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Review: Dragonball XenoVerse
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Available For: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC
ESRB Rating: T for Teen
Recommended Price Point: $59.99
The fifteenth installment in the Dragonball gaming franchise has to be one of the best. Dragonball Xenoverse was developed by Dimps, which has been responsible for the Budukai series and also co-developed Street Fighter IV. This Japanese-based company has done a great job at creating this legendary universe that so many people grew up watching on television. This game features complete character customization with a multitude of species and abilities to work with. It is also packed with a vast amount of quests to do and even extra modes to keep you playing the game for even longer.
If you are a fan of the Dragonball series then you probably don’t need anymore “good guy versus bad guy battles” being added to it. This game has a very interesting take on that. You play a user created character that has to stop a few baddies from changing history. The task at hand is simple: help history remain the same. These aforementioned baddies are altering battles/scenarios that are critical to the Dragonball story. It is a refreshing take on an outdated model of storytelling, but also it is extremely gutsy to mess with such an iconic property’s bread and butter, and for that, I applaud the developer for pulling it off.
This game really shines in it’s character creation. You start by choosing from five different species: Earthling, Saiyan, Namekians, Majin, and Frieza. Just like most games of this generation, when creating a character you can adjust many different facial features and hair styles. Once you delve deeper into the game, you get loot that is not just for cosmetic purposes, but also gives you stat bonuses. A very unique addition to the character customization comes when you start unlocking new abilities. Dragonball has a wide range of character specific abilities, and in this game, you can unlock most of those abilities to use with your own user created character. As far as individuality goes, this game is full of it. It is going to be extremely rare for anybody’s characters to be exactly alike.
A game like this is only as good as its combat system. While the combat does have its flaws, it is fun and very immersive. It reminds me of Final Fantasy or Kingdom Hearts due to the lock on and bash aspects of it. When your abilities and stat bonuses get more diverse, than so does the combat. Certain enemies are weaker to certain abilities and it makes for a fun and challenging array of battles. Often, I switch up my abilities in between quests because the button-mashing approach does not work in this game. I was very surprised to find myself enjoying this combat as much as I did. Bursting through the air, knocking my opponent back, and then blasting them with a giant beam of Ki is very satisfying in these interactive environments.
This game has a lot of content outside the main story mode, which I was not expecting. There is dozens of side quests (called Parallel Quests) in which you can approach by yourself or with two other players. Online side quests with you and two other custom characters is a blast. It is a lot like Monster Hunter online play where you can create a room, others join by searching for the quest they want to do, and you start it up. That same approach is taken in the “Battle Mode” as well. You go head to head with other players in an all-out battle. Much like the previous Budokai versions of the series, you can spend a lot of time in this mode, online or offline. Also, there are Training/Master quests that you can do to add more abilities to your arsenal. In these quests, you take on a master, which you unlock depending on your progression. This master can be any of a wide number of characters from the series. Each master has four specific quests that you have to unlock that have worthwhile awards. Learning all of the abilities in this game would take someone a very long time because of the diversity of these Training/Master quests.
This game really impressed me. There was a lot of elements that I was not expecting. I find myself enjoying the environments due to the uniqueness and amazing music that it has throughout the whole game. While playing cooperatively, there is a spectator camera that activates once you die, which is a nice touch that most games should include. A lot of the text is voiced over by actual voice actors from the series, which is refreshing in a Japanese themed game. The load times are very scarce, but the game does have it’s bugs. The visual style is a perfect portrayal of the series, but would benefit from being sixty frames per second instead of thirty. Overall, I’m enjoying this game a lot and I plan to keep enjoying it. I would recommend any fan of the series, or any fan of fun video games, pick this title up. I played this on the Xbox One.