Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 Review | Xbox Series X

It's everything that is good about Dragon Ball, with juicy twists everywhere!

By nine_toes, Posted 09 Jul 2024

Dragon Ball has always had a special place in my heart, as it was one of the first anime I consumed as a child. It’s a show that has shaped the childhoods of millions, and its influence can be seen in modern anime even today. The high-stakes moments and martial arts fights that still hold up today are what truly define the Dragon Ball series. Supplementing the stellar series, there have been games that try to emulate the world of Dragon Ball (usually Dragon Ball Z), and they have rarely disappointed us fans of the series. Dragon Ball: Budokai Tenkaichi 3, Dragon Ball FighterZ, and Dragon Ball Z Kakarot come to mind when thinking of the best games that are out for this franchise.

While the other games let you play as the beloved characters of the series and relive the story, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 lets you create a character that you can train with your favorite special moves by learning them from their respective owners. It’s like Hogwarts: Legacy, but Dragon Ball! Although, you may already know that Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 has been out for nine years already. What if I said this game is one of the best video game experiences of the Dragon Ball Franchise? Yes, and if anything, with how the game functions, the game’s age has only made it better.
 

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, Review, Xbox Series X, Gameplay, Screenshots
 

With the next-gen update, along with the years of updates this game has gotten, there is just so much to do now. You can play Dragon Ball MOBA with the cross versus mode and do several new parallel quests which are in alternate timelines; the FUTURE SAGA Chapter 1 addition updates the game with the events of Dragon Ball Super up until the Goku Black Arc and, for some reason, Goku and Vegeta fight it out in space after they both achieve the Super Saiyan God form? And, of course, the visuals and performance are more refined, making it the best it has ever looked. I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me take a few steps back and tell you what Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is all about.

Story-wise, just like all Dragon Ball Z games is reliving the Dragon Ball Z timeline, but rather than just playing as Goku and facing off against Frieza, it is a little different. You aren't playing as characters from the show, but you'll make your character known as a Time Patroller, and their job is to keep the timeline intact and stop anyone messing with the timeline. As a Time Patroller, you go back into the Dragon Ball Z timeline and change history.

There are changes like Goku not holding down Raditz, Captain Ginyu swapping bodies with Vegeta or Trunks instead of Goku, or changing things like Nappa not being killed by Vegeta, with Goku, Krillin, and Gohan having to face off against two Great Apes. Yeah, it is as ridiculous as it sounds. So, from here, you'll need to go back through the Dragon Ball Z, timeline fix whatever has changed, and stop the person who's making these changes.

Your journey begins at the very start of the timeline by helping Goku and Piccolo take on Raditz, and you'll go through the Frieza, the Cell, and the Buu Saga, making your way into Dragon Ball Super.
 

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, Review, Xbox Series X, Gameplay, Screenshots
 

But before that, you'll create your character, there are five different races to choose from, each with their different stats but, most importantly, their special transformations. For example, if you pick the Frieza Race at the endgame era of the game, you'll unlock the ability to transform into your Golden Form. If you pick the Saiyan Race, you'll have multiple levels of the Super Saiyan transformation, or if you pick Namekian, you'll transform into a Super Namekian, where you'll go giant. From here, you'll do main story missions, level up your character, equip new clothes, upgrade your stats, and learn new moves from characters in the Dragon Ball universe, which I'll get into a little bit later.

Now, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is a fighting-style game, but it's not like Tekken, Mortal Kombat, or the old-school Budokai games. It's a bit like Destiny, where there is a hub world where you'll see other players running around customizing their character and doing, well, emotes. In the hub world, just like any other hub world, you can buy new clothes, accessories, and attacks, do some training, and learn attacks from other characters in the Dragon Ball universe.

For example, if you want to use Tri-Beam, one of the coolest attacks in Dragon Ball, you'll need to learn it from Tien, or if you want to learn the best beam attack, Galick Gun (yes that’s right), then you'll need to learn that from Vegeta. This works out very well because there are some characters that have some cool moves through the Dragon Ball history, and you can learn that from those characters, or you could potentially purchase them through the various stores that are doing side missions.

There are side missions and they're relatively short-ish, but they're also super fun and rewarding, and in some instances, it's the only way to get certain abilities or certain outfits. For example, if you want to use the Kaioken, which is the transformation ability that anyone can use, then you need to complete a side mission. Side missions also come in handy when you're stuck in the main story mode.
 

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, Review, Xbox Series X, Gameplay, Screenshots
 

I remember when I first played this game on launch, I couldn't get past Frieza or Cooler. I got stuck eventually, I tried side missions to cool my head for a little bit, and I found that I unlocked new abilities and outfits and such, but it also leveled me up and buffed my stats to the point where Frieza and Cooler weren't a match for me.

Gameplay-wise, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 has a bit of a small open-world-esque style where you've got the main target that you need to take out, protect, or hold up until help arrives. Now, depending on your playstyle what energy moves you have, and your transformations and defensive abilities will determine how the game plays. You can have attacks and special attacks that prefer up close and personal styles, or you can just sit back and blast away from a distance. Now, each race as well has its preference and modifiers, each with its playstyles too. For example, Saiyans deal more damage when they're at low health, but Magins have a higher defense but slow stamina.

