Dragon Ball Xenoverse is back for more fast paced and high speed action. Following in the footsteps of its predecessor, it’s up to you to once again take on the role of a Time Patrol Officer who’s charged in keeping the balance of time against those who would alter it in order to serve their own ambitions.
Xenoverse 2 really follows in the footsteps of its predecessor to the point that it may have followed a bit too close not unlike walking in someone else's footprints in the snow to make it easier. After creating your own custom character, you are shown the ropes in order to do what your predecessor did. In normal times this would be fine being a sequel however it may be playing it a bit too safe as in the early stages you are doing EXACTLY what your predecessor did down to the very same fights but instead of them, it’s you.
For anyone who doesn’t know a thing about Dragon Ball this is a good start. For those that either grew up with either the anime, the manga, the movies, or have played the original Xenoverse? It feels like a bit of a weak start as you’ve already done this both alongside the cast every night after school while it was on tv or while you were originally fixing the fluctuations. The first core Missions and Parallel quests are pretty much the same short of some tiny changes in order to introduce the new antagonists. Back once again are Mira and Towa who will stop at nothing to change time in order to produce dark energy. Enlisting help to change things up a bit are Turles and Lord Slug from movies at the start of the nineties.
What can alleviate this a little bit is if you have save data from the previous title on the same system. Not only do you get starting bonuses to make some things faster and a lot of money to buy things, but you can import your actual old character in order to have them as a holographic statue in the middle of your city hub and make a few apperances. Apparently I enjoyed the same style as the hologram was pretty much what I had just created. A beefy male Saiyan with a goatee to switch up from a lithe female Majinn that I had in the PS3 version. Talk about awkward with both of them in the same scene wearing the same clothes.
I originally reviewed Xenoverse back on the on the PS3 when it came out last year. One of the biggest issues that it had was that its load times could be obscenely long especially when the online was taken into consideration. The PS4 version fixed this either due to optimization or due to the increased processing power that it had access to and either way it made made everything better. The reason I mention this is that Xenoverse 2 is a PS4/XB1/PC title and seems to have fallen into the same load time traps that the older generation version had. Logging into either the Single Player Lobby in which other players display as NCPs or into the multiplayer lobby in which you can see others run around like in an MMO, there are a lot of load times to sit through when going between the hub and the missions.
In regards to the hub however, this new one is amazing. Load times regardless of the platform are nothing new and players of Bloodborne (aka Loadborne) know exactly how bad it can be. The most significant change comes from a full re-design in which you no longer have to run around a multi segmented area by foot when they have the ability to not only fly, but fly absurdly fast. Now while you can’t fly around the hub in the beginning as you don’t have your flight license, you are given access to a hoverboard that moves fairly fast. To make things even easier will be the robots that act as teleportation areas to quickly make it from one end of the city to the next in an instant. As they are only switching you from one point of the map to the other there are no load times involved. Between being given a faster mode of travel and the hub not being multiple segments, moving around the hub has become much more enjoyable between leaving to either go on Time Patrols, Parallel Quests, or Training Missions.
Leaving the hub aside both in terms of going out on adventure and no one came here to hear about the hub, the action packed combat that makes Dragon Ball Dragon Ball may even be better than the first. Xenoverse had an awesome system in place and with some tweaks Xenoverse 2 may be even better. Back again is the hybrid mix of fast paced open mapped action combat with a supporting RPG leveling system in order to customize your fighter to your liking. Each time your fighter levels up you have the choice of where to put their stats from more health, Ki and stamina to increasing the power of basic physical attacks, advanced strike attacks and ki blasts.
Each available race has its specialty such as Saiyans are strong with low health while Majinns for example have high defenses. Leaving players to customize from that point instead of setting them on a particular path allows for a personalized experience that makes it much easier to get into the gameplay. With races and stats decided, strike and ki attacks can be equipped as they are acquired to even further customize how you wish to play. With even more quests being available this time around? You’re going to need it.
Xenoverse 2 expands a bit on its predecessor in which gameplay no longer revolves solely around Time Patrols and Parallel Quests. For the first timers to Xenoverse, Time Patrols are the core of the story in which your character will fight through iconic Dragon Ball events that have been twisted from the original historical records. With new antagonists this time around, time becomes even more warped but also contains some interesting and awesome twists to try to differentiate itself from its predecessor.
Parallel Quests are there almost for purely supplementary reasons as it gives a variety of reasons to fight against good guys and bad guys alike. Not only are these great for fighting and getting a hang of the battle system but they are also good for leveling up is Time Patrols are giving you a hard time. Unlike their counterpart however, conditions exist in which a quest can be over before you’ve even blinked or it can have multiple phases depending upon your actions. Did you talk to someone on the field? Did you take too long to take out an opponent? Did you lose too much health? These can all affect a Parallel Quest and it’s final ranking.
While these two aspects are still at the core of the experience, there’s plenty to be sidetracked on with a mix of dimensional rifts and trainers that take more of a front seat this time around. These side events are purely optional however and at one point seemed to take up more of my time than anything else. Considering that these events yield a fair amount of experience to help level up, I think that it’s fair to say that I spent more time using these rift events to level up thank time patrols.
The rifts available to players are in a way episodic and returning to the hub will give notifications if the next one is present or not. There’s:
- Defending the Dragon Balls on Namek;
- Infiltrating Freiza’s spaceship and making it up to being his number 1;
- Training with Vegita in which if you’re a Saiyan will allow you to go Super;
- Training with the great Saiyaman (Gohan); and
- Helping Majinn Buu make a family by feeding him food.
Each of these have their own level of time investment but the one that will happen the most often and really help level is Defending the Dragon Balls. It comes up very often and generally isn’t that hard to pull of.
To the side of the rifts is the new Training and Master Systems which were fun. Masters unlock as you pass advancement tests and these people can teach you new moves. In order to fully unlock what a master has to teach you other advancement tests may be required but in the meantime others will still have plenty to teach. Each of these training missions can range in difficulty but for the sake of learning new abilities they are quite worth it.
While Dragon Ball Z can have cheesy storylines, *coughs* the Great Saiyaman *coughs*, DBZ is really about the fighting and that’s what Xenoverse 2 does best as it’s based within this time frame. With all the modes available, Xenoverse once it gets down to it is a well designed arena fighter that pits you solo or with others against a lineup of Dragon Ball characters either from the natural course of history or otherwise. There are hardly any lulls in the action once control if given over to you.
With the ability to customize your character as you see fit, fighting each mission is a blast. Physically attacking enemies can be done with light or heavy attacks before even getting into the stronger moves that will require either Ki or Stamina to perform. Energy blasts big and small, iconic or otherwise, can lay enemies to waste if timed correctly. Flying faster around the field, getting out of a flurry of punches, or catching up to an enemy that’s running away take up stamina. Each of these actions can fit into your play style and are customized by putting points into each of these aspects while leveling up.
While playing it safe in the beginning and while the loading times can be a bit long, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is an improvement upon the original. With more to do and an open area hub that is easily moved around in, getting to the action to save the timeline or just go punch things is a much smoother and welcomed experience. The bonus? You still get to create your own custom Dragon Ball character to do battle!
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Article by Pierre-Yves