning that if you aren’t a fan of the series you won’t enjoy it nearly as much as someone who is as you’ll likely not know why any of the events are happening in the first place or how the things happening could be changing history, even if your supporting cast explains how it was supposed to go down.
I can say with certainty that the game runs at a pretty solid 60 FPS on both the PC and the PS4 versions of the game, at 1080p resolution on PS4 and up to 4k resolutions on PC. I cannot say for Xbox One, and my research on how it performs on it reveals nothing more. On PS4, I have experienced a few dropped frames here and there and even times where the game stuttered for a few moments but nothing major while I haven’t had the same issues on PC, though it does stutter a bit sometimes as you load into a zone after talking to someone to go perform a quest. I have however had strange camera glitches while on both versions. While performing justice combination, I’ve noticed the screen freak out for a few moments before returning to normal and in Local versus mode, at least on the PS4 though I suspect it’s not much different on the PC, the camera would freak out and you couldn’t see the fighters for a few moments. I think it mostly has to do with being too close to the invisible walls or ceiling that restrict you to the map. I did once fall through the ground in the hub world but only on PC but that was during the aforementioned stuttering.
The voice actors you have known throughout Dragon Ball Z are back and reprising their roles as their respective characters and are doing a bang up job. Though the mouth flaps in the anime cutscenes and the 3D cutscenes don’t quite match up to the voices. If you want to play with Japanese voices, the Japanese voice work is also phenomenal and you shouldn’t have the mouth flap issue. The music is a large step up from the first game, with a great soundtrack I’d listen to all the time if I ever got my hands on it. It features several returning and remixed songs from Xenoverse 1 and several brand new ones. Steve Aoki has also composed a few songs and even remixes for the game. The sound effects feel like they are straight from the show, just like the voice work.
Gameplay and Mechanics
The game is a combination Action RPG, Fighting, and Massively Multiplayer Online game. There is a massive open world-esque hub world known as Conton City that you move around to start up the various quests, find dropped items and explore. Starting off, you only have a hover vehicle to travel around this big world but later you can fly around the hub world. Important locals are relatively close by each other, with the parallel quests, both online and offline versions, being right beside each other and the online versus and offline versus being right across from the pq booth. Relatively nearby is the shop area, where you can find new items, abilities and clothing and on the opposite side of the map as the quest and versus booths is the patroller school and accessory shop. Everywhere else in the hub world is mostly fluff to explore, find other quests, items, and mentors. While you are doing a story mission or a parallel quest, the game performs similarly to a fighting game in that you have combos that can be performed with the Square/X and Triangle/Y buttons while firing ki blasts with the Circle/B buttons and held for a special ki blast based on your race or equipped super soul. You can also perform Super attacks and Ultimate attacks by holding the R2/RT button (for Supers Skills) and hitting one of the four face buttons on your controller or by holding down L2/LT and the R2/LT buttons (for Ultimates, Transformation, and Evasive Skills) and pressing the face buttons on your controller. Either you alone with computer controlled allies or you and a friend or two can play together online to perform one of over 100 parallel quests, which are side quests with special what if scenarios or situations, which yield outfits, super and ultimate moves, or a chance at getting one of the dragon balls which can be used for one of several one time wishes when all seven are collected. Dragon balls of course can be gathered repeatedly, and as you have more in your inventory the chance of one of them dropping in a mission lowers. Parallel Quests can also be performed Online with random players too. You can also choose to play as any of the original DBZ characters you have unlocked or as your created character. During Story missions, it’s you alone as your created character though, depending upon the mission, you may have a computer controlled ally or two. Other side quests include the new Expert missions, which are big boss battles involving up to 6 players trying to take out a super powered opponent. These can be performed offline with 5 computer allies or online with invited allies and random players.
Other side quests that you must perform alone as your created character, without the help of friends are the Mentor Missions, Challenge Missions, and the various Master Missions. Mentor Missions allow you to take on one of several Dragon Ball Z characters as your Mentor to learn 4 of their signature techniques. After you finish their first 3 missions, the final mission will teach you one of their ultimate moves. This system was in place in the first Xenoverse game, however in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 it’s been completely overhauled. Thanks to a new Training Level system, as you advance to a certain training level you are allowed to do any available Mentor’s missions up to that training level, and as you progress through the story more Mentors become available to you. For example, a mentor may require you be at the easy level to do their first mission but require you to be at the intermediate level for their next two missions and then require you to be at an advanced level to do their fourth and final mission. Every mentor has different training level requirements, and doing mentor missions and pretty much every other type of quest, including the story, will help you to raise your training level. I personally had the highest training level by early to midway through the story and with only the first two handfuls of mentors unlocked, but that’s because I was diving into that aspect very hard. Comparatively, I could barely stand doing mentor stuff in the first game.
Challenge missions allow you to practice and learn more advanced techniques that you won’t learn about anywhere else in the game. There are only about 13 missions and some of them can be quite difficult. If you hope to be competitive in the versus multiplayer, which I’ll cover later, you WILL want to know and master these techniques. Lastly is the Master Missions. There isn’t really a good name for what these are called except maybe Master, as each one corresponds with whatever race you may be playing the game as. That doesn’t, however, mean that you are locked out of doing the other 4 master mission questlines if you choose your favorite race it just means that the one that corresponds with your race has additional missions for you. Those missions will unlock special race specific transformations such as Super Saiyan 1-3 or the Saiyans and the Giant Namekian Transformation for the Namekians. The other missions vary depending on which Master mission line you are doing. Saiyans go to Capsule Corporation, Earthlings to Hercules House, Majin go to Buu’s House, Namekians go to Guru’s House on Planet Namek, and Frieza Race goes to Frieza ship in outter space. As stated, anyone can do any of these missions. In Capsule Corporation, you train with Vegeta and can access the QQ Bang System to allow you to wear whatever clothes you want with whatever stats (from a specific clothing set) you want, after mixing two pieces of clothing together. At Hercules House, you go out on missions as a Great Saiyaman to stop villains and do little challenges for Hercule to prove you can body guard him. At Buu’s House you feed him food so he can have the energy necessary to create children for himself. At Guru’s House, you help them protect the dragon balls from Frieza army attacks. And at Frieza’s Ship, you join the Frieza Force and fight your way up the ranks until you are in as high of a position of power as possible.
