We know we’ve been spamming you with Dragon Ball XenoVerse articles and that’s because its the hottest thing in gaming right now, especially after The Order: 1886 fizzled out (self promotion FTW!). I have been playing the game since day one and feel like it’s time to give y’all an honest review from a gamer and lifelong DBZ fan.
Being a Dragon Ball game, the gameplay is essential. Fans know that we’ve been burned in recent years by crappy Dragon Ball games. Personally, I really enjoyed the combat in the newest DBZ fighting game. I have found it to be challenging and fun at the same time. XenoVerse is not a button masher and really makes you think about how you want to fight. You may enjoy getting up close and personal, destroying your opponent with strike super moves and finishing them off with beam attack or you may prefer staying back and launching ki super after ki super. The game lets you choose how to fight, with no one strategy being better than the other. You’ll definitely spend time tinkering with your supers and ultimates to find out what works best for you. You may find yourself overusing your stamina meter by teleporting and guarding and next thing you know your opponent is rattling off a 30 hit combo that’s leaving you in desperate need of a capsule. I can’t tell you how many times I overused the teleportation feature, got wrecked because I couldn’t guard, and then scrambled to save myself with an item.
Speaking of items, I enjoyed what the developers did with them. You can go into battle with four items equipped but can only use them once each. That may sound like a lot of times you can refill health/ki/stamina, but as you progress through the game and take on multiple challenging enemies, you’ll be struggling to find time and space to heal yourself.
I do have a couple gripes about the combat, however. The camera is absolute trash. Don’t even get me started on the atrocious camerawork on the Frieza Spaceship level. You can’t even move the camera yourself during team battles because the right stick is used to switch targets. As for your CPU allies, they suck ass. They typically float around and don’t really do much or will spam Kamehamehas. Also, the stages can be incredibly small. I often found myself kicking my opponent around the map up against an invisible wall.
Aside from those couple of things, XenoVerse plays great. It also looks great. The game is gorgeous. Colors are vibrant, environments are detailed, and super/ultimate attacks are amazingly beautiful. Something that’s really cool are the facial expressions the characters make, but I’m usually too focused on the fighting to really notice them, except when I’m knocking Frieza on his ass.
We all know the major reason you’re thinking about picking this game up is the create-a-character feature. You create your own character — a Saiyan, Namekian (I created a Namekian), an Earthling, a Majin, or a member of Frieza’s race. You can alter your gender, skin color, facial features, hair style, height, build, voice. I think what is most impressive about the CAC feature is how true to the series these created characters look. The eyes, nose, ears, etc. look exactly like Akira Toriyama drew them himself. You can also change your character’s outfit. He or she can dress in Goku’s gi, Piccolo’s demon clothes, Vegeta’s battle suit, or even Lord Slug’s outfit, among many others. There are also race specific outfits. I enjoy rocking the Namekian demon warrior outfit, or whatever it’s called. You can also put on accessories like Piccolo’s turban, a wig of Goku’s Super Saiyan hair, or an old-fashioned scouter.
A majority of the clothes (I’m not sure if it’s all of them) have stat bonuses and minuses. You may slap together a complete outfit and notice you got +3 in health from each piece (upper body, legs, hands, feet) but also -3 in stamina. Sometimes you have to weigh the cost of looking good versus the impact on your stats.
You earn three attribute points each time you level up. You can allocate these in either max health, max ki, max stamina, basic attack power, strike super attacks, or ki super attacks. Each race has different advantages from the get go (my Namekian has high health but low attack and Saiyans are basically the opposite). You’ll learn to allocate you points depending on your play style — early on I focused on max health and basic attack but as the game has gotten more challenging I’ve been putting more into max ki and ki supers to help me win fights.
Your character will also be able to use just about any move you can think of. Want to roll with Kamehameha, Milky Cannon (one of my favorite moves after I learned how to use it), Light Grenade, and Destructo Disc? How about Recoome Kick, Sauzer Blade, Meteor Blow, and Mach Punch? You can mix and match your supers to fit your fighting style. The game gives you plenty of options when it comes to supers and ultimates and it’s up to you to figure out what combinations you like the best. You can also learn new moves from your master, a system in which is a great premise but a little lacking in execution. Basically, you challenge a character (Piccolo, for instance), beat him or her, get a move, and keep leveling up until you can challenge your master again. Eventually, you’ll end up getting three super moves or evasive moves (which use up three bars of stamina and allow you to get out of tricky situations) and one ultimate. If you’re like me, you’ll bounce from mentor to mentor collecting all of their super moves and finally sticking with one to get their ultimate. I was so elated once I finally got Final Flash and Special Beam Cannon from my masters.
