(Note: This review covers the PS4 version of Dragonball Xenoverse)
If you’re a Dragonball fan and like video games then chances are that you’ve probably played a Dragonball video game before and know what to expect from the game’s story mode where you play through the Frieza, Cell, and Buu, sagas. However, Dragonball Xenoverse takes a very different approach because unlike the previous games you can choose from 5 different races (Saiyan, Human, Majin, Namekian, Frieza) to create your own character to fight alongside the original characters in the game’s story. In Xenoverse you play as a warrior from the future who is summoned by Trunks to save the galaxy from a new threat who is altering the flow of time, because of this the events that Dragonball fans will be familiar with in the anime series will occur differently in the game’s story. Another big change in this installment is the inclusion of 200+ player lobbies, where you can walk around as your created character in a hub world and meet other players to team up on quests or to battle it out in player vs player battles. Despite all the welcome new additions that Dragonball Xenoverse has to offer they aren’t without it’s fair share of flaws. One problem I have is that I found it to be a hassle to start a party with friends for co-op and team battle due to the game forcing you to use it’s wonky invite system instead of PSN where you can easily just click on which friends you want to invite.
The gameplay of Dragonball Xenoverse may seem deep while you’re learning the tutorial mode. However, once you figure out how the game works you’ll find out real quick that the gameplay is deceptively shallow. Once you learn one character in the game you pretty much know how to use everyone else due to all the characters having the same button combinations for close range fighting. Much of the depth Xenoverse has to offer comes from is the feature to customize your character’s super moves because you’ll find out that some super moves are more useful than others in certain situations. From the supers customization feature I found myself testing many combinations of moves mostly for PVP to see how far I can get in the leaderboards until I eventually found out how hilariously overpowered some moves are (I’m looking at you Phantom Fist, Angry Shout and Pearl Flash!). Because of this major imbalance, many players may feel discouraged from trying to be creative with their move sets due to most of the supers not being viable in a competitive setting. The biggest disappointment I had with the gameplay would hands down have to be how awful the the hit detection and lag is online. There were many times where I found myself swinging at my adversary at point blank range only to for my character to pass right through him or my attack to not register when I’m 100% sure my attack landed.
Another feature that this game has is the ability to customize your created character’s apparel by purchasing and unlocking new clothing items as you progress through the game. Not only are clothing items used for cosmetics, they also give unique stat bonuses to your character as well. However the unique stat bonuses for each clothing item can bring an unwanted meta game for players because, it can discourage players from wearing the clothing items they like the look of due to there being another clothing item that far outclasses it in stat bonuses.
Dragonball Xenoverse has the potential to be a great fighter/rpg but due to the poor gameplay balancing, shallow combat, bad hit detection, and limited character customization it misses its mark. If you’re a Dragonball fan I would recommend renting it and waiting the next Dragonball game.