Video Games

Review: Dragon Ball Xenoverse

by onJune 28, 2015

Besides being one of the cult stories of the manga history, Dragon Ball is a series whose popularity has incredible longevity. This popularity which despite the disappointments, makes us wait for Goku’s newest console adventures. Dragon Ball Xenoverse was no exception to the rule.

During the PlayStation 2 generation, video games were in a kind of golden age. At the time, fans of Vegeta and company have successively been entitled to the Budokai series and then Budokai Tenkaichi. On the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, things got complicated with titles never reaching to the level of their illustrious elders. When Namco Bandai unveiled the concept behind Dragon Ball Xenoverse, the first game based on the license to appear on the newest generation of consoles and PC, many fans began to dream of a smashing comeback of the Z-Warriors. The fact that development of this new title was entrusted to Dimps, developer of the Budokai series, raised the hope of many players.

If you are reading this test, there is a good chance that you are a fan of Dragon Ball (Z). There’s no need therefore, to talk about the story designed by Akira Toriyama. Obviously, this is also what was said by Xenoverse developers: The title avoids repetition and created yet another new intrigue placing the importance of the DBZ universe at the heart of the plot. A mysterious force alters the events of the Dragon Ball Z history at different points in history and calls out for a hero, invoked from Shenron by Trunks, traveling back in time to restore the order of things.

Dragon Ball Xenoverse VGProfessional Review (6)

This hero is precisely the player character and you are immediately asked to customize it. If it has been possible to create a character in previous Dragon Ball Z games released in the West, Xenoverse goes much further in customization options. And it is undoubtedly one of the strengths of this new title. In addition to allowing the player to choose from several races (Namek, Human, Majin, Frieza, and Saiyans) as well as genders (except in the case of the of Namek or Freezer), the game gives access to an full customization tool that opens numerous possibilities. These opportunities lie not only in physical appearance but also in clothing and accessories.

Going back to the original story proposed by Dragon Ball Xenoverse, it appears rapidly that you are at the center of it. A small cinematic scene shows the upheaval experience by the DBZ  space time continuum, followed by another scene where Trunks sends the player in the past, to fight and restore the outcomes to the proper path. The impact of the changes made by the bad guys in the game is never felt. The player is at no time exposed to the consequences that these changes could have. This is particularly unfortunate because many times in history, the game gives the impression that they will take a new turn away from the really well-known DBZ storyline. The game writers were content to go with the easy path.

That said, it should be noted the presence at certain times of the adventure cinematic scenes created especially for the occasion in traditional 2D animation. Even if the budget allocated to these animated scenes can be clearly seen as small, they have the merit to exist and show that some effort has been made in terms of staging. The Xenoverse storyline is not bad or unpleasant to follow. If it seems important to salute its desire to offer something original, it isjust not all that it could have been. Too bad.

Like its predecessors, Dragon Ball Xenoverse is presented as a fighting game. In fact, the simplicity of its gameplay makes it more like a Beat’em All (close to the Naruto games). Players who expected a sharp fighting game risk being disappointed. This new DBZ clearly opts for accessibility. The handling is quick and, thanks to combinations of simple keys, it does not take long before you can create impressive combos. That being said, the gameplay in Xenoverse is not flawless. First, enemy artificial intelligence, as well your ally, is relatively limited. In the case of a team based combat, no one can rely on the help of a character played by a CPU . In addition, the impacts of shots detection system is clearly inadequate.

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In terms of Dragon Ball Xenoverse main story hub in which the player can move freely, it is clearly no question of exploring everything to find hidden treasures. As it stands, Toki Toki City is kind of a menu where the player can navigate from one game mode to another (Versus, Tournament, Quests, sidequests, online, item shop, technical shop, etc.). It was also in this city that your character will come across well-known characters from Dragon Ball Z who will offer him a task (to gain additional skills) or side missions. As for the scenario, the fact that Bandai Namco and Dimps have sought to innovate is appreciated. It is just unfortunate that they have not gone further.

At this level, the Namco Bandai title shows clearly that everything had been planned for the previous generation of consoles. If the game is clean, the gap between Xenoverse and its predecessors console is too thin. The omnipresence of aliasing is a proof. Moreover, it is regrettable to note that the environments are not as destructible as before. If they were in the Raging Blast, why are they not in Xenoverse? It is especially sad that the environments were larger and more credible in the past.

The desire to love Dragon Ball Xenoverse is definitely there. But it appears very quickly that the promises of the new story are not really required and the game is technically pulled down by its status as a cross-gen title. Given the interest generated clearly in recent months by the news around Xenoverse and expectations of players about it, it is still possible to hope that Namco Bandai will grant one day all the attention and budget it deserves a Dragon Ball Z game. In the meantime, there is Dragon Ball Xenoverse. Although it is far from perfect, it is also far from the level of mediocrity from the past productions of the genre. In short, casual fans of of Akira Toriyama work could try it out.

Dragon Ball Xenoverse was reviewed using an Xbox One retail copy of the game provided by Namco Bandai. The game is also available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 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.

What we liked

• Interesting scenario
• Customization options
• Coop mode
• intuitive as a title
• Fun cinematics
• Good lifespan

What is not fun

• Underexploited story
• Some badly animated sequences.
• An underexploited hub
• That Aliasing!
• Camera is still buggy
• Gameplay too simplistic for some

Editor Rating





Replay Value

Final Score

Our final verdict

With its original script partly inspired by the Japanese-only Dragon Ball Online MMO and fuelled by the arrival of the DBZ license on New-Gen consoles, Dragon Ball Xenoverse has enough to fill the time of fans. An simple use of new consoles and PC specs, combined with good ideas that are underutilized, Dragon Ball Xenoverse unfortunately does not represent the return of DBZ on the front of the gaming scene as I hoped.

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