Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 Review

Rock the Dragon

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is the sequel to the original 2015 fighting role-playing game based on the long-running anime, Dragon Ball Z. If you’ve played through Dragon Ball Xenoverse, you’re already familiar with the intense 3D fighting gameplay. In fact, the game is very similar, incorporating nearly the same story and quests from the first game. While this may turn off players seeking a novel experience, DBXV2 is still the big update that fans were hoping for. And just like the characters in the show, Xenoverse has powered up and is as entertaining as ever.

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Hopefully, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 3 will be even more SUPER.

The story takes place after the first game’s ending, though you wouldn’t think it based on the redundant premise. Two time-hopping villains mess with the continuity of the show’s timeline, and it’s your job as a Time Patroller to correct history. You fight your way through the main arcs (Saiyan, Frieza, etc.) in slight variations of the show’s canon. The differences from the first game include a bigger emphasis on movie villains, pacing alterations, and some new material. But otherwise, it very much feels like a retread of the original, which itself is a slightly altered retread of the show. If you have save data from the original Xenoverse, you can import your custom character, who while isn’t playable, has an important role in this “new” story.

This leads to the biggest reason to play this game: its extensive create-a-character mode. You get to play as your own avatar and fight alongside the show’s heroes. For many fans, it’s a dream come true, inserting yourself into the popular franchise, creating the Z-Warrior you’ve always wished existed. There are five races: Earthling, Saiyan, Namekian, Majin, and the Frieza race. You can customize gender, facial features, and voice, among other things. Going even further, your hero can equip many combinations of skills and clothing, so you could copy a favorite character, or mix and match styles. A complaint about the original game was that since clothing affected stats, you couldn’t dress how you wanted. The new “QQ Bang” item, formed by synthesizing clothing, does its best to offset that by giving you set stat bonuses regardless of what you’re wearing. Unfortunately, their stat outputs are somewhat random and require you to give up hard-earned clothing for a mere chance at a good QQ Bang. Finally, via a satisfying progression system, you can boost attributes like health or attack as you level up your character.

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If you have the original game save file ON the same system, you can import your original custom avatar.

Once you’ve made your avatar, you can step toe-to-toe with the series’ biggest villains. Combat is just like in the show, which also means it’s unlike any regular fighting game. Most of the fighting takes place as you’re flying through the air, abound with intense martial arts and kinetic Ki energy blasts. The game does a remarkable job in making the action accessible while remaining satisfying. You can lock on and fly towards your opponent from anywhere within the large 3D arena at any time. Physical combos are easy to execute and only require a few button presses as opposed to other games’ complex combos. Likewise, performing hard-hitting super and ultimate moves is also simple. Meanwhile, Ki energy allows you to unleash a well-timed fireworks display to incinerate foes. And as long as you have stamina in your meter, you can perform mid-attack dodges and even run away for cover. The game’s all about taking charge of the playing field, linking combos to super moves, and preventing your opponent a chance to fight back. It’s amazing how faithful the game mechanics are to the flashy show.

Adding to the authenticity, the roster contains dozens of playable characters from the Dragon Ball universe. There are some noteworthy omissions, such as various forms of Frieza and Cell, but most mainstays are accounted for. Considering the show has over a hundred characters who could have been included, the 60+ number here isn’t bad. Additionally, developer Dimps has improved balance issues to ensure that each character is fun to use. For example, in addition to the iconic Super Saiyan transformation, each race now has an exclusive transformation, such as Namekians’ giant and Majins’ pure forms. It not only provides more options to more characters, but it also delves deep into the lore in a way that fans can appreciate.

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Even Frieza himself is confused by the custom characters.

Aside from the main story, there is a lot to do in the brand new hub town of Conton City. The city itself is a glorious hodgepodge of areas from the show. It’s like visiting a Dragon Ball theme park – there are replicas of Planet Namek, Capsule Corporation, and Kame House. If any of those names brought back fond memories, than you’ll enjoy exploring the vast hub full of references. The show’s characters are scattered around the hub, ready to become your mentor and pass on their signature moves and cheer you on as you win fights, or in hot-headed Vegeta’s case, insult you at every chance. New to the sequel are “Time Distortion” areas that have unique ongoing storylines, such as defending the elder Namek Guru by collecting the wish-granting Dragon Balls and rising the ranks of Frieza’s factions. While this isn’t a big deviation to the regular gameplay, it again brings the world to life, asking you to interact with all major races in a substantial way.

