Dragon Ball: Xenoverse 2 Review

  • First Released Oct 25, 2016
  • PS4

Your wish is granted.

I have to hand it to Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 for tapping into the latent dreams of people who spent their teenage years drawing Goku on their notebooks. A lot of games offer the ability to create an original character and take part in an established fictional universe, but most of them don’t allow you to feel like what you’re doing impacts the already pre-determined narrative world in any way.

Xenoverse 2, meanwhile, allows you to participate directly in some of the series’ most crucial battles, “fixing” anomalies in time to set the stories of the Z Fighters on the correct path. It’s like somebody at Bandai Namco realized how fulfilling it would be to be able to play out that one fanfiction you wrote when you were 13 involving your favorite character's long-lost twin brother.

OK, maybe Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 doesn’t go quite that far, but it’s still a pretty fantastic concept: You get to make a custom Dragon Ball character in one of five of the series’ main races (Human, Saiyan, Namekian, Frieza’s race, and Majin) and join the Time Patrol, a collection of colorful heroes who gather in Conton City and are dedicated to the preservation of the Dragon Ball Z timeline. Under the guidance of the Supreme Kai of Time, your characters will travel across the sprawling timeline of the anime and manga series, looking for things that a set of time-traveling villains have meddled with and setting them right. Generally, this involves a lot of the energy-amassing, ki-blasting, and high-flying fights for which the series is known--though not always.

The adventure encompasses a single-player story campaign that takes you through most of the DBZ saga (with a few extra twists, thanks to a crew of shady villains and resurrected classic foes), a whole mess of optional Parallel Quests that can be taken on either single-player or online, or a different set of single-player side quests. The latter has you doing things like fighting for a faction in Frieza’s army or training to be the next Great Saiyaman,and training sessions with DBZ heroes and villains that can teach you new skills. To round things out, you can play multiplayer fights versus the CPU, local friends, or online opponents. Suffice to say, Xenoverse 2 is jam-packed with both on and offline content.

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Of course, it doesn’t really matter how much content there is if the game isn’t fun to play. Fortunately, Xenoverse 2 has a solid--if not particularly deep--fighting engine that provides a good foundation for the rest of the game to build upon. The controls feel solid and responsive, and the default button layout allows easy access to all your normal and special attacks, as well as crucial guarding and dodging maneuvers when necessary. You can customize your warrior with special gear, helpful consumable items, and a set of combat skills you purchase, acquire in quests, or learn through personal training. By equipping a custom loadout and using the special abilities innate to each individual race, you’ll develop a fighter that both looks and fights the way you like in a way that feels fun and rewarding.

By equipping a custom loadout and using the special abilities innate to each individual race, you’ll develop a fighter that both looks and fights the way you like in a way that feels fun and rewarding.

One of the game’s big selling points is the size and feel of its hub city, Conton. Here, you can go shopping for gear at a bevy of stores, interact with online players and NPCs, and see a bunch of favorite Dragon Ball faces. You can get around town on foot, with Capsule Corporation machines, or--eventually--via flight. However, a lot of times, the hub’s massive size feels like a detriment. It’s a chore to go from place to place when they all seem so far away from each other; at least there's a fast travel option.

Conton City is just a small part of the copious fanservice this game delivers to fans of the franchise, however. Xenoverse 2’s visuals are stunning, particularly in the in-engine cutscenes during story sequences. Characters are rendered to an uncanny resemblance, and the attention to detail seen in the various locales is equally impressive. The action runs at a smooth 60 frames per second, making the fights feel fast and dynamic.

Beyond the visuals, however, the games includes a lot of fun little jokes and exchanges between various characters that fans will appreciate. Bringing certain characters to specific Parallel Quest battles can result in some funny dialogue that reference events in the anime or amusing “what if” scenarios. It helps add to the feeling of being an active part of a big, fictional universe that the game captures well--even if, for some bizarre reason, the English voiceover varies from the subtitles shown on-screen, which happens peculiarly often.

Eventually, though, the game’s overall grind will start to wear on you. The lack of depth in combat can make things feel repetitive, and while changing up your loadout can help freshen things up a bit, it doesn’t change up the base gameplay significantly. The game will sometimes try to shake things up by giving you missions with different objectives beyond just beating up your opponents, such as finding the Dragon Balls in a level and keeping them away from pursuing enemies.

