STAFF REVIEW of Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 (Xbox One)

Monday, November 21, 2016.
by John Elliott

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 Box art Dragon Ball is the first anime that I remember watching at an early age on YTV here in Canada. Over the years I've watched my fair share, but I never actually took the time to play one of the video games. Though the trend of taking intellectual property from other mediums and putting them into a video game has not had the best track record of creating successful games in the past, I was hopeful and optimistic that Dragon Ball could make the transition. Having cultivated a love for both the series and the artistic style created by Akira Toriyama, I was rooting for this title.

Fans will be familiar with some of the aspects of the story right from the get go, but being a newcomer doesn't dampen the experience. The role you take in the game is that of a member of the Time Patrol. These individuals go through the time line of the Dragon Ball Universe correcting points in time that, if changed, would have severe consequences on the overall timeline. The introduction to the game is a lot like the Dragon Ball show, with several episodes building up the tension between the characters to the point where everything explodes and the final battle takes place.

When the battle does finally happen you come in as the Time Patrol and start kicking some butt. It was surprising how easy the controls were to pick up, allowing you to execute some insane combos as well as some iconic moves, from the large cast of Dragon Ball characters. Once you get through the first battle you will get into more of the guts of the game where some basic RPG elements come into play.

There is a bit of hand holding at the beginning that helps to walk you through some of the basics of combat, along with your mission to keep the timeline secure. At the center of it all is the Time Nest and within is a small city called Conton City. This is where the Time Patrol can get access to items, clothing, training, and side quests, and also also acts as a hub to gain entry to online battles. The first thing I noticed about the Time Nest was the annoying music that permeates throughout the area. This music grated me so much I wanted to jump into battles just to get away from it at every chance. As you progress through your journey you will be able to acquire customization items for your character and other fun things to occupy a budding Time Patroller in Conton City. Also available in the city are parallel quests, which are side missions set in an alternative timeline from the main story mission. This adds a whole lot of replay value with a total of 100 parallel quests to finish in either co-op or online.

In terms of character creation, there are limited options on offer here when compared to in-depth RPGs. You can select either a male or female gender from Human, Saiyan, Namekian, Majin, and the Frieza race. There are additional customizations available for these characters, but they mostly range from slight alterations in a predefined set of attributes and features. You learn your arsenal of moves as you move through the story and you'll meet trainers that will teach you moves that you can assign to your character. You may also run into trainers along your journey like Yamcha and Krillin who teach you some of their more well known moves from the television series.

The gameplay usually revolves around fights where you team up with other players online or have AI controlled characters join. Considering how chaotic and over the top some of the Dragon Ball Z battles unfold, we definitely get the same feeling of how zany the battles can get. Ultimately, the best part of these battles is using moves and super moves that you learn from trainers in Conton City. The more you level up the better moves you get access to. Landing these moves, especially the ones from your favourite characters, can give you a sense of elation and accomplishment at the same time. However, you just can't go off hammering these moves back to back as there is a stamina and KI meter to hold you back and it charges back up over time. It does charge up pretty quickly so you have to throw in a few button mashing combos to pull off the big move to pass the time.

Take some button mashing combat, flashy looking special moves, an art style that closely resembles the anime, and fight scenes that are beautifully animated, and you have the ingredients for Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2. The game manages to immerse you fully into the world of Dragon Ball and builds upon the formula of the first Dragon Ball Xenoverse all while addressing its previous shortcomings. It might not be a perfect game for everyone, but it is a definitely a delight for Dragon Ball fans as they get to experience their favorite moments from the show in game form.

Overall: 8.5 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 8.5 / 10


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