They’ll also give you special Z-Souls while you’re training. Z-Souls give you attribute boosts while fighting, sometimes form the start and others when you get to a certain health level, get knocked out, an ally gets knocked out, etc. They’re just another way to customize you character and really make your Time Patroller unique (although I bet everybody’s going to be using the Kami/Piccolo Soul that regens health).
Once you have finally tweaked your character’s appearance until your heart’s content, you are thrown right into the thick of things and tasked with fixing the Dragon Ball timeline. This is where I really want to give developer Dimps credit, as everyone has been doing: Instead of telling the same old Dragon Ball Z story that has been told again and again in years past, Dimps created new characters and a new Dragon Ball experience. You’ll still be fighting classic DBZ villains like Vegeta, Frieza, and Cell, but this time the fights will be different — your created character will be sent back to the past to fight alongside Z Fighters to take down villains with increased power. In the timeline that you must fix, events that happen include only Goku dying from Piccolo’s SBC and Cell killing Gohan with a Kamehameha. You are sent by Time Patroller Trunks and the Supreme Kai of Time to make sure the Z Fighters win and the normal DBZ timeline is kept intact. The story is fun and I loved going back in time and saving the asses of my favorite characters. The story also has some original anime cutscenes, which is always a plus. However, the story can be a bit challenging at times, which is where we start to run into problems.
I don’t mean to imply that I don’t like challenges and that I wish the game was easy. I enjoyed being challenged in fights. However, the way the game is designed forces you to grind endlessly to be able to advance. I would be buzzing along the story, winning with effort, and then bam! Get to a difficult fight that requires plenty of level grinding. This is even more apparent in the Parallel Quests — side quests that you unlock by playing through the story and talking to NPCs. These can get impossibly hard. I’m currently grinding to get to a high enough level to complete a quest where I have to take on six Super Saiyans(!!!) in pairs. By myself! No NPC help. Quests like this are extremely difficult and only promise to get harder as the game goes on. I want to comment on Super Saiyans here: they are extremely overpowered. Super Saiyan takes up one ultimate move and once activated it slowly drains the user’s ki. However, if a charge ability is equipped, this isn’t a big deal. What makes SSJ forms OP are that Super Saiyans can spam super and ultimate attacks with no penalty, really contradicting the series. I can’t stand going against Super Saiyans and constantly being on the ropes, dodging Kamehameha after Final Flash after Big Bang after Masenko. I tried it out myself and just sat back spamming beam attacks to beat my opponent. It’s not fun and I could see how annoying it can get in online play (more on that later). I wish Dimps instead went with the ki system from Budokai 3, which was perfect in my eyes.
You’ll also be grinding for items because apparently for some time Dimps forgot they were making a fighting game and instead tried to make Dragon Ball XenoVerse into an MMO. Want a piece of clothing or an awesome super attack that are only available by completing certain Parallel Quests? Well, I hope you’re prepared to grind for them. The loot system is so terrible. You can play the same PQ over and over again and get the same basic rewards each time. The game rarely gives you anything good and I mostly just get the same clothes or Z-Souls each time.
And oh my lord, trying to get Dragon Balls is so frustrating! To get a Dragon Ball, you have to play a PQ, hope a random Time Patroller shows up (Parallel Quests 2, 15, and 18 are best for this), pray to whatever deity you believe in asking that a “Key Item” drops, and then finish the mission. Guides on the internet say that you can get all seven from grinding out PQ 2 in an hour but this is a load of bull shit. Chances of having a Time Patroller show up are 50/50 tops but getting a Dragon Ball from the fight is highly unlikely. When you get six and think you’re close to summoning Shenron, your odds of getting a Dragon Ball significantly decrease. I don’t know if this is true or not, but all I know is that I could grind for a couple hours each day and get a a Dragon Ball or two but after I got six I had to grind for even longer trying to get the seventh. Once I did, I was able to add SSJ4 Gogeta to the roster.