Parallel Quests, or what-if scenario sidequests, provide the bulk of side content. There are 100 Parallel Quests, though the number includes all 50+ quests from the first game. Regardless, that’s a large amount of content, and each one has a plethora of unlockable items and skills. This leads into the Xenoverse series’ biggest shortcoming: grinding. There’s a random element that determines what goodies you get following a quest. If you don’t get whatever you’re looking for, you have no choice but to try again and hope for the best. It’s a discouraging process when it doesn’t go the way you want. At least the drop rate is fairer compared to the original game’s, in which getting an item could take hours. As long as you perform hidden quest conditions and get high performance ratings, you have a better chance at getting desired rewards.

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Pink Ki blasts are very in style. Just Saiyan.

Multiplayer also returns and remains a blast. You can still fight others online in up to three-on-three battles. There are also co-operative Parallel Quests and brand new “Time Rift” challenges. In a Time Rift, you and five players take on a single opponent with the catch that at any point, one of you might become brainwashed or sent to another dimension. They’re interesting, though not a big leap in quality over the excellent Parallel Quests. Bringing the online community to life, you can interact with others and perform goofy dances in the hub, all in good fun. Overall, online is stable, though disconnects happen occasionally. It’s likely for this reason that the game sets limits on how much time you can spend in the online lobby.

It’s impossible to talk about this game without mentioning the gorgeous visuals. The graphics sport a colorful anime look that effectively replicates Akira Toriyama’s signature style. Cutscenes reenact classic moments from the show and new animated scenes accompany the game’s plot. The action-packed battles run at a slick 60 frames per second, with little to no drops in quality. Likewise, music is a spirited mix of rock and other upbeat tunes that give the game its energy. More importantly, the sound effects are authentic to the show. It feels satisfying to hear the iconic Ki blast, teleport, and charge sounds during battle. Finally, the voice acting is solid with great performances from the cast, though they’re a bit tough to hear at times.

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DBZ: More fireworks than the 4th of July.

Conclusion

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is a love letter to the series’ biggest fans. Newcomers might not understand what’s happening, but fans will appreciate the high-octane supernatural martial arts. The attention to detail is astounding, from the lovingly made hub world to the cutscenes that recreate classic scenes from the anime. The story takes about 15-20 hours, but building up your custom character and completing quests easily quadruples that number. While grinding is unavoidable thanks to difficulty spikes and random drops, the wealth of content eases the process. Although there is a large number of repeated content, there’s enough in this powered-up sequel to convince Dragon Ball Z fans to fight once more.

Score: 8/10

A review copy of the PC version was used for this article. This review was originally written in October 2016 for Darkstation.

What are your thoughts on Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 or any Dragon Ball fighting game? What are your favorite licensed fighting games? What are your favorite fighting games in general? And if you love anime like me, share your favorite shows in the comments section below and let’s chat it up! I love talking anime AND games!

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44 thoughts on “Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 Review

