Remember when you were a kid and you would have those cool little action figures of the Dragon Ball characters, and you would make them fight and do the moves from the show? That is exactly what Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 looks to recreate. Acting as a nostalgia trip, you go through all the major battles of the show, although with a little twist this time. In Xenoverse 2 you play as a member of the Time Patrol, a special force that go back in time and correct moments where Dragon Ball history has been distorted. You often get to join in the fights from the show, which makes me wonder how strong the characters actually are since you do everything for them. Without you it seems Goku would die if the toast popped out of the toaster a bit fast and you weren’t there to slap it away.
Xenoverse 2 is a third person RPG fighting game, where you do all the regular RPG things; including doing endless side quests, main quests that have no real meaning until the end, and wander around speaking to people who only seem to talk about themselves. The game offers a wide variety of customisable options for the player, so they can really get into the spirit of things and roleplay. Coming with all the standard customisable options such as hair, voice (which you only hear when using an ability), and gender (except for Namekian), Xenoverse 2 also offers several options that will change how the player wishes to play.
The first option that affects gameplay is which race you wish to play. There are five options in total, and each comes with a different passive ability which will affect gameplay. I created a Saiyan (called Quigly) who comes with a passive that makes his health lower than the standard, but when he is beaten to low health Quigly gets a big surge in attack power. This encourages the player to play aggressively, because they will get stronger with the more damage they take, meaning Saiyans are a give and take sorta bunch.
Quigly in Super Saiyan 3 form!
There is also a levelling system in the game which allows you to improve your character as you progress. Levelling is very easy, with every quest you finish you usually level up, or almost get there. With each level you get a minimum of four points to invest into a skill screen, which will boost your health, ki or stamina, or give you a little bonus damage in either the basic, super, or ultimate categories. However, these points don’t feel like they actually do anything, the damage you deal after you invest points in your attack category feel any different to before; and your increase in power is not visible on the enemy health bar either. While the game tells me Quigly is getting stronger, I couldn’t actually tell you if he is or not.
These don’t do anything meaningful.
Of course, combat is the bulk of the game, with the rest of the game being ways to ferry you into fight or to teach you a new move to use when you come against an enemy. There are three sorts of attacks, the first is the standard attacks, which include punching, kicking and throwing little ki balls; these are the bulk of the combat and make up a lot of the start of combos. The main problem however is that the player just ends up mashing the punch button, as it is by far the most efficient means to do damage, as you are able to get up to fourteen free hits just by mashing the button.
The second kind of attack is the super attack, which are your little special abilites including Gallic Gun, Kamehameha and a series of other popular moves from the show (my personal favourite being Milky Cannon, because it sounds so dumb). There are two kinds of super moves, melee and ranged moves. These attacks cost only a little energy so are good, allowing you to string together combos and deal a lot of damage without expending too much energy.
Lastly, there are the ultimate moves, which take up a lot of the character’s energy but also do a lot of damage or give you the chance to deal a lot of damage. The ultimate moves come in three forms. Two of the four moves are beam attacks such as the X100 Big Bang Kamehameha (which somehow sounds even more ridiculous when your character shouts it out in the middle of a fight). Another of the slots is filled by an escape move; this does what it says on the tin, giving you a bit of breathing space in a heated fight. The last is a transformation move, which allows you to become a Super Saiyan, giving you a stat boost to your damage and your ki blasts (Kamehameha).
This was the set up I had, with plenty of awesome names.
The way that these abilities are gained is also majorly dull. Once you defeat a character in the story line you can go and talk to them in the hub world. They will ramble for a little and tell you they are better than you (even though you just crushed them) before offering to teach you their abilities. While this means you get to see different play styles, all the fights are the same; they are all dead easy and very repetitive.
While all the pieces are there to make a good combat system, the actual combat is not as polished as it could be, often times you are on a good combo or need to land a hit because you are low health, you will swing or Kamehameha in the wrong direction. Furthermore, since you end up smacking people across the world you spend a lot of the missions flying after someone before catching up to them, and then hitting them away again. In the higher levels as well, each fight turns into a repetitive bore. You hit the enemy a couple of times, they teleport behind you, you teleport behind them and slap them a few times; occasionally throwing out a Milky Cannon if you have the time.
Xenoverse 2 has the potential to be a good fighting game, but it needed to be better polished. There are little things here and there which don’t help either. By default, the music is so loud you cannot hear what the characters are saying. The music is also the same for every level, driving you steadily to insanity. Furthermore, some of the scenes are voiced and others aren’t forcing you to read through endless dialogue if you want to have a clue what is going on. While this could usually be talked away by stating Xenoverse 2 is a new release, it isn’t; it was already released for the Xbox One and PS4 in October 2016, giving Bandai Namco almost a whole year to really polish it up for a new console.