Throughout the last 10 years, there have been many different Dragon Ball games, ranging from fantastic fan-services like Budokai Tenkaichi 3 and the Budokai series, to the less stellar games like Battle of Z and Dragon Ball Z: Sagas. The most recent game in the franchise, Xenoverse 2, is by far the best Dragon Ball game ever made and certainly improves upon so many of the areas that the first Xenoverse stumbled on. It’s by no means perfect but what it does do perfectly is encapsulate what it feels like to become a Super Saiyan, fire Kamehameha’s and truly create your own unique hero.
As in the first Xenoverse, one of the most unique features of the sequel is still the ability to create your own warrior, be it a Saiyan, a Namekian, a Majin, an earthling or even a member of Frieza’s race. This lends the game a much more personal touch as everyone who plays the game will have a different experience. You find yourself becoming quite attached to your own creation, despite knowing that there are millions of others out there, it really feels like yours is the most powerful in Conton City. Adding to the hundreds of abilities for your character to learn, there are now over 200 that can be equipped and they all feel like they actually have a purpose to their use. Some of the new additions, like the variety of Kaioken related moves, are all worthy of equipping to your character. Granted, the actual customisation of the characters, such as the face and hair, is still rather limited and could really do with an upgrade but the improvements that have been made really contribute to making the overall experience much more personal.
The most significant improvements to the game and what will surely mark it as the Dragon Ball game to come back to are the multitude of gameplay improvements that have been made. The first initial change to the gameplay is that Xenoverse 2 runs at a consistent 60fps, meaning that the combat feels fluid and smooth, allowing for the snap-reactions that the game often requires as well as adding to the already amazing presentation. Fighting an opponent now no longer feels like either fighter has an unfair advantage as stats are now dependent on the character you choose and the level you are, for example at level 80, Turles has less health than Goku does but he also has more ki meaning that characters are all unique in how they play. Another key change is Conton City, the new hub world that replaces Toki-Toki City. Rather than feeling tacked on, this hub world actually adds a lot to the experience with the ability to fly and ride vehicles is actually quite fun and the fact that trainers and instructors are now found in the same area every time and allow you to be taught by all of them means that the game is much less of a slow grind. Combat also has several new maneuvers added to it, such as the backdash and stamina break. Both of these moves prevent the sort of hide and seek gameplay that was a big part of the first game, essentially turning the game into a fast, fluid and satisfying fighter.
One of the more surprising elements about Xenoverse 2 is the story mode. A story mode has always been present in Dragon Ball games but considering the much shorter development time in between the first and second game, it’s impressive that Dimps have managed to make a story mode that’s full of surprises. Several encounters are now completely different to how they were in the first game such as the appearance of Cooler alongside Frieza in several key moments. This mostly amounts to having villains who shouldn’t be in that point of time, teaming up with another villain but these still manage to add spice to the Dragon Ball story that we’ve all heard a million times before. I would even argue that these new scenarios make the story mode much more impressive than in the first game, as all it originally amounted to was villains being corrupted by Towa’s magic. The introduction of Future Gohan and the struggle that Trunks has in living in a timeline that could be changed to include his master is also very gripping because both Future characters have always been sympathetic and compelling characters. The story mode is one of the best in recent Dragon Ball games, changing enough things to keep a familiar story surprising.
One of the most important features in any Dragon Ball game is the roster that is included. Xenoverse 2 has a fantastic start by adding characters from the movies and from the current series, such as Hit, Turles and Goku Black. Best of all, these characters are all wholly unique and don’t share combos with any of the others, feeling worthy of being added in the sequel. It also helps that these characters all introduce their special moves that can later be used by your own created character, making their inclusion feel even more needed. It helps that Xenoverse 2 has such a large amount of parallel quests to use these characters in, with 100 unique ones to tackle with friends or on your own. These quests are the best chance to use these characters and also the best opportunity in the game to play with other people in what is easily the most sociable game in the franchise yet.
Whilst Xenoverse 2 may not have fixed all of its flaws, such as the RNG system for parallel quests, it has improved upon the formula in so many significant ways that it actually feels like a game that can be continuously gone back to and played for years to come. The DLC plan for the game also includes some characters from the current series, meaning that there will always be something exciting to look forward to. With Xenoverse 2 and Super, it’s never been a better time to be a fan of Dragon Ball.