  1. Yay! You finally put this up! I enjoyed reading it the firs time! I was so excited when you got this game, and I agree that it’s much better than the first one, if not very similar. But it’s a fighting game so I guess that’s alright. It’s Dragon Ball so of course I love it! Would have even better if it was Naruto or Boruto, but we have those games too, and I love them!! One Piece games are fun, too, especially that Unlimited World Red adventure we played together. Isn’t that coming out on Switch too? I’d say my favorite is still the Naruto series, but I like rocking the Dragon too! Dragon Dragon, Rock the Dragon, Dragon Ball Z! Great review! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks as always Crystal Dragon! I enjoy anime games, though not as much as I enjoy watching the anime together! And they usually end up okay, especially the Dragon Ball Z ones and the Naruto and One Piece games you mentioned! That Yu Yu Hakusho fighting game on PS2 was horrible, though… I would say Naruto Ultimate Ninja was one of my favorites too, same with One Piece Unlimited World Red. And yea, the timing of this review matched with the Nintendo Switch version coming out, so if I had one for the One Piece game, I would put it out then too! I’d replay it on Switch! Hopefully, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 3 goes Super and includes more characters from the other universes. Also, I’d love Dragon Ball FighterZ to come out on Switch around the time of the other consoles’ release. Thanks again! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice review! It’s kind of unrelated, but I read in your bio that you had a video game themed wedding, complete with Smash Bros. trophy centerpieces! Did you make any posts about that, or put it up on social media? I’d love to see it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much! Do you watch Dragon Ball by any chance?

      And to answer your question, sort of. I put up a teeny tiny bit on this on the following post: https://mrpanda2002.wordpress.com/2016/11/11/november-2016-update-one-lovely-unique-versatile-blogger-and-introducing-the-panda-award/

      But other than that, we have not really shared pictures from it publicly, partly because it’s our special day. We may consider talking about it more one day on our YouTube channel, but at the moment, the couple of pictures and small description on the link I shared is all we have for now. But I can tell you it was the best day of my entire life. 🙂 Thanks for asking!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aha, yes I understand the special day thing. Thanks for pointing me to a couple pictures, though, those were really cool!
        I don’t watch Dragon Ball, but I was interested in what the game is, your review helped clear that up a lot.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Of course! There were some more parts and decorations of the wedding that we’re very happy about, but the centerpieces are definitely a big portion of it. Mostly because they were amiibo before amiibo was announced! Seriously, when they announced it, we were like, those are our centerpieces!

        I’m happy that my review could help clear it up for you! Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is a great game, and one that I have enjoyed, but it’s also one that targets fans who love the characters and are familiar with how the action is portrayed.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review! Theoretically, does this game offer one the opportunity to play through the entire series with Yamcha as the protagonist? Because if so, this is worth double the selling price.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot! 😀 You can sort of play through the whole thing as Yamcha. It’d mostly be what if scenarios, but hey, anything where Yamcha is beating anyone in the DBZ universe up is already a big what if! I’d be on the lookout for Dragon Ball FighterZ since they just revealed Yamcha as a playable character. It seems like you’d be able to play through every saga laying waste with Yamcha, too, which is every fan’s dream. 😉

      Like

  4. I remember getting Dragon Ball Xenoverse back in 2015 when it came out on PC as well as various consoles, though I got it for the former. What was something that kept buggering me as I played it with friends and by myself, was that the game felt too repetitive in its rudementary design of how you had to play the levels, the what-if scenarios, the fighting and in the end it even made the loot system something quite lackluster.

    Yet when Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 came out and I watched as my brother-in-law played it for almost the entire weekend I visited them. It was clear that many of its previous problems had been ironed out, it did not do the game justice enough to bring me back as the upcoming Dragon Ball FighterZ will. That is not to say I did not find it enjoyable to watch, Dragon Ball and fighting games in general are one of the genres that has a special place in my heart since being introduced back in the 90’s.

    This review made me think back and realise that even games which started out weak, can become stronger as it rises from the ashes of what burned it to the ground. I enjoyed reading this while pondering on if I should return to the anime series from the beginning up to Super.
    Are you Mr. Panda perhaps interested for Dragon Ball FighterZ when it comes out and if so, what platform will you be getting it on?

    Stay Cozy and have a nice day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your wonderful comments! I was really excited about Dragon Ball Xenoverse at first, but there were little nitpicks that made the experience less than ideal for me. The randomness of the item drops and the unbalanced Super Saiyans were a few of them. So I loved the improvements of Xenoverse 2, specifically the higher drop rates, the QQ Bangs, the better balance among races (though maybe humans is too strong now haha), and the glorious hub town.

