|Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
|Bandai Namco Entertainment
|October 25, 2016
|PS4, Xbox One, PC (Steam)
As a long-time Dragon Ball fan, I’ve felt a hype for the franchise that I hadn’t felt in years, since its airing of the Funimation dub back in the day. Without spoiling too much, Dragon Ball Super has reached a point in the anime where it finally has a serious villain, one worth paying attention to: Goku Black. The excitement surrounding this new villain got fans in a frenzy, as they made videos and posts with all kinds of theories about who he could be. Goku Black’s presence and terrifying power make the Future Trunks arc of Super an entertaining, gripping watch. With that in mind, many of us, including myself, were wondering if we’d see Black as well as the rest of Dragon Ball Super’s story up to that point in time in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2.
The plot of Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is for the most part a rehash of the first game. You’re still a traveling Time Patroller, part of a new generation of recruits following in your predecessor’s footsteps. As before, you’ll travel to key periods throughout Dragon Ball Z’s history, starting with the battle against Raditz and finishing off with the events of Resurrection F. However, this time, Towa and Mira (the villains from the first game) have hatched a new plan to mess with history, and that’s to use movie villains such as Turles and Lord Slug as henchmen to cause further chaos and instability throughout key battles with big bads like Frieza, Cell, and Majin Buu. I like this a little better than what they did before, which was just to make the TV series’ villains “more powerful” than they should have been. The story is rather short, you could say it’s even more abridged than the Abridged Series from Team Four Star (which I’m a fan of, and a few of their voice actors do play parts in this, such as Nappa’s VA, Takahata101.) The Parallel Quests fill in the blanks, but with the same kind of twist, adding more bad guys to kill or rival Time Patrollers to challenge for extra rewards. Later on, you’ll be able to take on Expert Missions which amount to boss battles you can fight with five other people, and are much tougher than the regular missions.
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2’s main hub, Conton City, is significantly bigger than Toki Toki City from the first game. It’s divided into small subsections, or districts, that mirror many different locales from the Dragon Ball world. You can visit pocket sized rifts which contain places like Capsule Corp., Hercule’s House, Majin Buu’s Home, Frieza’s Spaceship and Kame House. Navigating the world is a pain at first, because you don’t get access to flight right away. You have to ride on this hoverboard until you’re licensed to fly, which is a bit hard to handle and feels like you’re being unnecessarily handicapped. You have shops which sell all the items you need, as well as a TP Badge shop which is only open on weekends and sells some exclusive outfits. Speaking of outfits, those will affect your stats as before. However, now you may visit a mixing machine at Capsule Corp. which allows you to mix outfit pieces and items to (hopefully) get the stat distribution you want, via a feature called QQ Bang. When you equip a QQ Bang, it overwrites your clothing’s stats, so in theory you could wear whatever you’d like without worrying about handicapping yourself. A cool concept, but I felt the process wasn’t intuitive and too dependent on random chance, so I didn’t bother too much with it.
Scattered around the map are trainer characters who you can learn signature moves from, such as Krillin, Gohan, Piccolo, and a few of the bad guys, like Nappa, Raditz and Turles. I don’t believe you can learn all the techniques a character possesses (I really would have liked to learn Piccolo’s Hellzone Grenade, for instance), but moves like the Masenko, Special Beam Cannon, Destructo Disc, those are all here. As you learn moves from these characters, you can take advancement tests, which you’ll want to do to learn ki charges and unlock the ability to interact with more and more characters for training as you progress. Some techniques have been improved or modified in some way. Notably, the Super Saiyan skill now allows you to transform from the first to the third stage, and you only need to equip one skill for this. The transformation you can do depends on how much ki you have, but you can go from level 1 to 2 or even 3 if you wish, and best of all, it doesn’t cost any ki, or constantly drain your ki like it did before.
One nice addition to Xenoverse 2 that I really like is the side activities you can do. By visiting those rifts in time I mentioned before, you can do things like enlist in Frieza’s Army, protect Namek’s Dragon Balls at Guru’s Home, train with Vegeta at Capsule Corp., become Hercule’s bodyguard, and even team up with Great Saiyaman and Saiyawoman as their sidekick. There’s an additional bonus if you play a certain race. For instance, you can only become a Super Saiyan through training with Vegeta, and Buu will be quite receptive to you if you play a Majin character. Speaking of playable races, you can choose from Human, Saiyan, Namekian, Frieza, and Majin. There’s new transformations available for the Frieza and Majin races, you can become a “Golden” Frieza-like character if you wish, but the Majin’s tranformation is quite disappointing, it just makes you look like Kid Buu. I’m not sure why they thought that was a good idea.
I don’t believe I see much of, if any, improvement in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2’s graphics over the first game. It looks the same as it did before, however now that I’m playing on PlayStation 4 rather than on Steam, I’m noticing things like occasional slowdown, texture pop-in and really long load times as issues. The load times are supposed to be fixed with a patch very soon. Sound design doesn’t really impress here. For the most part, the tracks that play through the hub are downright awful, and don’t sound at all like they belong in a Dragon Ball game. Just think of jazz playing with off key, sour notes and you’ll get an idea of what I’m talking about. Some of the voice acting is fine, like Goku’s and Vegeta’s voice, but some of the other characters, like Perfect Cell, sound way off. You’ll also notice that the voices don’t match the lip flap movements, and sometimes they don’t even match the text on screen, as if the actors are ad libbing their lines a bit.
Despite these flaws, I do think Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is an improved sequel. It is the new content and additions to the game that really make this worth buying. Sadly, there isn’t much content from Dragon Ball Super other than the Goku Black Day 1 DLC and Hit, but I’m hoping that we’ll see more, perhaps in future Season Pass DLC. I’ve heard some say that this is what the first Xenoverse game should have been, and I’m inclined to agree. I do think it’s priced a bit too high at $60 for the quality you’re getting, maybe wait for a slight discount before picking this up (or get it on Steam for $10 cheaper). Yet it does have a nice amount of content, and you’ll probably spend a good amount of time in multiplayer doing quests for clothes and such. The story mode took me around 20 hours in total. If you’d enjoy a fan fiction time travel story about yourself saving the Z Fighters, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is the game for you.
Review copy was provided by the publisher