The original Dragon Ball Xenoverse threw MMO elements in a blender with the 3D fighting gameplay of the Budokai Tenkaichi series. The result was a bit of an experimental mess, but underneath the technical issues and unorganized hub world was a solid Dragon Ball Z fighting game. Dimps took what it learned from developing the first Xenoverse and applied that knowledge to Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, delivering a much more polished experience that is sure to please most Dragon Ball fans.
Right off the bat, fans will notice a smoother online experience, with virtually zero server issues or difficulties accessing the online features, perhaps in part due to the game’s open beta. While the load times are still a little too long and frequent, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 simply runs better than its predecessor in a general sense, which means players are able to enjoy the online and offline action with fewer incidents of server disconnections and crashing.
Xenoverse 2 retains basically all the online features found in the first game. Players can engage in online battles, take on especially challenging bosses in teams, and also play through some of the Parallel Quest side missions with co-op partners. It’s also possible to interact with the avatars of other players in the new hub world of Canton City.
Even though it is larger than the first game’s hub world, Canton City is also more organized, making it much easier to find points of interest. Traveling through Canton City is a quick and painless process, even before the player character has the right to fly there, thanks to the hoverboard vehicle players have access to at the start of the game.
Before players are able to explore Canton City, however, they must first create their in-game avatar. Once again, players have full reign over the creation of their character, choosing their race, gender, and appearance. With more options available, the character creation process in Xenoverse 2 is fun in and of itself, and lets players craft the exact character they want to be.
Customizing created characters is a big part of Xenoverse 2, as players are encouraged to collect new equipment to outfit their avatars with, as well as level them up in order to improve their stats. Leveling a character in Xenoverse 2 is straight-forward, but the game does try to sneak some MMO-style grinding into the experience, with little success.
The main story missions all have recommended levels for players to be at before they tackle them, but it’s possible to go through most of the story ignoring those recommendations. Since grinding for XP is not really necessary, a lot of the side content can be glossed over with little consequence, which may not have been the studio’s intention.
There are some points in the main story where players are forced to play through side content, though, which feels like unnecessary padding to make the game seem longer. This padding hurts the flow of Xenoverse 2‘s story, which is otherwise surprisingly engaging and fleshed out for a fighting game, and offers unique twists on familiar Dragon Ball Z stories.
Fans have played through stories like the Saiyan Saga and Cell Saga dozens of times in past games, but Xenoverse 2‘s time-traveling villains make these events feel fresh. Essentially, the two antagonists from the first game, Towa and Mira, are trying to ruin history by transporting villains from different timelines to points in time they shouldn’t be.
For example, at one point in the game, Towa and Mira transport Cooler to the final battle between Goku and Frieza, and the player needs to step in to help. What makes these “what if” scenarios more interesting is the inclusion of characters predominantly from the anime movies, as opposed to the typical villains that were featured in the manga or the show.
This opens the door for some underused movie characters like Turles and Lord Slug to join the fray. As for more recent Dragon Ball villains, Xenoverse 2 even features Goku Black from Dragon Ball Super, albeit as a pre-order bonus and not as someone that is available to everybody that purchases the game.
The villains and heroes in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 are brought to life with vibrant cel-shaded graphics that do a relatively good job of capturing the feel of the anime. Some of the animations are a little stiff and the lip-syncing work is worse than normal, but otherwise Xenoverse 2 looks great, and is easily the best looking Dragon Ball game produced to date.
Players will be able to admire the sharp visuals in Xenoverse 2 for quite awhile, as the game is stuffed with content. And even after they’ve had their fill of the base game, fans can look forward to content updates that will be added for at least the first six months after the game’s release. Bandai Namco originally promised support for a full year, but even though it seems like it has rescinded that promise, Xenoverse 2 still has enough content in the base game to justify the price of admission.
Broken DLC promises, long load times, and story padding hurt Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, but it is still a game with plenty of content for Dragon Ball fans to sink their teeth into. It has a large roster full of diverse fighters, endless character creation possibilities, a streamlined hub world, and an engaging story. Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is a vast improvement over the original, and should leave franchise fans satisfied.
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is available now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Game Rant was provided a PS4 code for this review.