The world of Dragon Ball is entering a state of crisis. A dark venom courses through the veins of the Dragon Ball world and opens a rift in time and space as the power intensifies, the past is rewritten. The world summons a new warrior with the power to save Dragon Ball – YOU! Reset the balance and use your power to save the world once more in DRAGON BALL XENOVERSE!
Developed by Dimps and published by Bandai Namco Games, Dragon Ball Xenoverse put us, the players, in the shoes to be the hero. Not Goku, not Vegeta, not Gohan, but instead a character we create from the ground up! Just in the first two weeks the game was out, we at Saiyan Island spent more time playing Dragon Ball Xenoverse than all of the Dragon Ball games released, combined, in the seven years before it! Months after its release, we’re actually still playing it here and there. It’s not a perfect game by any means, but it has been a true joy to play! Take a look at what we love and disliked about Dragon Ball Xenoverse:
What We Love
- Ability to create and customize a character
Players can create and customize a male Saiyan, female Saiyan, male Human, female Human, male Majin, female Majin, Namekian, and Frieza race character with a wide variety of clothes, shoes, and accessories to choose from. There are some very nice game-exclusive articles of clothing (such as the 4-Star Dragon Ball outfit) and those notable from the series (such as Goku’s iconic orange gi). According to Bandai Namco, over 450 items can be equipped to characters! On the skills front, there are over 200 attacks to select from including the legendary Kamehameha, Piccolo’s Special Beam Canon, and Vegeta’s Final Flash! Players can level up their characters, allowing them to gain more health, ki energy, defensive, and offensive power attributes. Leveling up was actually quite vital in battle against others, as higher attributes lead to easier wins in story mode and more competitive battles online.
- Story Mode
We’ve experience the same story so many times in past Dragon Ball games in addition to the anime itself. The different take on the story in Dragon Ball Xenoverse was refreshing! True it was much of what we already knew, but the way it was presented with altered timelines and new villains gave it a different feeling. The varying levels of difficulty added to the experience. There were some chapters that were extremely easy to win, while others took more thought and faster reflexes to champion.
The music in Dragon Ball Xenoverse was fantastic! None of them were from the original Japanese broadcast or FUNimation’s Dragon Ball Z anime, but all the tracks had that charm the anime series has.
- Attack Clashes
When two players melee attacks met one another, they clashed in epic DBZ fashion! This lead to an automatic exchange of punches and kicks at rapid speeds! No damage is dealt in these clashes, but the ki energy gauge is increases and just watching the scene every time made us here at Saiyan Island feel pure joy!
- Battle Damage for Characters
As the fight progressed and characters lost health, their appearance changed! By the end of many battles, we noticed a lot of scratches, cuts, and ruffed up clothing that wasn’t there at the start of the battle. This includes story mode and free battles.
Creating 1-vs-1, 2-vs-2, and 3-vs-3 fights were very easy! All players would have to do is go to an area marked as the online Battle Reception desk, create or search for a room with players and voila the battle would begin! Friends could be on the same team, if they chose to, and battle against rivals or complete strangers as part of a unit. They could also go to the Quest Reception desk and complete quest missions together against the CPU. As an added bonus, if a player ran into somebody they knew, they could send them an invite to a 1-vs-1 challenge on the spot, even if they were nowhere near the online Battle Reception desk.
- Spectator Mode in Endless Battle
Watching opponents fight online in endless battle – we thought this was a neat feature and made battles more fun! It was also an opportunity to watch how others played the game and to possibly incorporate their fight styles into your own!
- Dialogue in Quests
The dialogue in quests made them more interesting than they were! Every quest had generic dialogue, but there were certain scenarios where two characters were together in the same match, they would have a unique exchange of words.
- Preset costumes and skills
Dragon Ball Xenoverse allows players to preset up to 7 sets of costumes and skills to select before heading into battle. This made life so much easier as we could save clothes and skills combinations we loved and swap them on the fly! This was not only cosmetically nice, but strategically helpful! For example, when battling online, we could preset a set of clothes with 7 completely different skills sets to throw opponents off guard. They would anticipate us going Super Saiyan and throwing one ultimate attack, but in reality we could fire another!
- Rewards for Parallel Quests Clearly Listed
We loved seeing all the things that could be earned from parallel quests spelled out. It was nice to know up front what we were playing for when engaging in a quest.
- DLC Pack 3
This was by far the game’s best DLC pack! When DLC for Xenoverse was announced, we hoped we would get Resurrection F content, but did not expect it. Realistically, we thought Bandai Namco and Dimps would hold on to give this to us in a sequel, but they pleasantly surprised us by giving us the ability to experience the power of SSGSS Goku, SSGSS Vegeta, and Golden Frieza in Xenoverse!
What we Disliked
- Randomness for Rewards in Parallel Quests
While we loved rewards for missions being listed, we absolutely disliked the randomness of receiving those rewards. It felt as if there were no structure in place. For example, it took us a few dozen plays of one quest to get Vegeta’s Z Soul for his Master Quest. During our dozen plays we had a few Z-rank ultimate finishes, but it did not mean anything. We received it randomly after getting an S-rank, which is lower than Z. We felt the rewards should have been tied to the letter grade received, they should not be random. In other words, if a player gets a Z-rank, then they get all the rewards in a mission. If they get anything less, than they only get certain items, and those items should be defined. We’re sure many of you agree at the aggravation of playing a quest with skill to get a Z-rank, but no reward!
