The heart of a good Dragon Ball game is it’s combat. I can safely say that fighting in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 ticks all the right boxes; it’s flashy, fluid (running at a constistant 60fps) and unleashing flurries of strikes right in an enemy’s face before winding up for a final powerful blow and watching them get knocked for six is both incredibly satisfying and makes you feel godly. Sure it can get a little repetitive, but punting Cell from one side of the screen to the other as a mighty Saiyan (or Majin, Namekins, Frieza or Human) of your own creation, never seems to get old, or stop being fun.
Set two years after the original, Xenoverse 2 puts you in the brightly coloured boots of another new member of the Time Patrol – an organisation that protects the Dragon Ball timeline by stopping villains from different timelines messing with history by rigging the result of some of the series’ most iconic battles so that the bad guys win. Once again the time line has begun to be tinkered with for nefarious means and it’s up to you (that’s right, YOU) to put a stop to them. With Xenoverse 2 the player is once again dropped right into the Dragon Ball universe (although you play as a new character, you can still move over your save data from the original to unlock some of the games better specials and items early).
Dropping players into the new hub town of Conton City, players can wander about picking up quests, training to improve various abilities and going to the TP shop on the weekends (it’s only open Fri-Sun) to spend your hard-won medals on new moves and specials. Later in the game, once you get your flying license, you can also visit floating islands and areas outside of Conton that offer trickier missions and tougher quests, with greater rewards.
Xenoverse 2 features a huge roster of characters (68 playable), and recreates some of the best moments from the anime and manga such as; Goku fighting Friezer as a Super Saiyan for the first time, Cell and the Androids wreaking havoc on Earth and the Ginyu Force trying to steal the Dragon Balls. The only problem is that it doesn’t expand upon what was offered in the previous game much, once again, focusing almost entirely on the events of Dragon Ball Z, and only touching on GT and Super. It’s not the end of the world, DBZ is by far the best series, but from a gaming perspective a sequel needs, well, more.
You also can’t simply make your way through the main story and ignore the extra stuff and side missions; instead, like Goku, you need to go away, train, and level up your character before each big battle, otherwise progress becomes extremely difficult.
The best way to level up is by completing Parallel Quests; available online or offline, these 100 side missions offer up various famous battles from the series for you to fight through, but with different characters involved or other conditions placed upon them. These reward players with a substantial amount of XP along with useful items and skills. They’re also a fun aside, which helps.
Along with XP players also earn Zeni (cash) and TP medals that you can spend in Conton City’s shops, unlocking new clothes, skills and accessories to further customise your hero and make them look, and most importantly fight, just how you want them to.
Combat in Dragonball Xenoverse 2 is not only a lot of fun, it also looks beautiful (which is great because you spend most of your time fighting). If you’ve played any of Namco’s other arena based anime adaptations you’ll feel right at home. Players use a combination of light and strong attacks to form juggling combos and punt opponents into oblivion. You can throw small Ki blasts at your opponents to stun and disrupt their movement, and specials are executed by holding R2 and pressing a face button (a list of available moves pops up on the side).
Watching Goku and co scrapping in the sky looks like something straight out of the anime. Though, like the anime, sometimes combat can drag on for a while thanks to more powerful enemies having big health bars and the AI can be maniacal at times.
The only problem is that the scenery remains static throughout. As an adaptation of a series which sees characters get punched through mountains and cause seas to part from the power of a projectile racing across it, this is disappointing. Especially after seeing the ridiculous level of environmental destruction in One Piece: Burning Blood, if the world around the combatants could feel more alive, rather than, admittedly impressive, window dressing it would be a vast improvement.
If you played the original Xenoverse chances are you will enjoy Xenoverse 2, though its worth mentioning that it feels more like 1.5 than a full-blown sequel. It’s a more refined game and it addresses many of the original’s problems, but it also re-treads a lot of the same ground.
If you’re a fan of Dragon Ball and you missed the first Xenoverse, you’re bound to have a great time with Dragon Ball: Xenoverse 2. Taking players though some of the greatest moments of the much-loved series and placing players firmly within the world of Dragon Ball, complete with a ton of content to chew through, tons of customisation options for your character and some fantastic fights. Dragon Ball: Xenoverse 2 is a Super sequel, just Saiyan… I’ll get my coat.