Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 Review (PS4)

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 aims to be the biggest Dragon Ball title to date and it manages to do so with a large roster, expansive customisation options, new modes and multi-player play and accessible, easy to understand gameplay mechanics.
Xenoverse 2 puts a twist on the familiar Dragon Ball stories by taking us through all the historic moments in the series by altering them with time shenanigans – Towa and Mira are back and are upsetting the original Dragon Ball timeline, and it’s up to you, Trunks and the original Xenoverse hero to ensure that history flows as it should. As a character of your own making, you’re hired as the latest Time Patroller to watch over history, and it isn’t long before you’re fighting the likes of Frieza, Cell, Buu and Beerus with the help of Goku, Vegeta and the rest of the Z Fighters. I’m a big Dragon Ball fan so being able to experience these timeless tales in a new way has been exciting, and it’s kept me occupied for hours! It’s good Dragon Ball fun that’ll easily appear to long-time fans and it’s a great way to jump into the series as a newcomer.
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Xenoverse 2’s simplistic combat is both its blessing and its bane. It’s stylish, bombastic and incredibly easy to play with combat that favours button mashing rather than technical combos which allows any Dragon Ball fan to enjoy the game, but those hoping for a meatier fighting game won’t find it here. I enjoy it and I’ve spent a good chunk of time on Xenoverse and continue to play it after I’ve beaten the story but, as with the first Xenoverse, I found myself using the same combos and skills over and over as they yielded the best results time after time – there’s so many skills to learn, but not all of them are worth learning. Being able to play as all of the iconic heroes and villains of the series is a big pull and when I’m not playing as my own character, you’ll usually find me playing as Future Gohan.
I think what developer Dimps has achieved with Xenoverse 2 was for the best though as it’s the most popular and recognisable anime of all time, and so creating something that anyone can play is a remarkable feat and I praise them for it. There isn’t much here for competitive play but there’s great co-op options introduced with the Expert Missions. You can create a team to tackle dozens of side-quests of varying difficulty as well as the Expert Missions which see a team of 6 fight one huge, powerful enemy who’s designed in such a way that they cannot be beaten alone. They can brainwash you and your allies to turn yourselves against each other or take your momentarily out of the battle, and these enemies are far stronger than their counterparts that you’d find in normal quests.
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Conton City is colourful, expansive and littered with teleporters to help you get around if you don’t wish to travel by foot, vehicle or flight, and there are also teleporters that take you to areas that aren’t on the map such as Hercule’s house. The city captures the Dragon Ball spirit perfectly and being able to fly around with other characters who are doing their own thing is great fun and whilst I won’t interact with most of the people I come across on Xenoverse 2, it’s nice knowing that they’re there. Seeing Shenron floating around the brinks of the city is pretty awesome, too!
The game itself is undeniably the best looking game in the series, which isn’t a shock as it’s the first Dragon Ball title made for the current generation of consoles, and Dimps have Akira Toriyama’s art re-created into 3D in a way that could easily leave you in awe. Battles are packed with colour, lights and an array of moves ranging from the familiar Kamehameha to Galick Gun, Special Beam Cannon and Destructo Disc, and Xenoverse 2 plays like a love letter to fans made by those who love Dragon Ball. Whilst there’s always room for improvement, Dimps are on the right track in creating games that are getting closer and closer to their anime counterparts, and it’s really exciting.
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As Dragon Ball games tend to do, the English cast from the anime reprise their roles here and helps to make Xenoverse 2 an authentic experience – they’re recogniseable and it’s simply not Dragon Ball without the likes of Sean Schemmel and Christopher Sabat! It’s dual audio so you can play in Japanese too. Xenoverse 2 has a catchy soundtrack with tunes made to match the intensity of the game and Conton City features peaceful, relaxing themes to match the upbeat feel of the bustling city. I’d happily own the soundtrack for this and its variety in tunes is impressive.
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 far surpasses its predecessor and does an excellent job in capturing what makes Dragon Ball what it is whilst providing plenty of gameplay options to keep you coming back long after the story. Dimps will have a hard time topping this one with, presumably, Xenoverse 3 but I really like the direction that the Xenoverse series has taken and hope that it continues. If you’re a fan then you won’t want to miss out and even if you aren’t very familiar with the series, Xenoverse 2 makes for a great starting point.

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