Dragon Ball Xenoverse is the brainchild of developer Dimps, and is the studio’s first attempt at a Dragon Ball game since the PlayStation 2-era. Here, the developer has taken an old franchise and attempted to add their own elements and story to augment what is starting to be a slightly tired series.
The storyline revolves around Trunks utilizing the Dragon Balls to summon your chosen character, which is created by the player using a creation tool. You have access to multiple races, though it must be said the Saiyan are the most overpowered of the lot; later on in the game, they have the ability to spam their super and ultra attacks. I decided to pick the Majin race, as they have both a stamina and health boost. Currently only Saiyans have a true transformation, namely Super Saiyan 1 and 2, though other races can use Kaioken, with different versions all the way upto x20 available in the game. Still, this could be improved as it would be more impressive to transform as frieza’s race or perhaps turn skinny as a Majin character. The game supports 3v3 battles with some boss battles, though the giant characters such as the Oozaru, the monkey form of a Saiyan, cannot be played.
After you have created your chosen combatant, you then appear in front of Trunks, who then summons you to be part of the Time Patrol; a group of individuals picked by the Supreme Kai of Time to defend history from being changed. The main villains are Towa and Mira: Towa is the daughter of the demon king, Dabura, who is from the original TV series, and appears in the Majin Buu Saga. Their plan is to unseal the Demon Dimension by stealing the energy from other strong fighters through history.
Later on a new villain also appears called Demigra, the supreme kai of time’s rival, in which over 75 million years ago he tried to become the ruler of time, though the kai sealed him away in his own dimension. Over time however, he gained sufficient power to slowly seep through the cracks of time into the DBZ realm. I actually found Demigra to be less of a challenge in fights then Towa as by the time Demigra had appeared in the storyline I had already acquired many powerful abilities for my character.
Frustratingly, the game has many flaws with the controls feeling almost unresponsive at times, resulting in hitting thin air because the enemy has teleported behind you. Still, the teleport mechanic itself is a nice take from the Naruto Substitution system; you can dodge attacks but it costs you stamina so you can not spam it too much. Currently, at times it feels like the AI has access to infinite stamina judging by the way they behave in battle. They can also stop your ultimate attacks with simple KI attacks later on in the game—while this requires a lot on your part to dodge their attack—yet sometimes you will still get hit by the attack even if you’re behind the frontal attack of the enemy.
As you play through the storyline you unlock parallel quests, which are essentially ‘what if’ scenarios that are separate from the main quest line. They also have bonus events that can happen if certain requirements are met, though even this can be random. The items at the end of the quest are also random, meaning unless you’re very lucky you will have to repeat the same quest multiple times to get the equipment or skills that you are looking for. You can do these quests with two friends, though you get kicked out the lobby after each mission. There is also a multiple room lobby but even at the time of writing, I still have trouble logging in and staying in to the multiplayer part of the game. You can either use custom characters or pre-made characters from the DBZ universe to do the quest, and can participate in standard versus fights with custom characters also being available in these fights; players can either pick 1v1 offline or up to 3v3 online. Pleasingly, online battles don’t seem to have much lag and they can be a lot of fun to play.
Custom characters are not the only thing playable in Xenoverse however, with a decent selection of characters from the DBZ universe (including a few GT characters that can be unlocked) also available to select. Though the choice is welcome, it is missing a lot of fan favourites that were in previous games, including movie-based and transformation versions of the cast. There also seems to be a lot of filler characters including multiple Freiza soldier-types and different coloured Saibaman, who I really doubt will get much use online or offline.
The game does feel very rough with the iffy controls, the noticeable difficulty spike near the end, the auto guard fights in storyline, and other issues, but it still remains pretty addictive regardless of these shortcomings. Let’s hope that DIMPs listens to any feedback and has a crack at a Xenoverse 2, as there’s definitely potential to be found here.