Dragon Ball Xenoverse is a combination of some of the good qualities of anime and role-playing games and combines them into one amazing-looking game. However, as great as the game looks and as amazing as the character customization was, Dragon Ball Xenoverse lacks what makes Dragon Ball Z the series we know today: intense combat. The journey that players will make through the DBZ universe is quickly undermined by a series of incredibly one-sided brawls where the combat feels more like an overhyped button-masher.
The story for Xenoverse is certainly more unique than previous DBZ games have been which only rehashed the DBZ story. You’re created character has been summoned by Shenron to Tokitoki City as a wish from Trunks in order to help him correct any disturbances in time that may occur because he’s apparently unable to do it himself. The campaign takes players through the major fights of the DBZ universe, but this time events in history have been altered. It’s not a very strong story, but at least it’s different from what the usual DBZ story we’ve all memorized at this point.
Combat should be one of more glorified features of the game, instead what we are given is a lackluster experience lacking in depth. While there is certainly varying combos that players have access to with every character, they are likely to find themselves randomly mashing the weak and heavy attack buttons at random works just as well. Looking closely at the combat each fight comes to a standard pattern. Button mash your opponent across the map until your ki meter is full and unleash a super or ultimate attack, which will likely miss, until there is a winner. Blocking can be just as bad as actually fighting: if and when an enemy has you in a combo it’s almost not even worth the stamina to dodge it and you can’t really block it unless you can see it coming. It becomes more complicated as a lot of missions have you fighting multiple enemies at once, attempting to fight multiple opponents becomes tedious and a fight can become incredibly one-sided quickly. Often times it’s to the point where it’s completely unfair and frustrating.
Moving away from combat, the most alluring part of Xenoverse is the ability to create your own fighter. Players have five races to choose from: Majins, Saiyans, Namekians, Humans, and Frieza race, each with unique stats and fighting styles. Even the different genders have different stats. Everything about the character is customizable, from their gender, body type, color, and voice. It is also possible to change the color of the clothing characters wear. To go along with character creation is leveling up and stat management. It’s cool to see a character that you’ve invested time in grow more powerful, which is good because you’re stuck with that first character until you beat the main story campaign after which you have the option to create more characters. Players start off with a limited set of skills, but new powers and skills are unlocked gradually as they continue to play. Even though the RPG elements of Xenoverse are enjoyable they feel somewhat out of place in a Dragon Ball Z game.
As interesting as the single-player campaign might be, the more enjoyable experience comes from teaming up with other players in unique missions called Parallel Quests where upon completion they are rewarded with experience, money, and occasionally powers. Each mission offers powerful moves as rewards but because of the random drop system you’re not likely to get them on the first try and will likely have to complete the mission multiple times to get the one item or power you want. It is unfortunate that the competitive multiplayer battle is by far the lowest of Xenoverse’s modes. Players you’re likely to find will play fast and dirty ending the match within a matter of minutes. Attempting to find a match can be as tedious as the match itself. It’s possible to form teams with other people in order to make it easier to enter Parallel Quests and enter matchmaking. Unfortunately trying to form the party can be as complicated as navigating the menus. The menu system is overly complicated and the game doesn’t show you where anything is or how to do it.
Upon first look, Dragon Ball Xenoverse appears like an amazing game for someone who enjoys DBZ and RPGs. Customizing your own unique character with the iconic moveset of characters of the DBZ universe. However, it’s difficult to get enthusiastic about the game when combat feels dull especially when that’s what the franchise is all about. The new story is a nice change of pace from the anime’s well known sagas, but the completely unfair missions can leave players frustrated. By far the cooperative Parallel Quests are the best way to enjoy the online action, especially with friends.