Review: Dragon Ball Xenoverse (Xbox One)
- Release Date (NA): February 24, 2015
- Release Date (EU): February 27, 2015
- Release Date (JP): February 5, 2015
- Publisher: Bandai Namo Games
- Developer: Dimps
- Genres: Fighting
Single playerLocal MultiplayerOnline MultiplayerCo-operative
This first and best thing about Dragon Ball Xenoverse I want to go over is the character customization. The options I had in race (Majin, Sayin, Human, Namekian, etc.) and customization had me enthralled from the beginning. The biggest complaint I have always had about previous Dragon Ball games was the repetitive nature of characters and storyline that I had played over and over again.
The fact that now I get to create my own Z fighter, and pave my own way through the Dragon Ball Z universe, was already a huge plus for me.
The customization is relatively simple. Hair options, skin color, voice options, eyes, and more. There’s a realm of possibilities for your Z fighter, all the way down to their physique, clothes, and accessories. I decided to create a real winner of a Majin for my playthrough:
She’s named AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHH - for the internal screaming within her. Playing through the story and seeing this stupid face had me giggling like a little kid, and it was kind of funny how much I enjoyed the story more just by playing it through with my own character!
For people that lack any creativity however, there are also 47 DBZ characters available to play as if you’d like to skip the semantics and jump into the skin of a familiar Z fighter.
Story and Playstyle
Now speaking of story, it really isn’t all that different from the other DBZ games. The added twist, is the fact that the original Dragon Ball Z timeline has been altered from its origins, and all the bad guys have figured out a way to alter history in their favor. It’s up to you to go back in time to alter history back to normal, in DBZ’s most memorable fights and encounters.
I liked that the game pretty much assumed I was already familiar with the lore of Dragon Ball Z, and focused less on retelling every saga over again, and instead focused a bit more on how you fix that saga from going horribly awry.
The single player story covers every saga, including all the way up to the battle of the gods story arc. Once again though, these missions have strong familiarity to previous DBZ games, with missions ranging from Saibamen extermination (I think this is literally in every DBZ game by now), to Dragon Ball collection, and main enemy fights.
Outside of the main story are parallel quests, another familiar aspect of some DBZ games that allows you to play made up scenarios that have never actually occurred in the universe before, from teaming up with the bad guys to character encounters from mixed sagas.
The other thing that sets this game apart from other DBZ titles, is the overall playstyle. Xenoverse isn’t as much a fighter, but instead a sort of MMO/Brawler hybrid. The MMO aspect comes from the fact that after progressing a little bit into the games story, the hub world will be filled with other player characters that you can interact with, through emotes, challenges, battles, and missions.
The hub world for the most part is incredibly messy though. There are no fast travel options, you can’t even run, and running from shops to missions to online quest modules is just tedious. Any time I was plopped back in the hubworld, I became physically irritated and just wanted to keep the action going.
It’s even worse when attempting to play locally. Everything is played on a single screen, and you’re both basically forced to stay tethered to each other if you want to move around anywhere. Local play also only has one single map for playing on, which is insane considering the content that is available to play co-op online.
Speaking of online, this is probably where the highlight of my experience came from. Tournaments, PVP, 1v1 to 3v3 showdowns, and all of it can be played with your friends, or against randoms. The fights were surprisingly smooth, and I rarely ran into dropped fights from ragequits or internet failure. However, accessing online has been a slight problem for other users, including myself when I first started the game. Namco Bandai has already started fixing the servers though, and as of this writing, I have had no other issues with online.
Now I’ve been saving all this juicy stuff for last. Once again, Xenoverse shines in the amount of customization it offers you.
To start off, when you initially customize your character, you can select the play-style that best suits you, from up close and personal brawling, to safe distance KI blasts and energy tactics. There are over 200 different skills you can equip to your custom characters, and hundreds of pieces of equipment to change your stats and power.
Combat boils down to combos of weak and heavy attacks that can be chained together for stronger attacks, energy projectile blasts, dodges, blocks, teleports, and soaring through the air like a true Z fighter. The pacing and adrenaline of the game keep the spirit of DBZ at an all-time high. Holding the right trigger will allow you to choose from basic special abilities and energy charges (including fantastic stat boosting Ginyu squad poses), while holding both triggers will allow you to launch off your signature moves.
Moves are rewards that are earned by completing story missions, or can be bought from the shops in the main hub world. There are also various challenge characters in the hub world that will teach you their signature moves after defeating them in the story.
When fighting enemies themselves, I kind of found myself running into the rut of constantly mashing to win, a troublesome problem most brawlers face. There isn't much incentive to do otherwise except to change the playstyle for yourself. Harder missions will require a bit more dodging and saftey, but it seems there's a mixed balance of creativity that is up to the user to put in place when playing the game.
Unfortunately, I also ran into some camera issues that have always plagued dragon ball fighting games. The lock on system does a decent job of keeping enemies in your line of sight, but considering how fast everyone moves, the camera will have your head spinning on your shoulders trying to follow it.
+ Character Customization is great
+ Online play is a blast
- Hub world could be better and feels unintuitive
- Bad camera
- Repetitive gameplay
Dragon Ball keeps the gorgeous aesthetic of its anime counterpart, and presents itself as a fine MMO/Brawler hybrid.
Slightly repetitive but with a multitude of customization to offer, the gameplay is a decent mix of entertainment for anyone looking to brawl around for a few hours at a time.
The gameplay itself can get repetitive after awhile, but the inclusion of online versus keeps the lasting appeal going.
out of 10
(not an average)
Overall, Xenoverse was a pretty nice step for DBZ games, and for fans alike. The customization and online offerings of the game keep the appeal up, the combat is balanced and entertaining, and all in all, its a solid release, and good title for any fan of Dragon Ball Z.