Dragon Ball Xenoverse Review

Last year, on the occasion of the review of Battle of Z, we began by spending a few words on how the Dragon Ball videogame tie-ins had demonstrated the ability to vary the formula and let themselves be contaminated by other genres every certain number of years, originating real series within the franchise. In recent years (let's say from the release of Ultimate Tenkaichi to this part) this feature has been brought to the maximum terms, with the result of missing a certain continuity between one chapter and another. This year the ball returns to the hands of Dimps, a team that is historically linked to some of the highest videogame moments in Akira Toriyama's manga. Could they have managed to put some order into the chaos? The answer is more complex than it seems, but let's go in order.

Version tested: PS3

Robe of (Pi) Kappa
Rather than retelling the same story, Xenoverse focuses on What-If, one of Dimps' strong points

From the point of view of the plot, as is known, Xenoverse does not follow the classic approach of the Dragon Ball titles and rather than feeding the player for the umpteenth time events that he now knows by heart, he tries the path of "What-if", strong also of Dimps's pedigree which in this sense has always given excellent ideas (just think of the Dragon Universe mode of Budokai 3 or the work done on Dragon Ball Heroes in Japan). The story begins with the Trunks of the timeline of the Androids saga who, enlisted in the Time Patrol, will ask for help from the dragon balls to summon a warrior strong enough to help him: the character created by the player with the game editor (on which we will return in a moment). The events will then revolve around the events of the manga as we know them that are from time to time distorted by Towa and Mira, the two villains of the chapter, with the Time Patrol in charge of putting things right. Everything works and is much more interesting than having to face the classic Freeza and Cell again and again as Goku and his companions., even if it “limits itself” to letting people taste the consequences of these potential changes rather than realizing real alternative timelines.

The Hero of Time
The editor does his duty, but the fact that he cannot customize the color of many of the available clothes is a step backwards compared to Battle of Z

As we mentioned earlier, the game editor allows you to create your own character with which to face the missions related to the story and, if desired, the Parallel Missions that perform the function of secondary quests. It is possible to choose between five breeds each with its own characteristics, further branched then in the choice of sex (available on three out of five breeds). Humans represent the balanced class, and benefit from an attack bonus when their aura is at its maximum, while the Majin prefer defense and the Saiyans (obviously) are more inclined to attack but have less health, and can exploit. the characteristic Zenkai Power which increases their strength when their health is low or they are revived. The two races without the genus, the Namekians (poor attack, but more efficient use of objects and greater vigor, as well as being able to regenerate health in critical conditions) and the Freeza race, equipped with a higher speed, close the list of possibilities. (which increases as health drops) and capable of paralyzing opponents with normal Ki Blasts, paying the price with reduced attack power. Once the race has been chosen, it is possible to "play" with some parameters such as the height and build of the character, as well as changing the color of the skin, eyes, physiognomy and hair. Except for some limitations (for example by selecting a male Majin it is only possible to give him a "Fat Buu" body, compared to the different forms of the original villain) the editor behaves in a more than adequate way: the main problem related to personalization is however from the clothing point of view, except for a couple of costumes it is not possible to customize the colors of battle suits, suits and uniforms taken from the manga marking a decisive step back, from this point of view, compared to Battle of Z. Dimps is forgiven, however, by inserting a damn high number of clothing possibilities, "covering" all the main outfits that appeared in the manga (including the Yardrat clothes worn from Goku on his return to Earth after the Freeza saga). To conclude, the character is also customizable from the point of view of statistics, thanks to an RPG-style progression system that at each level up gives three points to spend to enhance the features, a bit along the lines of what happened in the Arena. of the Budokai Dragon 3.

Fighting or MMO?
Some unjustified absences on the roster, but the battle system has convinced us and does everything possible to avoid the wild spam of energy waves

Since when Dragon Ball Xenoverse the playful "double soul" of the title has always been highlighted: the basis is that of a three-dimensional fighting game in the Budokai Tenkaichi style, on which, however, some components linked to the online are grafted to give continuity with the experiment carried out ahead last year with Battle of Z. The aspects related to the battle system are certainly the most convincing ones of the product: each character can equip four Super Attacks (which include in addition to the various Kamehameha and Big Bang also the various levels of Kaioken and the poses of combat of the Ginyu team), two Supreme Attacks (the classic "finishers" such as the Final Flash and the various forms of Super Saiyan present) and an evasive ability, which ranges from the telekinetic abilities of Freeza to the classic explosions and defensive barriers. The two main parameters in addition to health are the aura, which allows you to perform most of these techniques, and the vigor, which allows you to keep the Kaioken active and to take advantage of the teleports when you are overwhelmed by the opponent's combos. The presence of these indicators solves one of the typical problems of the three-dimensional chapters of Dragon Ball, that is, the wild use and outside the basic rules of the manga of remote techniques, with the result of making everything more in line with what are the fights in the regular series (to charge the aura, unless you equip a technique that allows you to charge it while standing still, it is necessary to attack the opponent, thus limiting the "spam" of energy techniques and encouraging more physical clashes). The combo tree then, while not reaching the depth reached at the time of the aforementioned Tenkaichi series, is sufficiently deep and therefore succeeds in its entertainment purpose, as well as giving some gems for true fans taken from the manga (the warriors of the Freeza class for example, trying to hit an enemy from behind, they re-propose the punch on the face that the Emperor of the Galaxy used against Nail on Namek). The only drawback from this point of view is some unwarranted absence too many in the roster made available, with defections such as Dr. Gero or Android 16 and the intermediate forms of Cell and Freeza.

