Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 Review
Although wildly popular, I’ve never been a huge fan of the Dragon Ball Universe nor do I have an affinity for fighting games. That being said, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 does everything a little bit different, making it the ideal game for long time fans and new players. While jumping into franchises with years and years of history is often a daunting task, the story and flow of Xenoverse 2 is the perfect combination of story, characters, and combat that will work for long time fans and new arrivals. Even though a fighting game is pretty low on my list of must play games, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 had me hooked for almost 35 hours and is probably one of the best fighting games I’ve played in a really long time.
Story For All
Whenever you jump into a storied franchise, there is a safe bet that something in the story is going to leave you wondering, whether it’s a plot point that hinges on the anime, or some video game character progression that began long before Xenoverse 2 was ever released. Thankfully, the developers dodge around all of this in a great way with the storytelling. Instead of creating something entirely new, the developers have taken a different approach with the story: two new protagonists have been added to the Dragon Ball universe and they’ve gone back in time to alter the events of the Dragon Ball lore. As a new character yourself, you will be tasked with returning the Dragon Ball’s story to its proper, historical place. That means you will get to battle some of the greatest fighters in Dragon Ball history, as well as get a history lesson on the franchise itself.
New players won’t feel lost as they will be introduced to many of the franchises biggest moments and long time fans will get that nostalgic boost every time something happens that they fondly remember. Although this doesn’t happen often in video games, it is a definite win-win!
There is still lots of intrigue here that will keep people from feeling they are just replaying moments from past games. The characters themselves will be faced with numerous challenges, most importantly the internal ones, when altering the course of history could appear to have positive affects. Still, as you progress through the 30-35 hour campaign, you fully understand it is your job to make sure that history is unaltered.
Hoping Into the Campaign
For myself, the campaign was the big draw in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2. Once you’ve created our custom Dragon Ball character, you will begin re-righting – not rewriting – the Dragon Ball history. Each battle you complete will net you experience in order to level up your character, so while this is definitely a fighting game, the ability to weave RPG elements throughout will be a big draw for those sitting on the fence, myself included. How you level up your character, what gear you give him, and what moves he learns could be the difference between winning and losing any given fight, so taking the time to understand these mechanics is vital to your success in the game.
I’m a big fan of hub worlds in games that traditionally don’t have an open world component, so the second I was dumped into Toki Toki City, I knew I was in for a great experience. The hub acts as your gateway to almost everything, including merchants with more items for you to purchase, a booth that allows you to send unneeded items to your Nintendo Switch friends who also have Dragon Ball , and a host of side quests to complete.
The first big issue with the game is the side quest system. There doesn’t seem to be any side quest menu to organize what you are currently attempting to complete, which resulted in numerous trips back to quest givers to simply remember exactly what they wanted in the first place.
Your story will progress as you find famous heroes and villains from the series history. These characters will provide you with quests to complete, which often involve learning their special moves or taking on key enemies in their own personal stories. The progress via the main story works really well; these events can be tracked both within the menus and via markers on the game map.
Game Play is Rock Solid
When you do engage in these missions and load up the arenas you will battle in, you quickly realize that the 2D plane used in most fighting games has been exchanged for a 3D environment in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2. I love this addition, but many fighting fans who enjoy the 2D – or the 2D/3D hybrid used in Pokken Tournament for example – will be sorely disappointed.
The fighting mechanics work well for the most part, although mashing buttons is almost never the way to victory. With hundreds of moves and combos to learn, those that take the time to practice and memorize them will have the greatest chance at success. While the list of moves was initially daunting to me, I quickly settled into about a dozen different combos and moved forward from there, always remembering there were more moves to learn in case I found one of my memorized moves unusable in battle.
The only issue with the 3D arena is the camera. As you fly around the map the camera sometimes is working against itself trying to keep up, sometimes resulting in a combo being missed or a punch not landing how it should. Rarely was this ever the difference between life and death, but it can throw you off enough to make the battles much more difficult than they need to be.
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is full of content outside the solo only campaign, highlighted by the Parallel Quests. Parallel Quests will allow players to relive iconic moments of Dragon Ball history, but unlike the events you play through during the campaign, these can be done with a group of friends. Although voice chat isn’t an option here, it was still fun to experience these moments, especially when playing with long time Dragon Ball fans!
Parallel Quests lack all the frills of the main campaign, so don’t expect cut scenes to set up the current narrative for you. Having a Dragon Ball fan on my team was helpful for some context in certain situations, but even without that insight, the missions themselves would still have been enjoyable.
No matter how you decide to play Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 on your Nintendo Switch, you will have a really good time. Bandai Namco has gone above and beyond with this release, packing all the content from the console version released last year onto the Nintendo switch. Although the framerate drops from 60 fps to 30 fps, the rest of the game holds up really well. As an added bonus, Bandai Namco has also included the events of the original Dragon Ball Xenoverse, which was never released on Nintendo consoles. This is an added bonus that no one would have faulted Bandai Namco on had they not included it in this package. They did however, giving the title that added extra value.
Having a Dragon Ball game in high definition on the go is phenomenal and Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 should scratch that Dragon Ball itch that Nintendo fans have had for a long while. Whether a lifelong fan of the franchise or a new recruit, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 shines bright on the Nintendo Switch!