The first thing I remember was the game asking me was if I wanted to try and transfer my data over, but I didn’t play the first one. This should have been the first sign that I may have bitten off more than I could chew. I do feel that I am qualified to review and discuss Dragon Ball Z Xenoverse 2 though because I watched almost all of the series in high school and played the Budokai series. Plus, it’s a fresh perspective into a game and set of mechanics, where no one has to explain who all the characters are or the story arcs to me. This should be simple (it wasn’t).
There is a wonderful opening anime scene that helps establish the plot and familiar characters. I was then able to choose between five different races, but I admit to playing it safe and picking Saiyan. I gave her weird colored skin and hair at least though—I’m a rebel. My thought was that I would get beaten up often, but they always come back stronger. The customization is nice, but could always use more detail. Players should feel free to go crazy with their creations though, as they look good in the cutscenes.
Just Like The Anime
Dropping into the game itself and moving around was a bit exciting. The environments are nice and flush with color. I recommend playing with the brightness to make certain areas pop even more. The whole presentation is just top notch, though sometimes the characters’ lips don’t match up with what they were saying. The voice acting is solid with most of the performances matching the show, as do the sound effects. I love doing simple actions like jumping and hearing the cartoony effects. The soundtrack fits the show well and is done expertly, but it is weird how much I appreciate the tunes while still getting annoyed by them being annoying and stuck on loop. All of these elements matching the IP help to add into the immersion.
The story might seem a bit basic to those who aren’t into DBZ, but for many it will feel like a great adventure that covers all the best part the series has to offer. This will allow players to meet all of their favorite character, relive the best moments from the show, and it even has elements from the new Dragon Ball Super. With everything I have mentioned so far, it shouldn’t be hard to see that this game took great effort to appease the fans of all things Dragon Ball, and it doesn’t take much to pull someone in.
Learning combat is a different story, and not one I can speak fondly of. Obviously this element and its mechanics are the crux of the game, but sadly, it also has the most flaws. Figuring out how to fight, especially through the various training sessions and instructors—which there are a lot to choose from—can be arduous, but the resources to improve are there. Trust me. I spent a lot of time trying to master the simplest techniques. Battles in the air are made difficult with the controls that feel a bit wonky at first and non-responsive—they aren’t tight. Targeting isn’t too bad, but lining up a shot is quite difficult and many maneuvers in the player’s arsenal add to numerous bouts of disorientation. The camera does not help with this and often grants opponents some cheap shots.
There is little downtime, but the repetition is heavy. These have always been problems though. It does amaze me that we are still dealing with some of these complications in 3D fighting games like this, but I see why. I thought that I would get used to it as the game went on, but perhaps I just learned to accept the title’s limitations. Just sad I kept making my badass looking character look like a chump with all the swinging and missing.
One thing I can’t complain about is how much there is to do in the game. In some ways it became overwhelming when I was trying to focus on the main story. There are tons of online (including the World Tournament) and offline quests, where players can build teams with and control some of their favorite characters from the show—up to sixty-eight. The game starts off slow but picks up quick and before I was ready for it, there was so much to do, learn, and keep track of. There is a nearly MMO-like feeling that is integrated well here. I love this huge hub world with all its different areas, and didn’t even mind how awkward it was using that hover board to get around until I was able to fly, but the map is not nearly detailed enough or useful except in broad strokes. In fact, many of the missions outside of the main story could use more explanation or better indicators.
The game has its fair share of flaws. Even at its best, the gameplay comes off as being a bit tedious. The massive amounts of loading times take me out of the game some too, and I was playing on a digitally downloaded version. Also, be careful with decisions made, as some of them can only be changed by deleting the current save data, though I’m not sure how important these are. The longer I played the more I started getting into the flow of everything. It didn’t mask the flaws, but there was a level of fun I was having that is hard to explain. The game seems made for the fans, which I love. I think there are things that need to happen for the next installment (which will certainly happen). Other than the obvious tweaks needed for combat, controls, and movement, I would love to see more destructible environments. In the show, people are constantly being imprinted into mountain sides and rock faces. I missed that when it didn’t happen in the game. More customization would help, with costumes and being able to change the look of the attacks to fit player characters especially. Also, why were there no new playable races? From what I read the developers kept the same ones from last time. How about playing a Kai or better yet making my hero an Android?
Those things will help. Phew, that was a lot to get through, and I still have a lot to explore in this title. Excuse me while I resume unlocking everything and watching back through the Cell Saga.