A Critical Look at Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 – Full Game Review (Spoiler Free)
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 busted onto the scene on October 25th with an impressive wrap sheet of improvements and added features that were requested of it’s predecessor. I’ve been voraciously consuming everything the PC version of the newest Dragon Ball game has to offer for over a week and I’d love to give you a in depth look at all of my favorite and least favorite parts.
Dragon ball Xenoverse 1 was unilaterally praised on release, with a few exceptions. Particularly, online play on PC was plagued by bad connections and cheating. Bandai-Namco responded to user complaints with resounding silence, instead focusing on DLC packs that were geared to drop at the same time as the upcoming Resurrection F movie. Xenoverse 2 was advertised to come with over a year of free updates and support, which was suspiciously reduced to six months on launch day, leading many to believe that the game would be littered with game breaking bugs. Fortunately, I can say that, although bugs and performance issues are present, many of them are minor annoyances as opposed to completely intolerable.
The first problem that should be addressed is that the network issues are still present. Sometimes this can be circumvented by waiting for players in lobby to get a better ping, but for the most part, this problem must be accepted. In many games, this would be less noticeable, but Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is an extremely fast paced, twitchy fighting game that requires lightning reflexes and any amount of latency is immediately apparent. If you are buying this game for serious online vs play, you will be disappointed in this glaring deficit.
Joining up with friends is also quite laborious and unintuitive. The best option is to search for your friend based on race and availability and hope that you get a lucky roll of the dice that shows the individual you’re seeking. Once the person is identified, there is a helpful “favorites” feature that allows you to skip this lengthy process in the future. This is further compounded by the cumbersome lobby options. If a team wants to do parallel quests together, they have 2 options. The PQ station forces players to exit out of lobby, re-invite, and select a mission each time, but there is a team “lobby” so to speak, that is located in the Kame House section of the multiplayer zone. You still have to exit and reselect a mission each time, but it keeps you from having to reform your team and it’s about as close as the game gets to simple multiplayer options.
The game has crashed on me more than a few times, and friends that I have played with on totally different setups have reported the same. It should be mentioned, however that this has never happened to me mid fight, and always in the multi-loby. It is unclear why this occurs, as the game runs at a smooth 60 frames per second right up until the very moment it drops, and it seems to be stable after it happens once.
Now that all of that is out of the way, we can focus on the positive aspects of the game, and they are definitely plentiful. The visuals are sharp and attractive, making it easy to differentiate between objects and characters in the environment. Character customization has been vastly expanded with new create a character options and outfits to boost your abilities. QQ Bang equipment has been added that nullifies clothing stat bonuses and drawbacks, and replaces them with their own set of perks. This lets players dress the character how they wish for cosmetic satisfaction without having to sacrifice precious statistical positives.
The same four races are available to pick from, but each is now treated to their own transformations, unlocked via special racial areas that have specific missions and bonuses depending on your character. Saiyans can still reach Super Saiyan and Super Saiyan 2, but super Saiyan 3 is now tacked on as well. Namekians can transform into enormous stomping entities larger even than great apes. Buus can transform into Kid versions of themselves increasing speed and damage. Frieza race can “go golden” reminiscent of frieza himself in the film Resurrection F. All of these additions are obtainable through diligent attention to the race areas and the random number generator aspect so heavily criticized in Xenoverse 1 has been abandoned in favor of this process.
The controls are tighter than ever and extremely responsive to the player’s every whim. A new academy feature has been added to really let players understand the depth of the combos that they can pull off, as well as a training mode that allows you to battle endlessly with an AI opponent to totally hone their skills a la the hyperbolic time chamber.
The main story is great and leaves little to be desired. We are, of course, treated to the typical Dragon Ball saga that is so familiar, with a few added twists to make things interesting. If you previously purchased and played Xenoverse 1, your character from that game can be uploaded into the sequel, not as a playable character, but rather part of the story, and it works organically and adds a valuable connected flow between the two games.
Finally, raid bosses are an interesting new feature, allowing as many as 6 players to team up against a, (usually giant) opponent. This again suffers from latency problems and, as such, is less exciting than previously anticipated.
Bottom Line: Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 on PC is an outstanding game with hours of content, a fair amount of replayability, great visuals, and more new features than could be counted on both hands. It is unfortunate that this exceptional experience is occasionally marred by a crash to desktop and online connection issues. Knowing what I know now, I would absolutely purchase the game again with vehemence and zeal. If Bandai sticks to their promise and offers support and updates for over a year, it has the potential to unlock it’s final form as a stellar addition to the Dragon Ball franchise.
Joshua Hogg73 Posts
Depending on who you ask, Josh's obsession with video games may or may not be entirely healthy. Frequently bankrupting himself to get the next fix, he indiscriminately jumps from game to game, perhaps searching for that perfect title that will leave him eternally satisfied.