GAMES - Review
15:00 - 10th May 2015, by NEO Staff

Dragon Ball Xenoverse

Dragon Ball has never really gone away, especially for gamers. There’s been a new fighting entry released roughly annually since 2002, but never has there been one as ambitious as Xenoverse.

Unlike the beloved Budokai series, which set a benchmark for combat in Dragon Ball games, Xenoverse is really more of a chimera of genres. Fighting remains the core, with nippy 3D battles in destructible environments, but it’s all wrapped up in RPG and even MMO patterned cloth. It’s heavy on story too, with malign forces re-writing the timeline so Goku and pals lose their most important battles. As a newly recruited member of the Time Patrol – wished into existence by Future Trunks – you’ll have to correct history’s flow by laying the smackdown on the series’ iconic villains.

This is all revealed in tutorial-heavy opening hours, where Xenoverse reveals its numerous systems. The hubworld of Toki Toki City houses everything, your user-created character chatting to NPCs or pursuing side quests. Character creation itself is fantastically detailed though, with five races to choose from and your chosen warrior fitting perfectly into the world.

Story or quest battles reward you with XP and money, used to level up your character or buy aesthetic customisations. Even your fight moves can be adjusted for taste, helping you improve your ranking when replaying earlier missions. Existing Dragon Ball characters are also unlocked for versus or online play this way.

Unfortunately, it’s all slightly awkward and inaccessible. There’s no jumping in for a quick brawl with friends – you have to go to kiosks in Toki Toki to select the appropriate match, running around to find the right registration stand. This robs the game of the immediacy of other fighting games, with only extremely patient players or devoted Dragon Ball fans likely to persist for the good stuff.

A stilted beginning, excessive hand-holding, and a feeling of content being locked away undercuts an otherwise extraordinary experience for Dragon Ball fans. Easily one of the best looking anime games ever, too.
SCORE: 4/5
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