As you do missions, you gain experience and gain stat points, with you getting increasingly more points as you progress higher in level until a certain point where it tapers off to a lower amount again. Putting these into your various attributes powers up your Health, Stamina, Ki gauge, Basic attack/ki blast strength, Strike Supers and Ultimate strength, and Ki Blast Supers and Ultimate strength. You can equip various clothing pieces on your character’s chest, legs, hands and feet to increase and lower stats though the new QQ bang system allows you to combine a couple of pieces for a specific set of stats and put that on your character to override any equipped clothing stats. Equipping a super soul gives various buffs and passive changes along with changing your held B button Ki blast attack. There are various modes you can also play in that are not mission based, such as the Local Battle mode, training mode, and the free battle mode. In local battle, player one can battle against player two as any of the unlocked Dragon Ball Z characters or the created character. In training mode you can practice combos and supers and ultimates with various fighting game parameters such as infinite health, ki, stamina or none of those along with the option to choose to see damage numbers and button inputs on screen. And finally in free battle you can choose any of your characters and fight against a computer controlled character.
Miscellaneous: Multiplayer and Replayability
The final modes I wanted to talk about are all strictly Multiplayer modes; Player Match, Ranked Match, and Endless Battle. In Player Match, you can fight a random player or invite a player to play against you with 1v1, 2v2, and 3v3 modes. In Ranked Match you can play against other players to gain ranking on the leader boards. And in Endless Battle you continue fighting in a room until you lose and become cycled out and replaced by another player.
You can create a total of 8 characters, and any new characters start at level 1. As of yet, new characters have to replay the entire story but it’s been stated that it’s going to be patched as Xenoverse 1 didn’t make you replay through the game. Secondary characters have access to all the items, skills, and clothing that you have unlocked so far. In the previous game, all PQs you had unlocked were accessible by all other characters and without the patch to how story mode works with secondary characters it’s hard to say if that will be the case this time too, same with Mentor, Expert, and Master quests as well once the patch is made. As far as bugs and weird glitches or just flat no-effect things, most of the things I have found that are issues with the game isn’t performance visually or gameplay wise but with the dialogue. The voice acting is great and the writing is pretty good too the issue is with text boxes and written dialogue not continuing with the spoken dialogue during missions, or with dialogue overlapping with other dialogue creating a jumbled mess of sound, or with a character saying a line that isn’t present on the screen. The Voiceactors did seem to ad-lib some of their lines some of the times but the message comes across clearly. What I mean is when the line isn’t anywhere near what they were saying. One time the written line was not what they said aloud and a few lines later the written dialogue on screen was what I had heard earlier while the current spoken dialogue was for the written line earlier. Another time a character finished a line and before I had continued to the next dialogue box, another character started speaking. What they said wasn’t necessarily a continuation of the conversation either as when I hit the continue button, someone else and their dialogue began and after a few more lines I saw the lines and heard the voice acting for what I had just heard glitch out earlier.
A few other bugs I found was on steam when attempting to transfer my old save data from Xenoverse 1, the first time it didn’t transfer the character I had selected at all. And the second time I attempted, it transfered a naked (underwear clad) male which is also not my character nor the other character it thought I wanted. Not to mention that on PC, deleted the save can be really difficult if you have cloud storage enabled, with you needing to jump through hoops to find the save and to even delete it off the cloud to re-import if you need to do so. Just make absolutely sure that your import skills and clothes are exactly what you want and that you have all your character slots filled up (which is a work around I heard for the naked character glitch) and hope for the best.
Overall this is a giant step up from the last game, with many improvements upon the combat and the stats and hub world. Hub world travel was so slow, and very small with at least 2 loading screens to crawl through to get around the place while Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2’s Hub World is 7 times bigger with only the load screen into it. Faster to get around with the flying and vehicles too. The roster of characters has been increased dramatically with loads DLC and free updates coming over the course of the next year for all platforms and the character customization has been been increased substantially with brand new hair and face/eye options for all races and many many more skills, items, clothing, and quests. Not just quests, but with an improved and revamped mentor system to learn new skills from your favorite characters and other new things to do around the hub world besides versus, PQs, and story missions with the addition of the Master Mission questlines and the Expert Missions. Plus the new training mode, increased maps to use in local multiplayer with your friends in couch play and a versus computer mode to boot. Multiplayer versus modes even have a new set of rules that let you have a longer time limit and be able to play without using your level and clothing boosts so that everyone is on an even playing field. This is definitely a contender for my top games of the year this year. I’m going to be playing this with my friends for months, if not even a year later.
Be sure to check out our YouTube page for a few gameplay videos of Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 as well as a complete playthrough in the coming future and versus matches with Montage, our fighting game mogul.
Game: Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
Genre: Action RPG with some MMO Elements, Fighting, Anime
Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Steam/PC
Reviewed: Playstation 4 and Steam Versions
Released: Console release on October 25th, 2016 for NA; October 28th, 2016 for EU; November 2nd, 2016 for JP; and Worldwide PC release on Steam on October 27th, 2016
Size: About 13GB
Retail: $59.99 or regional equivelant
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 was reviewed with retail copies of the game purchased digitally from Playstation Network on PS4 and Steam on PC.
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