      Love your thoughts about games that start out weak and rise from the ashes. It’s very much how Saiyans operate. They receive large power boosts if they can get healed right before they die. And that happens all the time in DBZ. There is more to improve if they make a Dragon Ball Xenoverse 3, but I would definitely pick it up, especially if it included more characters from Super.

      On that note, I am really excited about Dragon Ball FighterZ. I’m likely picking it up on PS4, but if a Switch version is suddenly announced, I’d probably pick that up instead. That game looks like a much more classic take on DBZ fighting games, and my goodness, it looks gorgeous. As I usually do for DB fighting games, I hope the roster is gigantic. And I don’t just mean different forms, I want to see them reach into characters from the original DB, GT, and Super. I can only assume that they’d include more Super characters to promote that series and thinking about finally seeing them in games makes my mouth water.

      Have you seen the entire series? And are you going to pick up FighterZ? Which characters would you want included most?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I enjoy the Dragon Ball universe, though I’m still catching up watching through the series from the beginning.
        When FigtherZ comes out it will look to be in my opinion a game which will be getting a place on the esport scene. For what characters specifically that should be in the game? Well…everyone that had an importance as both hero and advisory in the show, however, I think my cards will be of Krillin. Love that little fella’ with the way he developed over the series.

        Will probably be getting it on my PS4 and enjoy the many hours I can from it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I agree! I’m hoping FighterZ and its Marvel vs. Capcom like presence, is a huge part of the esports scene. Woohoo, I’m glad to hear from another Krillin fan! He gets made fun of so much, but as a fan of the original Dragon Ball, I’ve always loved the little guy. I’m sure he’ll be included at least, since he’s such a big part of the franchise. I’m also hoping for the earlier characters like Master Roshi to make a comeback, and I’m thinking this will finally be his time to shine.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Haha, that is true. Hopefully we will get with his giant buzzsaw as a special ultimade move that can reck our opponents in an epic scene.
        Other than that I would love it if we could play as Goku when he was a kid from original Dragon Ball series (which will always be my favorite for the sense of adventure plus humor).

        In your opinion who would you love to be added in the game specific?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Haha yes! I love the original Dragon Ball more as well for its better blend of humor and martial arts, so again, a fan of your taste! Besides Master Roshi and Krillin, I also want to see other old-school DB characters like Mercenary Tao and King Piccolo make a return. I’m not expecting it, but I can hope. Have you played Dragon Ball Fusions? I liked the mixture between everything from DB to GT to even Super in it. I haven’t beaten it yet, but I like having young Goku and Gotenks in the same team.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. So sorry for this late reply Panda. I haven’t played Fusions, only ones that has been in my gaming library is one on the GBA and Budokai 1-3 on PS2. Those are probably the only Dragon Ball games in addition to Xenoverse of course.

        If there are other characters that should be playable I guess it would be…Pan? Can’t remember if she was in the previous games.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. No problem at all! Fusions is interesting for mixing and matching (and fusing) multiple characters from every series. The RPG battle system isn’t as fun, though. I enjoyed the Legacy of Goku GBA action RPGs! Not sure if that was the one you played, but I liked the gameplay in those. I also liked Budokai and Budokai Tenkaichi. There was also this card game for GBC I played. I don’t remember the name at the moment but it had turn-based elements and fighting so it was different from other DB games.

        I think Pan may have been in Xenoverse, possibly as DLC if not in the main game. I sort of recall her and Kid Goku being part of a GT pack.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. If we really want to go back and look at characters. I believe there was one called Arale or something, Grandpa Son Gohan (I remember mostly only from the OG series)….OH, is Broly also playable the newer games?

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Haha yes! The Dr. Slump character! Arale actually came back in Super, not even joking. Though the episode itself was a funny joke episode. Broly is indeed playable! And oh man, if you knew what was happening in Super, you might get excited!

        Liked by 1 person

      9. The small snippits I’ve seen when visiting my sister and brother-in-law. It does seem interesting, plus it’s all up on Crunchyroll to binge (which can have consequences once I start binge watching series).

