Archives by Day

April 2020

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2

Platform(s): Google Stadia, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
Developer: DIMPS
Release Date: Sept. 22, 2017

About Andreas Salmen

I'm sure this is all just a misunderstanding.


Switch Review - 'Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2'

by Andreas Salmen on Dec. 20, 2017 @ 12:00 a.m. PST

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 builds upon the original title with enhanced graphics that will further immerse players into the largest and most detailed Dragon Ball world ever developed.

Buy Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2

The Dragon Ball franchise is massive and has an immensely loyal fan base. Many fighting games have been published based on Dragon Ball license since 1986, but the recent Xenoverse releases from Bandai Namco were special. Combining the familiar over-the-top fighting mechanics with MMO-style gameplay was a fan's dream come true. The titles also featured extensive character creation tools, a story that spans all major events in the universe, and lots of on- and offline stuff to do. While Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is an essential game for fans, it's also an important one for the Nintendo Switch, since it's one of the first ports of an AAA game that wasn't done by Nintendo. Getting a next-gen game ported to the Switch often entails stripping down certain technical aspects, so the question was whether Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 on the Switch would remain one of the better experiences of the franchise.

If you're a Dragon Ball fan, you likely snagged the game when it dropped for PC, PS4 and Xbox One last year, or you didn't have a system to play it on. Either way, if you don't own it yet and the Switch is your only console, Xenoverse 2 should be a no-brainer. If you're not a fan or own other consoles besides Nintendo's hybrid, there are certain things you should consider before shelling out $50 for this cartridge.

Regarding fan service, Xenoverse 2 kills it. There is no other Dragon Ball game so fully committed to bringing it into one title. Having all the fighting neatly wrapped up in an MMO-like structure also helps. Within seconds, we can create our character, whether it's an Earthling, Namekian or Sayin. Once that is done, the game drops us into Conton City, a hub world that consists of various shops, NPCs, and quest opportunities. The only problem from the get-go is the question of what to do first because the choices can be overwhelming.

Chances are that players will start with the story campaign to learn the ropes and get a feeling for the combat system in Xenoverse 2. As I'd mentioned previously, the story entails all major fights from various plot lines that reach from early "Dragon Ball Z" episodes into the "Super" series and even includes some additional content that fans will appreciate. To tie it all together with our custom character, the game adds a twist to the tale. We are a time patroller who's traveling back in time to correct moments where history has been changed. Oddly enough, all major plot points in the past are changing one after the other, and we have to visit those points to get history back on track while finding out who was changing it in the first place.

The cut scenes are spot-on, and our fighter can support or square off against all characters within the original plot. Xenoverse 2 is probably the most cinematic Dragon Ball game and celebrates its story throughout its campaign. If anyone has played the first Xenoverse, the story will seem familiar, and unfortunately, it is. It offers additions to the original plot, but the overall storyline is very close to the old one. If you haven't played it, the campaign from the first Xenoverse is available as DLC for the game, but given a choice, I wouldn't bother, as it is essentially the same plot.

When it comes to the fighting heart of Xenoverse 2, the game shines the brightest. The combat system can feel overwhelming if you're a newcomer, but within a few battles, the controls feel natural and let us effortlessly chain together powerful combos and attacks. Basic attacks for your feet and fists are joined by super attacks that can be used for a certain amount of ki-power or stamina, as well as ultimate signature attacks and evasive skills. Once the controls are familiar, the fights on-screen look like they're taken straight from the anime series, with laser-based attacks blowing holes in the landscapes and foes flying through the skies after being hit by a fist to the chin. It's all very satisfying and easy to pull off, and that's the strength of Xenoverse 2. However, after a certain point, the novelty may wear off for certain players, and that's when skill is required. Since we can customize our character, we're also able to customize our super and ultimate attacks. Beams, lasers and strikes can be interchanged willingly and invite us to experiment with different combos to find the most potent combination. Unblockable attacks, stun buffs or defensive breakers are just the tip of the iceberg, and if used correctly, they can turn the tide of a battle.

Therein lie the beauty and the curse of the whole fighting system: It's fun, but it's highly repetitive. This is what will turn off certain people over time, especially since the title's MMO tendencies require a lot of grinding to gain items, learn a skill, or level up. Most fans will gladly do this, but the rest will get sick of it before the game ends. The combat is one of the areas where the Switch iteration differs from other versions. We can use motion controls for ultra attacks that mirror the on-screen movement prompts. It's a feature that almost feels like a throwback to the Wii, and it feels forced and completely unnecessary, and it's not very fun.

Just as the fighting is customizable, so is the whole experience of Xenoverse 2. While the combat may be repetitive and grinding is a part of the experience, there is a lot of variety present. At any time, we can choose to advance the story, train with known personalities (and make them our mentor in missions), complete time rift missions, take on parallel quests, random duels, minigames, etc. Add plenty of costumes and leveling options, and there is truly an incredible amount of content here that many fans will appreciate. However, if you're not a fan, the title may be still enjoyable, but not nearly as much.

We cannot conclude this article without talking about Xenoverse 2's online components. Mirroring an MMO, Xenoverse 2 can be enjoyed online. If a player is logged in, the hub world is filled with other players alongside NPCs, and most of the available quests — and a versus mode — can be tackled with other people around the globe. If you're inclined, you can even create a team to tackle certain quests. This adds to the experience and is one of the reasons the Xenoverse series is so highly regarded by fans. The Switch version might not be the best choice for online play, but we'll cover that in a bit.

On the technical side, the Switch version draws close to the other versions visually but falls flat in some regards. The main one is the halved framerate at 30 fps. People who have not played any of the other versions won't be bothered by that, but if you own another console, you're better off getting the game for that console instead. It will be cheaper and more technically sound. The Switch version also lacks certain graphical feats like anti-aliasing, but as the look and feel is that of a comic, it isn't too bothersome. What is unacceptable, though, is the occasionally choppy framerate in the hub world, especially once we join an online lobby.

Online play is available, just as it was in previous versions. However, the Switch iteration should not be your first choice if you're primarily aiming for online play. At no point in time was I able to find rooms for parallel quests, and upon creating a room, I had to wait several minutes to get a party together. Versus play is more frequented, but the lack of online players is sometimes worrisome.

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is a massive experience for fans that is fun to play and packed with content. On the flip side, the combat can quickly get repetitive, and the need for grinding doesn't help, either. Add a few technical hiccups, and the Nintendo Switch version is the least desirable one of all. It's still playable and enjoyable on the hybrid device, but it's not as good of an experience as on the other systems. Some may prefer the mobility of the Switch system over the downsides, but if you have the choice and don't care for mobility, I'd highly recommend picking up the PC, PS4 or Xbox One version of Xenoverse 2.

Score: 6.9/10

More articles about Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
blog comments powered by Disqus