A year and a half after the first game, Bandai Namco (or Namco Bandai) finally launched the sequel Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, with a slightly extended cast of characters, adding some key features, but is it really enough to fix the flaws of the original game?
Before I start, I should let you all know that Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 could’ve easily be called Dragon Ball Xenoverse 1.5, since the sequel is a true copy of the original, with small improvements here and there. In line with Xenoverse’s first world, the game itself was built on the foundations of the online PC version, based on your first step to create an avatar, with a choice of five Dragon Ball anime world species. To avoid being a Saiyen like most of people in the world, I created my Arcosian character (the race led by Frieza), which compensates its low health by an increased speed and better endurance gauge to have more teleport dodges. Other races are available as well, incluidng the Namekian and Majin, two in which the damage was patched after the beta, and humans (or Earthling) which gradually regain Ki, which can be useful to activate special techniques learned previously. In any case, your avatar is likely to be very different that your online opponent, as developers Dimps worked hard on adding a bunch of new costumes and customization options.
The flow of the game follows the same pace as the original Dragon Ball Xenoverse, centered around a new hub: the city of Conton, which will be seven times bigger than Toki Toki City. The new headquarter of Time Patrollers contains the same stores arranged almost in the same places, with the same breakdown between “Story Quests” and “Parallel Quests”, which are needed to gain enough experience to continue in the main story. As in the original game, you are a Time Patroller that will help Trunks and Kaioh to restore the normal course of time, inevitably disrupted since the intervention of the Hero of Legend, whose statue adorns the central square – if you kept your original Dragon Ball Xenoverse save, then you’ll see your own avatar as that hero, after a simple backup restore at the beginning of the game. The Mira and Towa duo are also there to wake up the dark side of every corner of the Dragon Ball Z galaxy, including villains like Slugh and Thales, Majin Vegeta, Black Goku, Janemba and more to come via upcoming DLC.
Given the relative size of the hub and its many elevation changes, your character will eventually rely on teleportation and a “hoverboard” later on through the story. To reduce the time between two stops in the city, several points of interest are scattered all over the map, enabling new quests but it’s sadly plagued by long loading times. On top of the playing numerous quests, there’s workouts with masters like Krillin, Vegeta or Raditz to unlock new techniques or even rather numerous sub-tasks on the border of being considered like mini-game. These range from feeding Boo, deliver milk without dropping any, and so many distractions supposed to bring a variety of tasks between battles, which are still all the core of the game.
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 fights have clearly gained momentum from the first game, which now can make full use of the current generation of game, now locked at a constant 60 fps without a hitch. Never mind whether that meant for Namco Bandai to reduce the quality of its character models, textures and other aspects; Once in combat, the frame rate and execution speed of fights is such that one has barely any time to dwell on the details of the characters. However, you will be amazed to see that there’s so much recycling of elements in the arenas and environments, that feels like they’ve been used since the first Dragon Ball Z game. Bottom line, the fighting is still the same but at least ticks all the boxes that we expect from a modern Dragon Ball Z game: teleport all over the place with ease, easy combos extension when you start to get used to your character, combat transformations as long as the technique is equipped, and diverse and varied Kikohas to spam, at least until the opponent loses its guards.
So what about the novelties? Well, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 adds basically new playable missions called Raid Boss Battles, with insanely strong key enemies/bosses, whether it’s Broly, Turles and more. These fights will force you to play with friends (or strangers), filled with side objectives, in order to survive this threat and defeat it. These bosses are set at level 99, and after every battle, you will be getting points depending on how much you helped out during the quest (based on the damage done but also support to allies), which will be used to redeem against awesome “raid” gear or equipment. Best part of all this? These Raid Boss Battles are actually limited time events, which change every week, and currently already introduced 6 different enemies.
There are still points that should be corrected before a potential Dragon Ball Xenoverse 3, which have been bugging the series ever since its switch to 3D graphics in the early 2000s. To name a few is the cameras that are stuck in the background, invisible walls that locks you in the arena and surprise you when trying to run away from an enemy, not to mention the endless dialogues that flood the flow of fights, largely allowing time for the enemy to deal with your stupid AI allies… This can turn into a nightmare, especially in some advanced missions, when just a well placed combo by your opponent can take over half of your health gauge. But beyond the repetitive side and a recycled appearance that is too obvious, it is a true pleasure of finally holding a fully online Dragon Ball Z game worthy of the name, with an extensive cast, enough quests to grind and battles that are as fluid as they are tense.
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 was reviewed using an Xbox One downloadable code of the game provided by Namco Bandai. The game is also available on PlayStation 4 and PC on both retail and online store releases. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published.
• Finally locked to 60fps
• Coop modes up to 6 players
• Solid Gameplay
• Future Super Saiyan transformation
• Raid Boss Battles
• Not that much different than the first game
• No real graphical upgrades
• Those loading times
• Buggy collisions sometime
• Camera is still buggy
• Gameplay too simplistic for some