        Although I got to start back from OG and move up through all the series before I can fully understand what is going on 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Haha have you seen the recent movies, Battle of Gods and Resurrection F? The first 27 episodes of Super regurgitate that so you wouldn’t need to watch the first 4th of the series. The movies are better (and also the original) versions anyway, so I recommend those.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. I did see Battle of Gods but felt out of the loop since there were many characters I didn’t know and things happened that just made me question the movie too much. However, I do think a rewatch will change my perspective after catching up. Like in One Piece, while the movies are non-cannon, you get more out of them after watching the series up to the movies release dates 🙂

        Or would you recommend just watching the movies without getting all the context?

        Liked by 1 person

      12. The two movies don’t require context but it helps if you’ve seen the Buu saga of DBZ. In other words, it directly continues from there and into Super. The first 27 episodes are retreads if the movie so it’s definitely canon. If you need a refresher, I’d recommend watching through Z. There are a lot of references to that, original DB too!

        By the way, I love One Piece!! Are you caught up by any chance??

        Liked by 1 person

      13. Yup, have watched all 808 episode but I’m thinking of starting from the beginning again. The great thing about One Piece is that the more you rewatch, the more you’ll notice little things that weren’t there before.

        Liked by 1 person

      14. Whew! That would be quite the ordeal! I agree that there’s a lot you can learn from rewatching. I read the manga and haven’t caught up with the anime since Dressrosa ended, mostly because of the drastically slow pace it moves in… Love Whole Cake Island arc so far!

        Like

      1. Short-ish version of my reviews:
        1) Everyone is OP from the start, so it’s not the usual typical plucky young lad who has a secret ability.
        2) Story seems well-planned out. Well, more a plus for the manga, but the author isn’t just flying by the seat of his pants. Everything is connected, and the plot is not just “introduce an even more powerful villain”.
        3) Characters are interesting. Someone like Ban the thief would often be a ladies’ man, but he’s fiercely loyal to his lover. Gowther will just be Gowther even in a life-or-death situation. Stuff like that.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks for sharing that! I like how those points sound, particularly #2. Planned out stories are always a plus for me. It’s on my queue on Netflix, so I’ll be sure to make that one of my next shows to watch!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Sounds like fun, apart from the grinding. Alas, random loot box style goodies are becoming more prevalent to keep people playing (or else everyone gets 100% in one go.) Right now I am playing Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash (don’t judge me) and in that game you get new abilities by opening card packs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No judgment here. I’m familiar with the game, though I haven’t played it. I think grinding is fine (to an extent) if the rewards are constant. When it’s just random loot, it can be frustrating to play something over and over again but not get the one item you’re looking for. For some reason, I don’t mind that style with Yu-Gi-Oh video games like Duel Links, though. Probably because what I win is currency to buy the cards. And also, I like the excitement from opening card booster packs.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I can definitely see why this game is known as one of the greatest DBZ titles of all time. It really does show a lot of love for the fanbase and the universe lore. It’s probably the closest thing we’ll get to Tenkaichi 4. (Tenkaichi 3 is still my favorite DBZ game) Too bad the story wasn’t more original but I suppose if you didn’t play the first one you’d enjoy it a lot more. My local library has this game in the teen center so you can walk in and play it whenever you want. It’s always exciting!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, that’s awesome! Have you played it a lot there then? Yea, the first Xenoverse never came out on Switch, so there could be a handful of people who only have played the sequel. I never got DBZ Tenkaichi 3 but I did get the second one back when it launched on Wii! I’ve always wanted the third one, but it became rare quickly. Hopefully, there will be a third Xenoverse that introduces characters from Super. I’m very interested in Dragon Ball FighterZ as well! Are you looking into that game too?

      Like

  7. Superb review! I watched a few of the older DBZ episodes when I was a kid, but never really got into it. I can see the appeal of putting your own avatar in the game to fight alongside your heroes from the show! Pink Ki blasts do look awesome 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks as always Lightning!! 😀 I was a huge fan since I started loving anime at a young age. I just love the sense of tension in every episode, even when fights take forever to resolve. I do love the pink ki blasts too. Reminds me of a certain pink-haired character! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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