Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 Review
This review was based on the PlayStation 4 version of the game. While the game was reviewed on the PS4, this review will focus on the main aspects of the game, as opposed to whether or not the PS4 version is superior to other platforms.
Dragonball Xenoverse 2 is one of the most defined packages that an anime lover can hope for, it's made and tailored with unique details that all Dragonball Z fans can enjoy.
Following on from the first game, Dragonball Xenoverse 2 rewards players with the option to import their Dragonball Xenoverse character and saved data, in order to create a fundamental part of the storyline.
Your previous character appears alongside your new hero, who has set his sights on becoming the best member of the time patrol, a band of fighters who protect the time stream and everything that occurs, regardless of how gruesome it is.
Super fighting saiyans
It is a shame then that the problems of the first game continue to plague Dragonball Xenoverse 2, with the fighting, most of all, replicating the same button-mashing experience of its predecessor.
However, the game does punish players of this play style in its latter stages, so if you have been button mashing Square or Triangle up until this point, you will struggle. Nevertheless, it must be said that Dragonball Xenoverse 2 still fails to deliver the one thing that it prides itself in the most, being a fighting game.
As much as I wanted to try and find some positives within the fighting, I could not. Every battle feels like the same combination of button presses and special moves, which all lead to an unsatisfying victory.
In one stage, when battling against two giant apes, I was able to fly to a point where they were unable to reach me and spam the circle button until they were defeated, with no challenge whatsoever.
As sad as it is to admit, strategy within Dragonball Xenoverse 2 is pretty much non-existent, as most of my fights revolved around me spamming square and triangle until all my opponents were defeated. Admittedly, in some cases I did have to use a health pack after an unexpected ultimate ability, while, in others, I died.
However, in the rare scenarios in which I failed, it didn’t feel like it was deserved nor did it feel fun to start all over again, from start to finish. It felt more like an annoyance, a repetitive one.
Yet, even with all this critical analysis, I must admit I still enjoyed myself. Perhaps it was due to the notion of ‘ignorance is bliss’ or even my own personal ties towards the series, but due to the number of customisation options, offline and online modes, the game as a whole was relatively fun.
Characters, creations and customisations
In terms of character creation, there isn’t a whole lot of new features, with most of the same races from Dragonball Xenoverse returning with all their unique power-ups, stemming from super Namekians to super Saiyans.
However, in true RPG fashion, there is a wealth of unlockables available to avid gamers, ranging from the obscure to the known, allowing users to shape their characters to their personal playstyles.
Within the realms of standard customisation, again, there isn’t really anything excitingly new, aside from a few DragonBall Super items scattered in-between all the DBZ and GT items that the series has become known for.
In addition to this, I found overall joy in teaming up with other players online, as I did in the previous game, in order to truly grasp the grand scale of Dragonball Xenoverse. Through some new challenges, along with the standard mix of varied content, it truly is a joy to behold.
Same old story, new twist
Heading into Dragonball Xenoverse 2, I couldn’t imagine a story that would offer any surprises, while recycling its previous plot. However, there were parts that truly stuck to me as a DBZ fan, which I had been waiting for.
Case in point, Future Trunks dealing with the fact that he was not able to save Gohan. Without giving away any spoilers, it was a nice and unexpected touch to see individual characters dealing with their inner torments.
Add onto that a Freiza saga that includes Cooler, a good (if weird) use of some of DBZs most unknown villains and an ‘unexpected’ plot twist and voila, we have a cool and new look at the Dragonball Z story formula.
Let us not even mention the fact that Super stories and characters are a part of this game as well as in future DLC, which is a nice inclusion that excites me greatly.
Overall, without ruining Super for anyone, the story was fun to play and kept me engrossed. It contained a good mixture of dialogue and storytelling, which really gives it a boost over other titles.
New, new, new?
While there isn’t an abundance of new features in Dragonball Xenoverse 2, the series has evolved its style in order to become more of an atmospheric game. The same combination of modes still exist and returning players will be overjoyed with what’s on offer in this highly anticipated sequel.
The same level scaling missions of having to keep people alive exist in the parallel missions and the difficulty level spikes as it always does. But that doesn't make it necessarily a bad thing, as I found myself enjoying each tantalising victory, even if it took me many attempts to do so.
The Expert missions are also a welcomed addition, allowing you to team up with groups of people online, in order to take on powerful bosses. If you ignore your teammates, it'll bite you back in the later stages, so be sure to work together.
There is so much content brimming in Dragonball Xenoverse 2, that it is hard to really touch on all of it, so I’m sure there are certain aspects even I haven't experienced in my 40+ hours of playing it. Even when putting it down to do other work, I found myself twitching to get back into the game for "one more try" and that's where this games strengths lie, replayability, fun and entertaining.
With all this in mind, Dragonball Xenoverse 2 gets the royal stamp of…
The sequel retains most of the aspects that made the last game fun, while following on from its story in a unique and refreshing way. However, the fighting still doesn't deliver, with many fights becoming boring and lacking in flavour.
The only reason the game misses out on a six is due to its nostalgic flair that any Dragonball Z will enjoy. And with the future inclusion of Dragonball Super DLC, there is a lot still to expect from the DBZ saga.
Photo credit: Saiyan Island
Images and Game owned by Bandai Namco and Akira Toriyama
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