Also On: Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Back in early 2015 when Dragon Ball Xenoverse was released I was enthralled, both by its ability to translate the stories and characters from the anime and manga correctly into a video game and its fantastic gameplay. It had enough content to keep me coming back for more several months after its launch. Both solo and co-op game modes kept the experience fresh and intriguing. This year, when the announcement of Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 came I was cautiously optimistic. The first game had told most of the stories that could be used from the DBZ universe, and had done an amazing job with them so I really was not sure where they could go from there. After getting my hands on the game however, I realized that all of my fears were groundless.
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 has the same basic premise the original had, you are a time patroller who travels through DBZ history reliving major events from the show that are being altered, and you have to set them right. This takes you through all nine action-packed seasons with none of the obligatory filler you get with the show. You don’t spend an hour waiting for a spirit bomb to charge up, it happens in about four seconds. It also includes the content from both Battle of the Gods and the newly released Resurrection F. These are all great additions and provide more than enough content to fill the campaign and parallel quests.
The campaign holds a lot of content and a ton of replay value, as you can just pick and choose the individual fights from each saga and play through them at your leisure once you have completed them. This allows you to circle back to things you missed or to try and increase your score throughout the missions. The story is also great, with well-placed cut scenes and pieces from the show and movies to segue between fights. These help put Xenoverse 2 ahead of other games of its type and make it more than just a fighting game.
Parallel quests also make a come-back in a big way. You can choose to play them solo or online with friends. This cooperative aspect of the game was my favorite part of the original, and something I am very much looking forward to exploring in more depth post-launch. (Note: This review was written pre-launch, and some aspects of the game including online were not yet available) The solo missions I did play though were great, bringing lesser known stories from the side sagas to light and adding content that many casual fans of DBZ might not be as familiar with. That is part of what makes these games so great. They cater to hardcore fans and people that have seen all of the anime and read all of the manga (such as myself) and people that are not that familiar with the storylines and lore. This game is for everyone, including people that didn’t play the first one. This is less a sequel and more a retelling with added content and seriously upgraded gameplay and graphics.
Speaking of graphics, this game looks GOOD. I was playing on my PS4 and the visuals were stunning. They have far surpassed anything they have been able to do with the show or movies, yet still make it look true to the way those mediums portray these characters. The edges are just sharper and crisper than ever before, with fluid movement and combat visuals that are second to none. The colors are a huge part of what makes DBZ great and Xenoverse 2 nails it with vast contrast between the bright purple of a Galick Gun and the vibrant blue of a Kamehameha.
One of the most noticeable upgrades here is the sheer size of the hub world, Conton City. The city isn’t big just for the sake of being so however, it is full of content, characters and life. The center of town has a giant hologram of the savior of the city (your character from the previous game if you import a save file) and all around it are your vendors. Clothing shop, skill shop, bank, mail and anything else you could possibly need are all right there for your convenience. Just off to the west of that is your center for online and offline battles and parallel quests. To the south of the hologram sits the Elder Kai and your campaign. Go north and find a school and training area where you can complete increasingly advanced and difficult “tutorials” to hone your skills. Continue to explore the world to find different trainers you can study under and other secrets the world holds for you.
There is an insane amount of content, and I haven’t even been able to really scratch the surface of it yet but I can tell you what I have seen is fantastic. The combat is even more fluid and well balanced than ever before, with custom characters able to stack up against even the toughest of the Z-Fighters. You don’t feel like you have to use a preset character to win solo battles or in parallel quests and vice versa, you aren’t stuck using your custom character for the same reason either. You truly do have the freedom to play whichever character you want with whatever play-style you want and it isn’t unfair. The combat takes some getting used to if you are new to the series, but fans of the first Xenoverse will feel right at home with the controls and combat mechanics.
Movement is something that I have been a fan of since the inception of this series, with its unique method of allowing you to fly and walk and fight in a totally free, open space. You fly from area to area battling foes in the air and on the ground seamlessly. The movement isn’t clunky and the combat is built right into the movement system. You can dash to an opponent and end with an attack, or attack an opponent and transition into a dash as you send them flying across the planet. And fly across the planet they will, with the expert use of a combo system and intensely stylized DBZ action, your battles will truly span the worlds on which you conduct them.
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is the perfect follow up to a great original game, as well as a wonderful way to get the DBZ story without re-watching the entire anime. Every aspect of the first Xenoverse is taken and expanded upon to great effect. Character customization is deeper, the campaign is longer, parallel quests have more substance, and the world itself has more life. The only aspects I have not yet touched are the online ones, but I have no doubt that they will deliver just as competently as the single player parts of this game. As I said earlier, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is perfect for everyone from the most seasoned DBZ and Xenoverse vets to the newcomer who doesn’t even know what a senzu bean is. There is something here for all of you.