Having not played Dragon Ball XenoVerse previously, but generally hearing some high praise, I was excited to get my hands on Dragon Ball XenoVerse 2 and relive one of my childhood (and adult) favourites all over again. With a franchise the size of Dragon Ball and its rich history of video games, I have to say that my excitement is equally met by suspicion but let’s dive right into my experience.
The story continues on from the events of the first XenoVerse game while keeping it vague enough for newcomers not to feel left out. Players of the first game will be prompted early in the game to import save data from the first which allows your previous hero to appear within the story as a supporting character. From what I can tell the story works largely the same as the first with you attempting to restore Dragon Ball’s history. The only difference this time being that the big baddies at the route of all this have enlisted villains from the movies to help them wreak havoc. It is then your job as a brand new member of the Time Patrol to put a stop to their activities and restore history to how it should be.
One thing is clear when it comes to XenoVerse 2 and that’s the sheer amount of content available to players. Upon starting the game you have access to multiple areas that you can easily sink a large amount of time into. It could even see you spending a large amount of time on the game before even getting stuck into the main story and so lies one of my minor issues with the game. Sure you can jump straight into the story missions and relive some of the most epic moments in Dragon Ball history but without a cool or useful skill set, this can be challenging and even slightly boring.
You can easily gain new skills by training with one of the various instructors found in the hub world. These start out as Krillin, Piccolo, Tien and Yamcha who then challenge you with completing a task to unlock a new skill. This in itself is no difficult feat but it’s time-consuming especially when you want to progress with the story and who wants to learn from Yamcha? Wolf Fang Fist is a cool move but certainly not up to the level of what you can learn from Krillin and Piccolo. Don’t get me wrong though this isn’t a deal-breaker far from it it would have been nice, for me at least, to see these training elements tied more into the main story.
The hub area is fairly large and is split into multiple districts each with their own unique style. Conton City is your base of operations where you can buy skills, items and equipment. From here you can take on Parallel Quests where you can level up your character and pick up some loot in the form of skills and equipment. Outside of the main story, there is definitely a lot to get stuck into which include visiting locations such as Frieza’s spaceship via Time Distortions and joining his army for extra missions and quests. You’re even able to customise your characters with skills (mentioned earlier) and clothes giving you, even more, scope to create that really unique character. Of course if at any time you feel like taking a break from the main story, training or parallel quests or you just want to show off your character then you can take the game online and compete in a variety of different competitive modes. Or you can take on some of the most difficult missions with a couple of trusty friends.
Another slight annoyance that I encountered throughout the game, and it’s a shame to see this kind of thing with the current level of technology in use, is the loading screens. Now we’re all used to loading screens and with each new console generations, the loading screen’s time seems to be becoming a thing of the past. However, XenoVerse 2 features some of the longest loading screens I’ve encountered possibly since the PlayStation One era. It’s a shame and really does affect the enjoyment of the game.
XenoVerse 2 may feature 60 frames per second making combat run super smooth but that doesn’t stop it from feeling really clunky. I’ve seen a lot of talk about the combat seeing an improvement over the original XenoVerse but I can’t help but feel that Dragon Ball had already peaked in terms of combat back in the PlayStation 2 era with the Tenkaichi games. Maybe it’s all glossy nostalgia-filled eyes but I felt that the combat really wasn’t up to scratch. Not to say that it’s bad or unplayable but I feel that we have already experienced better.
Visually, XenoVerse 2 looks great, it’s full of vibrant colour and smooth 60 frames per second. I felt the soundtrack is a little hit and miss personally I definitely would have liked some more recognisable tracks. There are some very obvious lip-syncing issues within the game especially in cut-scenes but that won’t affect your enjoyment of the game. One of the biggest boons the game has is the option of both English and Japanese voice options. I know most fans who grew up with the English voices will prefer this option but it’s great to see a choice is there.