Speaking of which, there are some things to manage combat-wise in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 as well. You have your health, which is like the old Budokai games, where there are multiple layers of health under each bar. Energy is used to fire small attacks, but also a single bar of energy can do standard attacks, like the Galick Gun, the Kamehameha, and the Misenko. There are also super attacks that you can do, which are like an end-game level attack where you can chop off a chunk of health if you manage to make it hit, depending on the attack, of course.

There are things like the Time 4 Kaioken Kamehameha, the super Galick Gun, the Big Bang attack, or the fantastic but near impossible-to-land Special Beam Cannon, which is an unblockable attack if it connects. Then there's stamina, which is used for your character to block attacks, dash around the map at high speed, or to Z-vanish and appear behind other enemies.
 

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, Review, Xbox Series X, Gameplay, Screenshots
 

You'll also have evasive abilities that you can use, too, that is a bit like a get-out-of-jail-free card, basically causing a mini-explosion around you to stop any enemies who are currently spamming you with close-range attacks or to break out of a combo. You'll also have equipment that can be used in combat, too, like the Scouter, which can show you what level an enemy is, giving you an idea of how strong they are, but also you can point out any combat items that you can pick up and use for future battles.

Combat items in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 are like Senzu Beans or a form of healing or reviving item. When you do a special mission, you can bring along allies to help you in battle and even bring along your mentors who are training you in their attacks, like, say, Piccolo and Tien, who are training me their attacks. If your AI body is knocked out, you can go and revive them, which, thankfully, they can do the same for you. For example, if you're going up against Broly, and, for example, he targets you straightaway and knocks you out, your ally can pick you up, while Broly targets the other ally.

That's the gameplay loop of Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 in a nutshell. You can do also the side missions with friends if you want to have a bit of co-op. And there is also a dungeon-esque style mission, which are multiplayer rifts, where you and a group of other players will try and take on a super buffed boss.

But why do I claim Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is one of the best Dragon Ball Z games ever made? Well, for starters, the combat is remarkably fun. It can get a little button-mashy with close-range attacks, but it's one of those fighting games that have you physically sitting on the edge of your seat as each brawl occurs. After you've hit an enemy so hard they go flying off into the distance, you want to chase them down and hit them even more. When you see an enemy doing a super attack, you immediately want to start darting around the map to try and avoid their attack.
 

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, Review, Xbox Series X, Gameplay, Screenshots
 

Yet, you can also interrupt and immediately drain their stamina from enemies with a strong attack, and it's one of those moves that is pulled out of the TV shows, where you've hit them in their stomach, and they're just gasping for air. Make your character in the Dragon Ball universe that has custom clothes or your favorite outfits. If you've got your favorite attacks and you want to have your character to use those attacks, no problem at all. As a Dragon Ball fan, this is the dream.

There are some things that I wish were addressed in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, though. For example, there is no beam lock and a beam struggle. We have had it in some other previous Dragon Ball games. We also always have the events of Dragon Ball Z starting the game with Raditz, Goku, and Piccolo, but for future games, why not do the whole timeline? More customization might be cool as well. There's already a decent amount of customization here, but when playing as a Saiyan for the game, your hair will only change gold, it won't alter and lift when you transform, and your hair will only change when you hit Super Saiyan 3.

The ability to choose your hair for Saiyans, but also to see what it looks like in the different Super Saiyan forms, could be interesting to see. We could also get some more races as well, like we could have androids, who have unlimited stamina, and unlimited energy, but they can't heal during battle because they're androids. Playing as an android or as an evolving form of android-like Cell who, as you level up your character, evolves, and you have to pick and choose permanent parts of their evolution from there.

One small gripe is that in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, when creating extra characters, you are forced to go through the tutorial each time, and in the hub world, you can't fly around until you've defeated Frieza. So, before that you're forced to walk around and go slow, which is rather boring. It would be a nice addition to let players skip the tutorial or a portion of the beginning if they already have completed a certain portion of the game on another character because making alternate characters and a lot of fun in this game. That is only a minor issue considering everything else that is good about Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2.
 

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, Review, Xbox Series X, Gameplay, Screenshots
 

Overall, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is a masterful and engaging addition to the Dragon Ball franchise. There is nothing quite like Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, and it surpasses expectations for any fan of Dragon Ball. Creating and training your own character, reliving iconic moments with a twist in the same vein as Marvel’s “What if…?”, and exploring the ever-expanding content keeps the game fresh and exciting while capturing the true essence of the Dragon Ball universe. I can't recommend Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 highly enough to any Dragon Ball fan or anyone looking for a fantastic time; it's an exceptional game that lets me play as my childhood imagination.
 

Ahnaf Tajwar
Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PC, PS5, XBSX, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Publisher(s): Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.
Developer(s): Dimps Corporation, QLOC
Genres: Fighting
Themes: Versus Fighting
Release Date: 2024-05-24

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