DRAGON DRAGON! ROCK THE DRAGON! DRAGON BALL Z! HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! If you’re still playing a Dragon Ball Z game these days, then you most certainly aren’t doing it for the story. After decades of exposure, the Dragon Ball Z saga has pretty much run itself ragged, as players can only throw a spirit bomb at Frieza so many times before the novelty wears off. But what about a game where those infamous battles have been altered, resulting in wildly different outcomes? Is such an idea any good? Surprisingly, yes. Yes it is.
Time is being rewritten. Faces that were meant to be caved in with energy blasts that carry enough power to drill through a planet, are being misplaced. The wrong asses are being kicked, and there are chronal shenanigans afoot. Clearly, somebody is messing with continuity, in a manner that borders on illegal Dragon Ball Z fan-fiction.
And that’s where you come in. Dragon Ball Xenoverse mixes the formula up by asking players to instead create their own Z Warrior, summoned to a place outside of time to assist Trunks and other warriors from history as they seek tor repair time and restore history to the way it was supposed to be. It’s a neat idea, held together by a character customisation tool that allows you to be one of five races: Saiyan, Human, Namekian, Majin or a Frieza clan member. Each race has their own pros and cons, from the Majin having high defense and low stamina, to the Saiyans having a high attack and low health.
It’s a fairly robust system, with plenty of options to create a character that suits your profile and taste, with further cosmetic customisation options available in the game hub once you’ve progressed far enough and ASCENDED EVEN FURTHER BEYOND. Once you’re ready to rock the dragon, you’ll then get the chance to replay several pivotal moments throughout the Dragon Ball Z saga and beyond, as you punch time back into its regular slate.
It’s something that few Dragon Ball Z games have had, namely a new plot to engage in, and it’s an overall neat package that does an adequate job of setting up which character deserves a fireball in the face, whether it be series antagonists such as Cell and Frieza or even former allies turned villains. Of course setting up the battle is one thing, but following through is an entirely different matter all together.
And compared to previous Dragon Ball Z games such as Burst Limit and Ultimate Tenkaichi, the combat is much, much better. It’s not too dissimilar from the last game, Battle Of Z, but it’s mercifully also devoid of needing OVER 9000 button inputs in order to throw out something as simple as a Kame-Hame-Ha wave attack. Combat is fully integrated into all three dimensions, with players zipping around in the sky as they throw out simple combos which evolve into massive attacks that can devastate a planet over time, earning new skills and abilities along the way. Fast-paced and over the top, the combat still requires some 3D thinking in order to progress beyond being a simple button-masher and find the real depth hidden within it.
While Dragon Ball XenoVerse is still very much a fighting game at its core, said core now also boasts some RPG features. In fact, this isn’t even THE FINAL FORM OF THIS GAME.
It’s very much Destiny Ball Z now, as the game has a foothold in an online space of action games. You’ve got a hub to explore, TokiToki City, that connects you to other players from around the world with quests, tournaments and general get-togethers. It’s here where players can take a break from the usual action, and stock up on various items and equipment, tackling other quests in order to rack up some much-needed XP to grow their skills. Merchants are everywhere, and custom player creations populate TokiToki City. The game also makes use of your own avatar while you’re offline, sending it randomly into parallel quests as an optional mini-boss, who can earn you some experience and other rewards when you’re not playing. It’s a pretty cool feature overall.
That’s not to say that this game isn’t without some problems, stemming from a various Japanese design. Some of these are cosmetic, but other times you’ll find yourself stuck in a corner thanks to an irritable camera, or having to grind your way through optional quests in order to survive a main quest. The online side of the game also needs some tweaking, as servers are irritable right now before the European launch of XenoVerse. The learning curve can also be a tad bit steep, as the game prefers to throw an infographic your way rather than hold your hand and properly show you the ropes. Likewise with the AI, which makes your AI more worthless than Yamcha sometimes.
But sweet Shenron, is XenoVerse is a gorgeous game. Characters pop, battle scenes are truly epic and the action never skips a frame and characters look like they’ve been ripped straight out of the original comic books and anime series. The backgrounds could still use some work, as could the idea of destructible environments, but XenoVerse is still the kind of game that will make you imagine that you’ve just taken a SOLAR FLARE attack to the face. Coupled with a catchy soundtrack, iconic voice-acting and some truly breath-taking animations, and the game has a rather solid feel to it, even if it doesn’t nail every single idea it throws at players, on the head.
Last Updated: February 26, 2015