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Review: Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2

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Improves the Xenoverse, but the franchise isn't quite there yet

Dragon Ball games have been a part of my entire life. I played classics such as the Super Butoden series on the SNES and more recent but classic titles like the Budokai series. Throughout the years I’ve also experienced terrible Dragon Ball games: Ultimate Battle 22, Final Bout, Legacy of Goku (the two sequels were wonderful, though), Taiketsu, Sagas, Ultimate Tenkaichi, Kinect, and Battle of Z. While it’s far from my favorite anime series compared to back in the day, the Dragon Ball franchise will always have a place in my heart so that’s why I’m always interested when a new game gets revealed.

After the disasters that came out post-Raging Blast 2, I just lost all hope for the games. Raging Blast 2 was far from being one of the best games either, but it was still enjoyable as it didn’t have obnoxious gameplay and stripped features. Then comes Xenoverse, which had its issues, but it resurrected my faith for Dragon Ball games to be above average once again. Additionally, it brought a feature that a lot of fans had been requesting for a while: the ability to finally create your own character. While there’s Dragon Ball Online, it wasn’t easily accessible.

Although it has fixed many problems and improved gameplay, Xenoverse 2, unfortunately, comes with its own problems as well. There were things that the first game did right and that should have been kept unchanged. Still, Xenoverse 2 keeps the dream alive that Dragon Ball games might return to their former glory. With Dragon Ball Super on-going, there’s plenty of content that can be added. The first DLC pack is already confirmed to have characters from Dragon Ball Super, even.

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 (PS4 [reviewed], Xbox One, PC)
Developer: Dimps
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Released: October 25, 2016
MSRP: $59.99 (PS4, Xbox One), $49.99 (PC)

Just like the beta, before starting the game, it asks if you want to transfer your Time Patroller from the first Xenoverse. Before even accepting, or rather before even launching the game, I would recommend that you get the items for your character, especially something like Maximum Charge which is more difficult to get in Xenoverse 2. After that’s done, you will proceed to creating your new Time Patroller.

The Character Creator is a little more robust this time. I was left very satisfied with my creation as there’s plenty of options to choose from. Starting off, you will pick from the same races from the last game: Majin, Saiyan, Humans, Namekian, and Frieza’s Clan.

Once you select a race, you will be given the option to change your character’s appearance, as well as their name and voice. Just like in the first game, there’s tons of options — enough to leave you undecided and taking your sweet time making a character that suits your taste.

A small issue I had with the first was that you were unable to create a new character until you beat the game with your initial custom character. While Xenoverse 2 fixes that issue, and allows you to create multiple characters without completing the story, the problem with this new formula is that each character has their individual story so you’ll have to unlock everything again in terms of Time Patroller missions, Parallel Quests, and so on. Items including skills, clothes, money, and collected Dragon Balls transfer, at least, so beating the game once more shouldn’t be a big deal.

Though I do find it discouraging since in Xenoverse, I filled up half the slots because I enjoyed building up different characters. If I had to beat the story multiple times, even with the ease of having transferred items, I would still feel discouraged and probably just stick to two characters. Three at most. This just takes out some of the fun of creating more.

Conton City is a massive improvement. There’s so much to explore, not to mention that everything is in one place, as opposed to Toki Toki City which was smaller and had you transition to other areas and deal with loading times on top of that. Being able to ride a vehicle during the beginning made things easier and saved a lot of time. It gets even better when you’re allowed to fly, making the vehicle redundant. Unfortunately, the loading times are atrocious in Xenoverse 2. It can easily give me enough time to take a restroom break and come back to the loading screen. It’s unacceptable.

Overall, I thought that the Story Mode had the potential to be more — though in terms of difficulty, it was a lot better. It was just a matter of equipping some Energy Capsules and grinding a little bit. Additionally, while the final boss’ form did catch me by surprise, the character itself was very predictable. This boss battle felt like a regular battle and if it weren’t for their health, I would have thought it was. As far as the story, I felt like it could have been handled better. I did enjoy the secret missions, though, especially how they showed development for the present characters.

I liked Parallel Quests in the first game, and while some of them felt as if they were repeated here, I didn't mind completing them in Xenoverse 2 as well. Parallel Quests are essentially non-canon side missions that range from siding with villains and defeating former allies to fighting waves of enemies such as Saibamen and Cell Jr.