Moving on to the roster, I want to give credit to Dimps for their attention to detail. I love how characters will have several different iterations (for example, there’s almost 20 Gokus if you consider SSJ4, SSJG, and GT Kid Goku), each with their own appearance, skill set, and stat. It just adds a layer of polish I’ve never seen in a DBZ game before. Previously, there would be odd little quirks like Vegeta from the Saiyan Saga being able to go Super Saiyan. Dimps made sure that each appearance of a character (even the battle damaged ones, especially Goku, Piccolo, and Vegeta) was different from one another.
However, I find the roster to be lacking. There are so many characters missing both from DBZ movies and even from the normal storyline. All transformations of Frieza, Cell, and Super Buu (his absorptions) are absent from the roster (I think I read somewhere that these transformations are not included because they would involve changing the in-game character model (I don’t know if that is true). Okay, But explain how every other DBZ game has been able to do this but not XenoVerse?), along with characters like Majin Vegeta and Mecha Frieza. I was really pissed about Appule and Larsberi being included and still am. I get the argument that the game needs characters like Appule, Larsberi, Saibamen, and Cell Jr. to have a “horde” enemy to throw at the player, but nobody is ever going to be like “Hell yeah, I get to play as Larsberi in XenoVerse!” NO! You know what a player might say? “Hell yeah, I get to play as Zarbon/Cooler/Pikkon/Uub/Hatchiyack/Janemba/Future Gohan/Tapion/Baby Vegeta in XenoVerse!” I would legitimately prefer to play as all of these characters (well, except Uub) over characters like Yamcha, Krillin, Guldo, Kid Gohan, Videl, and Hercule (WHY is Hercule always in DBZ games?!?!). Those characters have been in so many games, wouldn’t you rather play as someone like Future Gohan or Baby Vegeta, characters who hardly get the video game treatment?
I also get the argument that Dimps only included characters that were featured in the new story. Okay, but what about SSj4 Vegeta, SSJ4 Goku, SSJ4 Gogeta, Super 17, and Omega Shenron? You can wish for those last three, so why not be able to wish for movie characters too? Both GT characters and movie characters are inessential but I’d rather use them over boring essential characters. I guess I would prefer movie characters as DLC over not having them, but I still feel cheated. If Mira, Towa, and Demigra eventually get released as DLC, that would just be complete bull shit.
Okay, enough ranting about the roster. It is what it is. Something else that needs to be ranted on are the absolute terrible servers. TBH was right when he said they are worse than 2K’s. Every single time I start the game I get the message that XenoVerse’s servers are down. I don’t have a PS+ membership, but if I did, I wouldn’t be able to play online anyway seeing as how the servers are so shitty (and may have gotten shittier after the “patch”). Some people can’t even play offline due to the server issues. If the main reason you were interested in this game was for online play, then you should definitely wait until these issues are fixed. However, at least there is a ton of single-player content to keep you busy.
The last thing I want to mention is the hub world, Toki Toki City. Dimps was really ambitious with this, but ultimately the hub world is aggravating. Because of the server issues, I don’t really know if I’ve used the city to its full potential (Are you supposed to be able to interact with other user-controlled Time Patrollers?). I wish a normal menu was put in place to select various game modes (like VS. World Tournament, online VS., and story, which would take you to the hub world). Toki Toki City is hollow and is basically just a tedious way to get from point A to point B.
Dragon Ball XenoVerse has been out over a week and by now you’ve heard plenty of opinions on the game. Some hail it as one of the best DBZ games ever and others simply pass it off as another mediocre entry on the list of disappointing DBZ games. Personally, even with all of its frustrations, I found XenoVerse to be a very enjoyable and fun game. When I play I’ll tell myself “Just another half hour!” and then find myself playing for another two hours. The game is packed full of Parallel Quests and an interesting new story. This game should definitely be picked up by Dragon Ball fans. I don’t know if a non-DBZ fan would enjoy it as much, but I can see myself playing this for years to come.
What have you thought of Dragon Ball XenoVerse? Enjoying it or hating it? Running to the store to buy it or waiting until it hits the bargain bin? Leave a comment below!