Lag can be a bit of an issue if you want to battle with or against online fighters, though it’s seen some improvement with a recent patch.

These stages are usually a miserable experience, though, since the game’s engine doesn’t seem built for much beyond combat and very basic exploration. (The camera isn’t exactly your friend when you need to find small objects in big, open combat arenas, either.) It’s more fun to play quests online with a group of other warriors, though not all quests can be tackled this way--story mode is strictly single-player only. Lag can be a bit of an issue if you want to battle with or against online fighters, though it’s seen some improvement with a recent patch.

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is among the best games to emerge from this beloved franchise. It looks stunning, has a solid gameplay base, and gives people who love the series a way to feel like they’re a part of this big, beautiful universe. Though it has its share of problems, I was really surprised at how much fun I had with it. I might not be the die-hard Dragon Ball fan that many others are, but I can tell through the exquisite attention to detail and the wealth of content that the folks behind Xenoverse cherished the series every bit as much as the fans they’re selling it to.

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The Good
The best representation of the Dragon Ball universe
Smooth combat
Loaded with single- and multiplayer content
Lots of fun Dragon Ball fan service
The Bad
Repetitive combat
Missions with a non-combat focus are generally poor
Some of the onscreen text varies jarringly from the voiceovers
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Heidi’s reviewed a lot of Dragon Ball games over her freelance career--though, admittedly, she didn’t play the first Xenoverse. However, she put about 15 hours into Xenoverse 2, completing the single-player story and playing numerous online and offline quests. GameSpot was provided with a complimentary copy for review.
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Avatar image for DeadrisingX1

PC players beware: Keep that draw distance off, it produces one horrid looking effect on everything.

Avatar image for dbigboo

Hands down, the most FRUSTRATING game I've ever played!! No lie, every single day I play this game, it crashes in the middle of an expert mission. If you reload the mission, it's likely to crash again! When searching for the expert missions, the list you see is NOT an accurate representation of the actual mission that it is. The only time you can see the real missions is when you're playing with your first created character. NONE of the others. And again, even if you play a mission, it'll likely crash. I've had more crashed missions than successful ones. SMH. The high level regular missions, at a certain level, are no longer that difficult. I would not recommend purchase of this game and wish I could get my money back!

Avatar image for darthrevenx

Since i never played the first Xenoverse and like games where you can make your own character I might grab this at some point.....price drop definitely, not a big DBZ fan but custom character could offset that....

Avatar image for WillyWynn

This game is xenoverse 1 with some tweaks here and there. You are basically paying 50, 60, or even almost 90 euros/dollars for a patch/DLC, call it whatever you want. If you have Xenoverse 1 than you should not buy Xenoverse 2, the games are nearly identical. Most of the content are copy and paste from the first game. Wait for a price droop or for a sale. The game is fun and cool for dragon ball fans, but is not worth it for who have the original game.

Avatar image for biggamerdude

Budokai Tenkaichi 3 is overrated.

There I said it.

BT3 had a lot of characters, and modes, but lacked in story and gameplay.

Avatar image for Jd234

@biggamerdude: Man no one really know's Budokai 3 was the best The Tenkaichi series was alright. I was one of the people to really into the the Tenkaichi style when first came out but Budokai 3 was by far the most fun balanced best fighter.

Avatar image for sakaixx

Is xenoverse 2 arc up to date with dragon ball super?

Avatar image for Andy639_basic

@sakaixx: You can unlock Hit, and Goku Black was a preorde bonus character, but the main story only goes as far as Resurrection F.

Avatar image for sakaixx

@Andy639_basic: oh okay better skips this one then. Can't wait for xenoverse 3!

Avatar image for dariomeznari

People claiming BT 1-3 had a better combat system obviously never played them or are too dense to realize they had no depth. The only game from the DB universe that had any resemblance to a good fighting system was budokai 3 (without the tenkaichi).

That said Xenoverse still has a better fighting system than BT but the visual aspect is lacking. The special attacks and ultimate attacks just feel lackluster. With today's tech one would assume it would be easy to pump up impressive visual feedback from these attacks...