When completing them, you'll unlock more key items and equipment for your character. One of the issues in the first game was that the RNG was awful, and you had to beat a mission multiple times to get the item that you wanted, even when you got the highest grade possible. Thankfully, Dimps listened and that has been improved.

Additionally, there’s Expert Missions, which let you have up to six players in a party (compared to Parallel Quests, which only allow up to three). As the name suggests, they are essentially harder missions that offer additional gameplay mechanics, such as being controlled in the middle of battle. When controlled, you will fight an evil version of yourself inside your mind while your partners will fight you to save you from the spell.

After the complaints they received for the bare-bones Versus mode, the developers have listened for Xenoverse 2. In offline battles, you will be able to do “Free Battle” against the computer, “Local Battle” to coach play with a friend, and “Training” to hone up your skills. The latter was needed as well since just battling the AI wasn’t a proper way to train in the last game.

Online Battles are basically the same, featuring Player Matches, Ranked Matches, and Endless Battle. While it had its flaws, the netcode in the first game wasn’t bad. So far I haven’t had any bad experiences with Xenoverse 2's netcode. The invisibility glitch, which was fixed in the open beta, is also not present in the full game.

Conton City also has floating islands known as Time Rifts, which are associated with famous locations within the Dragon Ball universe. You can go to Frieza's Spaceship, Buu's House, Hercule's House, Guru's House on Namek, and the Capsule Corp building. Each location will have unique activities that you can complete, such as protecting Guru’s House from Frieza’s henchmen, training with Vegeta, and even feeding Majin Buu to help him build a family.

You will get more out of a Time Rift depending on the race you choose. Playing as Saiyan, for instance, you will have extra missions in which Vegeta helps you reach Super Saiyan. Similarly, if you reach a certain point during Guru’s missions, you will learn the Giant transformation for your Namekian character. For the Majin Buu rift, if you choose the Buu race, Majin Buu can have up to 10 children as opposed to six. His offspring will help you get items if you feed them food, so the more the merrier.

An issue I had with this was that in the previous game, the transformations were purchasable – you basically knew how to get them. However, with Xenoverse 2, while you get them by completing the Time Rifts, which should be easy enough, it doesn’t tell you specifically how to earn them. On top of that, you cannot advance the story until you unlock your transformation. Luckily I was able to figure it out quickly anyway.

While essentially Xenoverse 2 offers the same core mechanics, you will find that there are additions and improvements such as the Homing Dash and an Aura Burst Dash. The former closes in on opponents more quickly, while the latter allows the player to dodge attacks while homing in on an enemy. If you enjoyed the combat before, then you certainly will enjoy it here.

Another inclusion that I loved was the QQ Bangs, which removes the clothing restrictions. In the first game, each clothing item had certain stats, so you'd be forced to wear something you didn't necessarily want to. While the clothing in Xenoverse 2 still has stats, this fixes the problem. Basically, QQ Bangs, which are created by mixing two pieces of clothing together as well as an extra mixing item, overwrite any stats coming from costumes and outfits, meaning you can then wear whatever you want.

Not much has improved in the graphics department for Xenoverse 2, despite the game being only on current-gen and PC this time around. However, overall it seems to look a bit more detailed. As a PC gamer, I am an advocate of 60 frames per second, which unfortunately both current-gen console versions of Xenoverse lacked — part of the reason why I most focused on the PC version and a lot less on the PS4 and Xbox One versions. With Xenoverse 2, however, all three versions will be running at 60 frames per second. It improved my experience playing through the PS4 version.

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, despite its issues, is still an improvement over the original Xenoverse, although minimally. It has its letdowns but long-term it will offer a better experience due to Bandai Namco's promised year of post-release support, including three DLC packs, as well as the present gameplay improvements and slightly more content. If you’re a Dragon Ball fan and enjoyed the first game, Xenoverse 2 will leave you off satisfied.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

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Dragon Ball XenoVerse 2 reviewed by Christian Chiok

7.5

GOOD

Solid and definitely has an audience. There could be some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.
How we score:  The Destructoid reviews guide

 
 
 

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Christian Chiok
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