Ain't no thing like me, except me. I am the biggest half behind this website and love to write about my deep love for fighting games, (J)RPG's and Destiny. Really do not like Call of Duty and absolutely love pizza.
A big leap forward.
When it comes to gaming, the past few years have been pretty rough for DragonBall fans. During the PS2/Xbox era the franchise saw a number of mostly great games released: Most notably the Budokai series by Dimps and the Tenkaichi series by Spike.
When the following generation of consoles was introduced fans of the franchise had high hopes for the future. Unfortunately the PS3 and XBOX360 did not see the same quality DragonBall games their predecessors did. With each release things started to feel more and more like annual shovelware being pushed down people’s throats.
All hope seemed lost until Dragon Ball: Xenoverse was announced. Dimps was back with the intention to make things right. With each bit of news hitting the internet fans surely but slowly grew optimistic again.
So now that DragonBall: Xenoverse has been released, was the game worth the hype?
In one word: Definitely!
*I’m going to describe the story a bit without giving away spoilers.
If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you’re a DragonBall fan or at least familiar with the story. DragonBall: Xenoverse adds a twist to the original story we’ve been playing over and over for the past decade.
Back when Trunks used a time machine to warn Goku about the androids, he made someone aware of the development of time travel. These evil beings are now using time travel for their own personal gains, creating timelines (or dimensions if you will) with a distorted history.
When Trunks learned about this he became a Time Patroller – which is basically an interdimensional police officer – to make things right. Trunks realised he couldn’t fix everything on his own, so he gathered the dragonballs and made a wish to Shenron to send him a strong warrior to help out: That’s where you come in.
You can create a warrior from one of five races: Majin (Buu race), Saiyan, Earthling, Namekian and Frieza race. Each race has its strengths and weaknesses to keep things balanced.
The character creation system offers enough options to really add a personalized touch to your created fighter.
After finishing with the creation of your character you meet with Trunks who informs you about what’s going on and why he needs your help. Furthermore, you’re introduced to the games lobby: Toki Toki City. Toki Toki City is an interdimensional plane and acts as a headquarter for all the ‘time cops’, of which you are now one.
You basically free roam through Toki Toki City and are free to decide what to do next. Do you feel like doing a mission related to the storyline of the game or a side mission? Or perhaps a trip to the shopping district to buy some new threads or accessories for your fighter? You decide your own order of doing things and advance through the game at your own pace. Missions can give you various goals. While you usually need to kick someone’s ass, each mission comes with a certain set of goals: some essential and some optional. An essential goal would be to win the fight or make sure your allies don’t get knocked out, while an optional goal would be to win with a certain attack or make sure your health doesn’t drop below a certain percentage.
On to the actual fighting. You fight in large stages and teams consist of up to three active fighters at the same time. Especially large team battles that go all over the place add an epic feel and finishing opponents off with a well timed special attack comes with a very satisfying feeling that never gets dull. At the end of each mission you are rewarded with experience points, money and items.
Once you’ve accumulated enough experience points your character levels up and you can assign points to boost his or her attributes. Items can be anything from clothes to new skills and money can be used to buy any type of item to expand your collection and you never really have enough money as you keep unlocking new items as you progress through the game. You can customize your fighter not only by changing clothes and accessories, but also by assigning various attacks and battle characteristics.
All of this is great, but there is a lot of room for improvement. For starters, the fight system needs to be more fleshed out. While battles are great fun to play, the combo system doesn’t offer a lot of variety and after a while things can begin to feel a bit repetitive. This is saved by the large roster of fighters and the fact that you can edit your special moves, but it needs to be addressed for a possible sequel.
On to the technical issues: The controls are a bit clunky and at certain points it feels like they are holding back the quality of the battles, or at least your own performance. You can switch between three control variations, but none of them feel perfect. It doesn’t help that the camera tends to get a little trippy when there’s a large number of fighters active in a small radius. The A.I. of your allies isn’t always of the highest quality and at the time of writing this review I haven’t really been able to test the online modes as Namco Bandai reportedly has some issues with servers crashing.
And finally, the games aesthetics: while this is easily the best looking DragonBall game to date, it doesn’t seem to push the next gen hardware. I can imagine some concessions having to be made for the PS3 and XBOX360 versions, but on the PS4 and XBOX One I want fully destructible environments. I want to see the planet shaking, gravel starting to float up in the air and feel my gamepad rumble when strong characters are powering up. Simply put, I want to see and feel how powerful these characters actually are. I’ve also noticed that when characters are talking during a fight, their mouth doesn’t move, which just feels off.
Some of my complaints might feel like nitpicking, but I feel like addressing these for a possible sequel may give us fans an even better game down the road.