Series: Dragonball: Xenoverse
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
Price: From $69.95 USD Steam, $59.99 USD Amazon (US)
Dragonball Xenoverse is like an onion, meaning it’s full of layers. Starting out I really couldn’t stand playing more than 30 minutes at any given time. The combat was slow and uninviting, the characters didn’t have much depth to their abilities and it just didn’t live up to its predecessors.
Being the Dragonball geek that I am, I continued with trepidation. Something strange did happen at around hour 6 – 7, my custom character started to get a little stronger and his punches carried some weight behind them and I could actually progress through some of the story missions. I started to enjoy grinding my way through parallel quests for that much needed experience.
Dragonball Xenoverse is a pretty weird game to review, in a sense it is two games smashed together, one containing a mediocre story which left me cringing with the horrible voice acting, and the other was a pretty decent questing game which showcased pretty cool battle mechanics including the conditional completion of a level.
It is pretty hard not to compare a fighting Dragonball title to the Budokai series, especially when it was designed by the same developer, Dimps. It easily shows that the studio pushed the boundaries with Xenoverse and its MMO feel. Running around the hub world looking at all the Dragonball enthusiast was great.
Being able to find co-op missions or online battles was pretty easy when the servers worked and this brought a social element to the title. If Xenoverse hadn’t gone with the online environment I feel as if the game wouldn’t have been as successful due to the replay value that you can have with friends online not just sitting next to you on a couch.
With over 50 playable characters (including DLC) you are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing fighters. This doesn’t mean that they are any good though. Most characters fight quite the same with slight variations on their melee attacks. I enjoyed the customization ability with your custom fighter, being able to choose from over 200 abilities. Figuring out what the best make up for my fighter probably the most fun I had with the game.
Another positive was the mastery system, this system allowed you to gain special abilities and traits of heroes in the Dragonball universe. For an example, I chose piccolo for my first master and by the end of it, I had a few of his Ki abilities and special beam cannon from completing his last challenge.
Customization is a thing. Not much to say about that other than if you want to pair of fairy wings with Super Saiyan hair, you can.
It’s pretty where it needs to be and the map design is mostly pretty good, excluding the DLC (truffle planet), which just looks like a rushed together piece of crap. Bright colours and the art design are spot on. The anime cut scenes were pretty enjoyable throughout the story mode, which made that whole experience tolerable.
Now for the real issues with Xenoverse; it’s not good enough – Telecommunication has never been Japan’s strong suit, servers would continually crash without warning and would be down for hours upon hours on release. This just made for a bad experience all round. It doesn’t reflect well on a game with players cannot access main game features without a stable internet connection, like online battles and co-op missions.
Even though it was a crappy thing to happen, the server issue wasn’t the main gripe I had with the Xenoverse, but the whole game just felt under polished. Having a combat system that feels slow and at times boring is just poor design.
Incorporating more combos and a few interesting character specific moves would have been nice to make it interesting when dumping hours into experience farming.
Dragonball Xenoverse – 7 / 10
I feel as if Xenoverse is a great step in the right direction of the franchise, but the development team shouldn’t end it on this be all and end all note.
I would enjoy seeing the next title have a better combat system with a better transformation system for it to feel like a Dragonball fighting game.