- Max Level 99 Delay
One of the things we disliked about the Network Test that took place in 2014 was the lack of experience gained 1-vs-1 battles. This was certainly a big issue in that limited environment where experience was hard to gain, but after completing the story and all the quests in the final version, we don’t think that was an issue as we found ourselves at level 80 really quickly. Imagine to our surprise when there was no additional level to go to. We still had to gather the Dragon Balls and obtain all the attacks so any additional quests we took part in did not give our character any additional experience points. At least until patches increased the maximum level to 85 and then later on 99, but we felt that should have been obtainable from the beginning. All of the time we spent grinding before the patches was essentially a waste from an experience standpoint since we didn’t earn any!
- Only 1 Custom Created Character at a Time
Upon finishing story mode, we found we could create 7 more custom characters. The thing is, we can only pick 1 of them at a time. There are two character select menus in the game – one where we pick which created character to roam Toki Toki City with and the other appeared before free battles and parallel quests. The character we pick to roam Toki Toki City with, however, is the only custom character we select in battles and quests. In order to play with another one of our created characters, we would have to quit the game and re-enter it.
- Limited Transformations
In Dragon Ball Xenoverse, only Saiyans could transform to a higher power (Super Saiyan). Unless Kaioken is counted as a transformation (which the Saiyans can do too), the Frieza, Majin, Namekian, and Human races have nothing! Even playable characters Cell and Frieza had their forms separated out. DLC Pack 3 allowed us to gain a transformation known as “Unlock Potential” after training with Elder Kai that provided stat boasts, but we didn’t think it was on par with going Super Saiyan. Mystic Gohan has a transformation called “Potential Unleashed” which would have been perfect, but there was no way to obtain that for created characters.
- Missing Playable Characters and Stages
When we say missing playable characters from the roster, we don’t mean Majin Vegeta, Janenba, or any characters not mentioned in Dragon Ball Xenoverse. We mean characters that were actually in the game that we couldn’t play as, for example, Demigra or Mira. Both characters had move sets in the game. Mira was included laters on as paid DLC, but he honestly should have been an unlockable character. Also, there were some missing stages that were present in story mode. The three missing stages that stand out to us are the two Demigra boss battle stages and Frieza’s spaceship stage.
- Unbalanced Characters
Many characters had only 1 ultimate attack and some actually had none! Hercule, Appule, Raspberry, and Saibaman were four of the weakest characters in the game and one could make an argument that they were accurately depicted, but in our opinion there was no reason to pick them unless you wanted to lose or try to troll an opponent.
- No Training Mode or COM-vs-COM
There was no mode to allow players to try out moves freely. Sometimes we wanted to test our timing with combos, special attacks, and ultimate attacks, but we would always have to do it in the midst of a battle. Training is a big part of the Dragon Ball universe so it was disappointing to see no training mode. We also wanted to see two computer opponents go at it with ease, however, the game offered no COM-vs-COM mode.
- Pre-Order DLC, DLC Pack 1, DLC Pack 2
The pre-order DLC distribution seemed somewhat illogical. Super Saiyan 4 Vegeta was pre-order DLC in America and Europe, while Super Saiyan 4 Gogeta was on the game disc. It would make more sense to us to have the fusion as pre-order DLC since it takes Goku and Vegeta to create Gogeta. Further, in our opinion, it would have been more logical to include all Dragon Ball GT characters as DLC because GT was nowhere to be found in the game’s main story mode. GT arcs were added as part of the DLC. In other words, we think Super Saiyan 4 Goku, Omega Shenron, and Super 17 should have been DLC and in their place, Demigra (who should have, but wasn’t playable at all), Mira, and Towa should have been unlockable through the Dragon Balls. Additionally, we think players should be able to purchase pre-order DLC. The incentive for pre-ordering should be the ability to get a character for free, not that it should be the only way to get them. We should mention, those who missed out on the pre-order Super Saiyan 4 Vegeta DLC, still saw him as part of the DLC Pack 2 story arcs.
- World Tournament
This is one of the big reasons we waited to post this review – we wanted to experience Xenoverse to its fullest before giving our thoughts! Over five months after the release of Dragon Ball Xenoverse, this feature is still disabled and the tournament representative in the game says the same thing he did on release date – something along the lines of waiting for the tournament to open. The World Tournament mode was first teased back in October and November of 2014, but here we are at the end of July (almost August) 2015 and nothing!
Despite all the faults, and they are big faults, Dragon Ball Xenoverse is hands down the best Dragon Ball video game we’ve played! This review was written over the course of a few months and we meant to post it on the week of release, but every time we went to write the review, within minutes we found ourselves right back in the game! We ultimately decided to sit down and finish it after all of the DLC and features were available, although since the World Tournament mode never launched, we can’t say we had a chance to try all the features!
The reason we love Dragon Ball Xenoverse is because it has a certain charm which makes us want to go back for more. It’s hard to explain, but the feeling of creating yourself and launching the epic moves from the series in this game is amazing! In most video games, the reward for playing is unlocking pointless items to collect in a gallery that most of us will never bother to watch. In Dragon Ball Xenoverse, the rewards are attacks and items that we can actually use in battle to our advantage.
We thought long and hard about what rating out of 10 we would give this game, but we felt giving it something like a 10, 9, or 8 would be too high because of all the aspects we disliked. At the same time, giving it anything less than an 8 would be too low because of how much we loved the game. This is just is one of those games where a number can’t accurately represent it. One thing we are certain of is the future of official PC and console Dragon Ball video games – it looks really bright and we’re extremely excited for all of the potential greatness Bandai Namco and Dimps have in store for us for the sequel that is all, but confirmed!