Date Released: February 28th, 2015
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Platform: [Reviewed: Xbox One], PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
Rated: T for Teen
Dragon Ball Z is at the forefront of everyone’s mind when you think of a classic anime series. A Journey to the West inspired story, Dragon Ball Z stars a Saiyan named Goku, his fight to protect Earth from powerful adversaries, and his goal to become the strongest fighter. Most, if not everyone, is familiar with Dragon Ball Z’s epic planet shattering fights and memorable villains; plenty of games before captured the lighting fast ferocity and hard hitting punches, like Budokai or Budokai Tenkaichi, and allowed players to fight as one of their favorite characters. Xenoverse brings all of the high-flying action, dozens of playable characters from the show and movies, and a fun, if not silly, story that lets players fight alongside their heroes in battle.
Set some time after the main storyline, we see that Time Patrol Trunks (a returning character from the Japanese and Korean title, Dragon Ball Online) is witnessing disturbances in time; iconic encounters and fights are turning out for the worst and Trunks needs help to ensure that time properly runs its course. Using the power of the seven Dragon Balls, Trunks summons Shenron and wishes for a powerful warrior to help. Once summoned, Trunks and the player will use the Book of Endings and Beginnings to go back in time and stop these rifts in Dragon Ball Z history and find out the cause of them.
Once Trunks makes his wish, players can create and customize their very own warrior to play as, starting with choosing between 5 races: Saiyan, Earthling, Namekian, Majin, or Frieza Race. Once you’re done and complete some tutorials, you begin your first missions in the Saiyan Saga, starting with Goku and Piccolo’s battle with Raditz. Upon beating these main missions, you will unlock characters to use later on in the game or to play as. The controls are simple to get the hang of, but with only one tutorial under my belt it was a bit challenging at the beginning, but once I mastered the basics, my own battles were as bombastic and explosive as those in the show.
You have weak and strong attacks, a button for ki blasts, A or X can be used to teleport behind enemies when taking or block damage, left trigger to start flying at top speed, and you can access super attacks by holding down the right trigger or ultimate attacks by holding down both triggers plus whatever button your mapped attack is.The fighting mechanics aren’t that complicated nor do you need to remember a series of button combos. You can, however, customize the super and ultimate attack that you can use and what combinations work best for your play style. For example, my character is fairly balanced and uses both strike supers, which are a flurry of punches and kicks, and ki blast supers like the Galick Gun or the Kamehameha, quite adeptly.
Finding the right combinations of powers and blasts can greatly affect how you fight and how you can string your abilities together effectively. Of course, you’ll need the necessary ki to pull off supers and ultimates, and stamina to fly and teleport. Taking a short break from fighting can recover stamina and using basic attacks can build up ki; if you possess the ability, you can also power up to recover either.
Outside of missions players can explore Toki Toki City, the central hub and hangout for the Time Patrollers. From here you can access the game’s different modes and purchase items that will help you in upcoming battles. This is where you can also interact and team up with fellow players if you join in an online lobby. Players can check out the numerous custom created characters, help each other with missions, offer gifts, or go for a friendly bout. Mingling within Toki Toki City is fun and I’ve had no problems getting connected, but actually joining a one-on-one match or mission is another story. Connectivity issues hinder what should be a great competitive or co-op experience, and the fact that there is only one stage for fighting friends and online players is a questionable choice.
What will really get players engaged is the fact that their own custom character can become even stronger by leveling and be outfitted with different accessories and outfits that grant different stat boosts. These RPG elements, coupled with a large selection of attacks to learn and use, is any fan’s dream: To have your very own Z Warrior stylized in Akira Toriyama’s world, running around fighting the baddest of the bad, blasting away with your favorite attacks and saving legends like Goku or Vegeta. The story may be a bit gimmicky and silly at times, and the combat may be a bit too simplistic, but that doesn’t stop me from becoming a giggling nerd everytime my Saiyan warrior shoots a Kamehameha and goes Super Saiyan. Going through missions and reliving the show’s legendary battles is terrific fun, but the online problems and the repetitive combat hold back Dragon Ball Xenoverse from being truly super.
Overall Rating: 3.75/5