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The MMO part is less successful: the base is there, but some basic ingenuity spoils the party for the player

Instead, where you could have done better is on everything related to the MMO aspects of the title: to access all the game functions you need to use the hub offered by Toki Toki City, which more or less covers the role that was played in Destiny. from the Citadel. The problem, however, is that everything appears unnecessarily dispersive, forcing the player to move frequently based on the activity he wants to carry out (Toki Toki City is divided into three macro areas, one for the shops, one for the parallel missions and the last to access the history and the World Tournament). The general feeling of frustration is increased by the absence of a retry option at the end of the parallel missions (present instead in the missions related to the story), which forces the player to redo the road each time to the counter of the parallel missions to be able to face them again. Absolutely unjustified absence, considering that in the game from the pause menu it is possible to restart the mission without problems. Finally, the map is not of particular help, since it merely indicates the main activities with an icon (without any legend) but neglects all the secondary ones, such as some extra missions and the position of the Masters of which it is possible to become students to learn about them. the techniques. In short, the feeling is that everything would have worked in a much more streamlined way if instead of a hub of this type we had relied on menus, and right now the only thing that justifies the presence of Toki Toki City is the possibility to perform some poses taken from the work of Toriyama such as those of the Ginyu team or the dance of Metamor (the Fusion). You certainly find them nice, but after some interaction they tend to be buried by the listed defects. To close, in our opinion, the system relating to the drop of objects and equipment should be partially revised with regard to parallel missions: the idea of ​​inserting some hidden conditions that "unlock" the "real ending" of the mission is intriguing and increases the playful value of the missions, but the choice not to make this completely depend on the player's actions and to rely in part on chance (even by satisfying the hidden conditions it is not said that the event can be triggered) spoils the taste of the thing a bit. And also some probabilities related to the drop of the rewards perhaps have been weighed a bit 'badly, since in most cases after completing a certain number of story missions these then appear in the in-game shop (as in the case of Kaioken and Super Saiyan ).

Technique of the Crane vs. Turtle School
Some frame-rate drops on old-gen consoles, but otherwise nothing to report

From the visual point of view Dragon Ball Xenoverse has definitely convinced us, confirming the good impressions already expressed in the preview phase: the glance is, as indeed typical of the videogame tie-in of the saga, really successful and suitable and also the cutscenes (some presented with the game engine, other proposals following the style of the anime) really do their duty. The only concerns concern the drops in frame rates that afflict the versions for the machines of the last generation, sometimes really too present where instead on PS4, One and PC the situation is decidedly more rosy (perhaps it would have paid more to imitate what Techland did with Dying Light and give up the console versions of the old guard). Net of these problems related to the version, however, the biggest regret is that, already highlighted during the preview, related to the destructiveness of the environment: this has increased, but the damage is mostly not persistent (with the exception of houses and rocks) and after a few seconds they are "reset". Finally, as usual, there is dubbing in two languages ​​(English and Japanese), which in addition to the original voice actors in the two languages, as regards the English-speaking version, can count on the "guest star" Takahata101 of Team Four Star, who it actually allows players to create a character with the voice of Ghost Nappa (directly from Dragon Ball Z Abridged).

Verdict 7.5 / 10 Space Australia Comment Dragon Ball Xenoverse is a bit like Goku: naive (as far as the MMO aspects are concerned), but when it comes to beating your hands absolutely not to be underestimated. Do not deceive the vote given to the title, the same as last year: Xenoverse is a must-have for fans of the series, which is held back by some "sins of youth" to which Dimps surely, if Bandai Namco decides to entrust him with the next title and to keep this formula, will remedy with the next chapter. Right now, however, the experiment is successful and it is a great place to start working to give the series that continuity between the chapters lost after the two Raging Blasts. Pros and cons A must for fans of the series
Balanced and solid battle system
Technically convincing ... x ... Aside from the frame-rate dips on Old Gen
x Some naivety in the MMO component
x Some absences from the roster

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