Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is the sequel to the original 2015 fighting role-playing game based on the long-running anime, Dragon BallZ. If you’ve played through Dragon Ball Xenoverse, you’re already familiar with the gameplay. In fact, the game is very similar, incorporating nearly the same story and quests from the first game. While this may turn off players seeking a novel experience, DBXV2 is still the big update that fans were hoping for. Just like the characters in the show, Xenoverse has powered up and is as entertaining as ever.

DBXV2’s story takes place after the first game’s, though you wouldn’t think it based on the premise. Two time-hopping villains mess with the continuity of the show’s timeline, and it’s your job as a Time Patroller to correct history. You fight your way through the main arcs (Saiyan, Frieza, etc.) in slight variations of the show’s canon. The differences from the first game include a bigger emphasis on movie villains, pacing alterations, and some new material. If you have save data from the original Xenoverse, you can import your custom character, who plays an important role in the new story.

This leads to the biggest reason to play this game: its extensive create-a-character mode. You get to play as your own avatar and fight alongside the show’s heroes. There are five races: Earthling, Saiyan, Namekian, Majin, and the Frieza race. You can customize gender, facial features, and voice, among other things. Going even further, your hero can equip many combinations of skills and clothing. You can copy a favorite character, or mix and match styles. A complaint about the original game was that since clothing affected stats, you couldn’t dress how you wanted. The new QQ Bang, formed by synthesizing clothing, offsets that by giving you set stat bonuses regardless of what you’re wearing. Unfortunately, their stat outputs are somewhat random and require you to give up hard-earned clothing. Finally, as you level up your character, you can boost attributes like health or attack.

Once you’ve made your avatar, you can step toe-to-toe with the series’ biggest villains. Combat is just like in the show, which also means it’s unlike any regular fighting game. Most of the fighting takes place as you’re flying through the air, abound with intense martial arts and kinetic Ki energy blasts. The game does a remarkable job in making the action accessible. Although your opponent could be anywhere within the large 3D arena, you can lock on and fly towards them at any time. Physical combos are easy to execute and only require a few button presses as opposed to other games’ complex combos. Likewise, performing hard-hitting super and ultimate moves is also simple. Ki energy allows you to unleash well-timed fireworks display to incinerate foes. As long as you have stamina in your meter, you can also perform mid-attack dodges and even run away for cover. The game’s all about taking charge of the playing field, linking combos to super moves, and preventing your opponent a chance to fight back.

The roster contains dozens of playable characters from the Dragon Ball universe. There are some noteworthy omissions, such as various forms of Frieza and Cell, but most mainstays are accounted for. Developer Dimps has improved balance issues to ensure that each character is fun to use. In addition to the iconic Super Saiyan transformation, each race now has an exclusive transformation, such as Namekians’ giant and Majins’ pure forms.

Aside from the main story, there is a lot to do in the brand new hub town of Conton City. The city itself is a glorious hodgepodge of areas from the show. It’s like visiting a Dragon Ball theme park – there are replicas of Planet Namek, Capsule Corporation, and Kame House. If any of those names brought back fond memories, than you’ll enjoy exploring the vast hub full of references. There are also new “Time Distortion” areas that have unique sets of sidequests, such as defending the elder Namek Guru by collecting the wish-granting Dragon Balls and fighting as a member of one of Frieza’s factions. Additionally, the show’s characters are scattered around the hub, ready to become your mentor and pass on their signature moves.

Parallel Quests, or what-if” scenario sidequests, provide the bulk of side content. There are 100 Parallel Quests, though the number includes all 50+ quests from the first game. Regardless, that’s a large amount of content, and each one has a plethora of unlockable items and skills. This leads into the Xenoverse series’ biggest shortcoming: grinding. There’s a random element that determines what goodies you get following a quest. If you don’t get whatever you’re looking for, you have no choice but to try again and hope for the best. At least the drop rate is fairer compared to the original game’s, in which getting an item could take hours. In DBXV2, as long as you perform hidden quest conditions and get high performance ratings, you have a better chance at getting desired rewards.

Multiplayer also returns and remains a blast. You can still fight others online in up to three-on-three battles. There are also co-operative Parallel Quests and brand new “Time Rift” challenges. In a Time Rift, you and five players take on a single opponent with the catch that at any point, one of you might become brainwashed or sent to another dimension. In the hub, you can interact with others and perform goofy dances, all in good fun. Online is generally stable, though disconnects happen occasionally. It’s likely for this reason that the game sets limits on how much time you can spend in the online lobby.

It’s impossible to talk about this game without mentioning the gorgeous visuals. The graphics sport a colorful anime look that replicates Akira Toriyama’s signature style. Cutscenes reenact classic moments from the show and new animated scenes accompany the game’s plot. The action-packed battles run at a slick 60 frames per second, with little to no drops in quality. The music is a spirited mix of rock and other upbeat tunes that give the game its energy. More importantly, the sound effects are authentic to the show. It feels good to hear the iconic Ki blast, teleport, and charge sounds during a battle. The voice acting is solid with great performances from the cast, though they’re a bit tough to hear at times.

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is a love letter to the series’ biggest fans. Newcomers might not understand what’s happening, but fans will appreciate the high-octane supernatural martial arts. The attention to detail is astounding, from the lovingly made hub world to the cutscenes that recreate classic scenes from the anime. The story takes about 15-20 hours, but building up your custom character and completing quests easily quadruples that number. While grinding is unavoidable thanks to difficulty spikes and random drops, the wealth of content eases the process. Although there is a large number of repeated content, there’s enough in this powered-up sequel to convince Dragon Ball Z fans to fight once more.

I am a lifelong gamer, having grown up with Nintendo since I was young. My passion for gaming led to one of the greatest moments of my life, my video game themed wedding!