Dragonball, as a franchise, deserves some respect for lasting this long. Starting in 1986 with a game release on the Japanese Super Cassette Vision console, all the way to 2016 with the most recent release Dragonball Xenoverse 2. That’s 30 full years of dragonball video game releases. They would all come to some fame for being bad or good, with some real gems here and there, but they’ve been in some way about fighting. And XV2 is no exception.
For those not in the know, DBXV2 (Shortened title for sanity’s sake) is a game about flying, fighting, punching, kicking, and shooting energy beams, blasts, balls, and big bangs out of hands, fingers, or foreheads. That sounds like a lot of fun, and in practice it really can be! However, that formula makes up the majority of the game itself, with little else to keep us interested besides the story and online options. Like the first game, one can create a character from quite a few options like race, gender, and colors, along with just about every character detail from the manga and tv show that can be rearranged to create your unique Dragonball persona.
Initially, the character creator is extremely weak. There are 5 races, and that’s the best part, one can choose from the Nameks, Earthlings, Saiyans, Frieza race, and Buu race. But once that choice is made, we’re left with identical body types that can be enlarged or shrunken to a small degree, a couple dozen hair options, a few voice options and a couple other minor details. When I started this game, I was pretty disappointed that I had to start the game looking like a generic Saiyan warrior with the traditional armor and jumpsuit look. This feature does get expanded on quite a bit as the game progresses. As the story is completed, the clothing shop will add more clothes options amd accessories and some of the side missions will also grant new clothing options as a reward. It’s just a shame that we have to work for it right out the gate.
The story itself is a slow trog through Japanese anime comedy tropes mixed in with poor language localization. Halfway through my adventure, I decided to stop reading the dialogue entirely, especially when the game’s dialogue would talk about a certain female hero using male pronouns. I’ve also seen typos, and grammar errors like forgetting to use R instead of L in some words to make a better translation from Japanes to English. All that aside, the game’s story gives us a rehash of the events in Dragonball Z all the way to the end, and beyond into the Super storyline that I’m not familiar with. And every character makes an appearance.
But the gameplay is really where it’s at when talking about ana ctual video game, and honestly, I was disappointed with the offerings here, until I decided to actually play through all the combat tutorials. There’s a lot here. There’s instant teleportations, there’s invincible dashes, guards, throws, guard breaks, parries, and two resources (KI and Stamina) to control it all. Once I started to see the grand picture I feel like this might be the best Dragonball fighting game I’ve ever played. The control of the battlefield goes to the player with the most combat awareness, and use of skills. The only thing that hampers this is the camera. Most of the time it keeps up really well, but a few times in cramped quarters, like fighting inside Frieza’s ship, or just being smashed against a building, the camera will get stuck on the architecture and it becomes hard to tell what’s going on. Still, I had a good time with the game itself, and I think the gameplay really shines through if one puts in some effort.
Additionally, the game does have some forward thinking ideas. All moves learned from trainers or gained some other way stay on the player’s account. So if I started a new character, I could equip them as I want to without having to slog through the same exact path as my original character. This is also true for clothing and equipment, and I believe everything else I gathered. With this in mind, gathering money is not a chore, and the player progresses through the game all the time without having to retread past territory.
Finally, the end game after the story is finished is of course, continuing to train your character(s) until you’re satisfied. One can push through the side quests for more exp and unlocks, or if they’re satisfied, one can just play online by either helping out friends through side quests, or fighting with or against them in online battles. The online battles are actually pretty attractive. I could just go online and fight random players in battles that are evenly balanced in health, ki, and stamina with only my skills and haming experience to set me apart from my opponent, or I can fight them as my character is trained at the height of their power. There are leaderboards and events with up to 6 player online battles to take part in. These battles consist of fighting powerful enemies, including great ape variants of Nappa or Vegeta, or simply fighting a really strong enemy. Also there are new mechanics to break up the party and give people something to do, even if they aren’t the strongest warrior alive. So it’s worth taking part in at any level.
In closing, should you buy this game? Honestly, I would say no. Unless you have at least a passing interest in Dragonball and it’s themes there’s not much here for the casual gamer. But if you’re a fan, I wholeheartedly recommend this title as it is a love letter to everything that DBZ ever was. Initially, I didn’t care for this game, but it’s grown on me, and I’m glad I bought it.
8.0 out of 10.