Avatar image for Jd234

@dariomeznari: Budokai 3 was the best Og budokai period **** Tenkaichi. Also great back in the day Db Gt final Bout ps one baby that shit was amazing when I was a kid and it came out I still remember the cheat code's to unlock all the characters XD. That said Dbz has sucked now for fighting due to them never having a good fight system it suck's wish they would get back to making a game with good fighting mechanics.

Avatar image for csward

Wow Heidi you miss a major "the bad"

-If you played Xenoverse 1 than you should probably not buy Xenoverse 2 as the games are nearly identical. Many missions are copy pasted from the original game.

Why would Gamespot assign a reviewer to this game that didn't play the original? It's a huge disservice to the readers.

Higher scores means more traffic and dollars from advertisers, that's why. That's my tin foil hat.

Avatar image for Foxhound71

@csward: Thank you for saying that. I played the first and loved it but was holding off on this one for that reason specifically.

Avatar image for swagkilla

@Foxhound71: If you enjoyed the first getting this will be an easy answer its on sale on black friday if you worried about paying full price its up to you if you didn't like the first game pass on it.

Avatar image for wexorian

Why it's hard to copy combat system from budokai tenkaichi 3? this is still not engaging for me :(

Avatar image for naryanrobinson

I guess Hyper Dimension is remaining my favourite DBZ game.

Avatar image for rickjamesia

@naryanrobinson: I think Hyper Dimension might have the stupidest AI ever created. It was pretty though, and it was probably the first dragon ball related game with a story that made any sense at all.

Avatar image for Saladudo

Budokai Tenkaichi 3 remains as the undefeated champion, it seems.

Avatar image for cyborg100000

I find it so frustrating when a games core element is lacking. A fighting game with repetitive combat? It should be the strongest aspect of the game! I wish I was a project manager sometimes, I'd like to think I wouldn't deem the game ready until combat's as fun as it can be. Perhaps the process is more difficult than I imagine and things get in the way. *shrugs*

Avatar image for Acillatem1993

Thanks for bringing up repetitive combat, because that is something most people just don't understand. Compared to the PS2 DBZ games, the Xenoverse games are a joke. The combat has so little variety its ridiculous. The older games offered so many different combos and whatnot, most people probably never even tried them all lol.

Avatar image for darthaznable

@Acillatem1993: In Budokai and Tenkaichi almost everyone had the exact same strings. Lmao

Avatar image for swagkilla

@Acillatem1993: All those games had were bigger rosters the combat was subpar looking back at those ps2 games but we give them a pass for it.

Avatar image for Acillatem1993

@swagkilla: You're wrong there tho, those games had destructable environment and the combolist was HUGE, you could chain up crazy stuff. Here you have like 8 or so different and you can't chain up jack s***.

Avatar image for darthaznable

@Acillatem1993: You honestly need to actually play XV2 begore saying you can't chain up anything. Ignorance is bliss.

Avatar image for Acillatem1993

@darthaznable: Played both games.

Avatar image for Jd234

@Acillatem1993: Fighting in regular budokai 3 ps2 is better than any of the other systems right now it's a joke and Tenkaichi was just okay. If they went back to side traditional fighter with good mechanic's they could make a much better game. This is why dbz will never be back as a competitive fighter too focused on making it pretty not focused on fighting mechanics

Avatar image for darthaznable

@Jd234: DB was never a competitive fighter. People who play real fighting games would laugh at you if you stated that.

Avatar image for Acillatem1993

@Jd234: Well Budokai 3 IS my favorite dbz game, was also my first PS2 game. Ah the memories.

Dragon Ball: Xenoverse 2 More Info

  • First Released Oct 25, 2016
    • Nintendo Switch
    • PC
    • + 2 more
    • PlayStation 4
    • Xbox One
    Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is an upcoming fighting role-playing game.
    Average Rating53 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Dragon Ball: Xenoverse 2
    Developed by:
    Dimps Corporation, Bandai Namco Games, QLOC
    Published by:
    Bandai Namco Games, Namco Bandai Games
    Action, Fighting, 3D
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Cartoon Violence, Mild Blood, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes