Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
Back Down To Earth
  • Release Date
    10.25.2016
  • Publisher
    Bandai Namco
  • Developer
    Dimps
  • Time Played
    8 hrs
  • Xbox One
  • Playstation 4
  • Windows
Release Date
10.25.2016

Publisher
Bandai Namco

Developer
Dimps

Time Played
?
8 hrs
That's 2928 hrs in the hyperbolic time chamber

  • Xbox One
  • Playstation 4
  • Windows
I’m a long-time fan of the Dragon Ball universe and I try to make a point to dive back in whenever a new game comes out. And yes, if we’re being honest, they’re rarely great games, but they always give me what I’m looking for: turning into a super saiyan, shouting out the name of the attack before you do it, lightning fast fist fights, and outrageously large energy blasts. It’s dumb, it’s awesome, I love it.

So in strolled the first Xenoverse game (which I reviewed here) and my DBZ mojo was back in full swing. The combat was pretty/fairly/relatively solid, the way they approached the classic storyline was surprisingly refreshing, and it introduced new, although shallow, RPG elements. So while it had its issues, I felt the title of my review, Hope of the Universe, was extremely appropriate because the game was a good first (new) step for the franchise. But it needed more love and depth to truly succeed and I fully expected the sequel, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 by developer Dimps, to knock it out of the park.

And sadly, it just didn’t…

THE GOOD
If I had never played the original Xenoverse, the sequel might have fared a little better because it actually does build on the strengths of the first game to a certain degree. I really enjoyed the original Xenovese’s new perspective on the story where you take on the role of a custom Time Patroller and travel through time to correct past classic DBZ events that are being tampered with by a mysterious enemy. It gave the player a sense of purpose and motivation that other DBZ games were never able to achieve. You weren’t just trudging through the same events over and over again, your actions meant something and you had to actively get stronger if you wanted to take on the likes of Frieza and Cell. Pretty cool right?

And all of that still, more or less, holds true in Xenoverse 2. You’re still a Time Patroller, you’re still correcting history, you’re still a custom character. It’s not a straight-up improvement, more on that later, but they stuck to what worked in the first game and delivered a very similar experience.

Stretching a bit here, but the combat is also a little better. They took their old decent combat system from the original game, copy/pasted that bad boy into the sequel, added a few lines of code to smooth it out, and boom, improvement. If you liked the combat from the original then you’re in for 101% of the same thing.

THE BAD
Xenoverse 2 is missing something crucial. Something that the original game was chock full of. As coach Jimmy McGinty would say, “You’ve gotta have heart. Miles and miles of heart.” And that’s just it. You can feel the lack of love and enthusiasm behind every decision in Xenoverse 2. The first game was uncharted territory and every idea was fresh and well-executed (or at least well-meaning) and they had a choice to either refine and expand on those ideas or simply deliver the same game where every feature is slightly larger in width but lacking in depth. They chose the latter.

The best example is the hub world. The hub world in the first game was a collection of little maps where you run around, talk to different DBZ characters to learn attacks, buy clothing/skills/items, complete various missions, and interact with other players (if the terrible servers were working). There really wasn’t a whole lot to it and you couldn’t even fly. The developers saw those complaints and made a significant size increase to the hub world of Xenoverse 2, but proceeded to fill it with next to nothing. There is barely any more to do than in the first game’s hub world and it just begs the questions: why??? This was a golden opportunity to really make this something special. That being said, they did add one thing… loud and obnoxious music that plays on a loop while you’re in the hub world (which is often). I’ll try to find a video so we can all enjoy it together… here.

This theme of quantity over quality continues as you notice that most of the clothing, skills, and items are straight from the first game, many of the animations for the moves are identical, and even the battle stages are carbon copies. Not cool! It’s such a beloved franchise and the first Xenoverse was such a refreshing start that it makes this sequel’s total lack of heart even more piercing.

Sigh… For the sake of completion, I’d be remiss not to mention that load times are atrocious, the multiplayer servers never worked for me at all (and apparently you can only be on it for three hours before automatically getting booted… whaaa??), the character animations during dialogue sequences are laughable, the retelling of classic DBZ storylines is totally dull and was done better in the first game, and worst of all there’s still no destructible environments! Like, seriously guys, this is Dragonball Z we’re talking about here. If you’re not being punched in face through seven mountains, crashing into an ocean, and detonating in an explosion that can be seen from space, you’re doing it wrong.

THE TAKEAWAY
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 was a pretty depressing experience for me. I went in all starry-eyed and hopeful because I love DBZ and the first game was so promising that I fully expected its sequel to take a scouter to its weaknesses, analyze them, and polish them to perfection. Instead they saw how well Xenoverse 1 did and just straight-up copied it and added the bare minimum to capitalize on that success. They Call of Duty’d it and that makes me sad. Now I know how Tien felt when Chiatzu died and they never bothered to revive him.

So if you’re really in the mood for a DBZ game, sure, this fits the bill, but it’s a totally lackluster effort on Dimps’ part and it shows in almost every aspect of the game.

It's still DBZ, but this sequel is a lackluster and unimaginative effort after a promising first game
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