Ever gone back in time to stop someone messing around with history? You’ll do a lot of that in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2.
See, apparently the Saiyans think it’s up to them to change the outcomes of major battles and injure famous warriors in order to shape the world in their own image. And it’s not. Because of reasons.
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 plays around with the standard formula of a beat-em-up, moving away from side-on views of fighters throwing fists and feet, instead having you fly around the map, firing balls of energy and performing extremely powerful, all-consuming attacks. Bandai Namco have made clever and occasionally necessary tweaks to the fighting formula to ensure Xenoverse 2 stays interesting for hours at a time.
And it definitely works. Walking around an open-ended hub where you can converse with masters and kai to customise apparel, loadouts and abilities adds a new slant to the button-mashing. But throw in the handheld opportunities afforded to players on the go with Switch, as well as very servicable motion controls and you have a pretty solid port of a very well developed game.
In fact, this is one of the few games where I’ve actually wanted to use the motion controls instead of the buttons because I found it to be effective and fun. That’s a testament to what Bandai Namco have managed to achieve with the port, but also a strong sign for Switch’s future in this area of the market.
With players ultimate attacks, simply holding one Joy-Con in each hand, then holding down a button and moving your arms in different positions performs various attacks, such as a Kamehameha. As seen with Arms, this is a great way to mix up the balance of play and shows that Switch really can be accessible to everyone.
The story mode sees you become a member of the Time Patrol, witnessing various moments in the Dragon Ball saga and getting to play a part in them. Like most fighters, battles are fast-paced, furious, full of flashes, crazy sound effects and plenty of action. Sometimes, you’ll even team up with others and have multiple people on screen at once.Surprisingly, whether docked or resting in the palm of your hands, Switch holds up pretty well. Xenoverse 2 is a very intensive game but
But perhaps surprisingly, whether docked or resting in the palm of your hands, Switch holds up pretty well. Xenoverse 2 is a very intensive game and the good news is you’re assured a mostly stable experience however you choose to play it. Don’t get me wrong, there are frame rate issues in handheld mode and it’s not as seamless as you’ll find on PS4, but you can hear how hard Switch is working during flurries of combos and it really shows with the quality of what ends up on screen.
In terms of the main content, the fights do end up feeling a bit samey, even though the cut-scenes break up the action nicely while looking glorious and providing some intriguing narrative direction. As mentioned, you can change the look of your avatar, giving them new armor and changing the trainer they fight under to get new combos and special attacks, but some of these attacks end up feeling a bit more familiar than perhaps they should.
Of course, you do have the expansive online multiplayer where you can play against others locally or over a connection. If you can find a game, that is. Several times I tried to jump into a lobby across Player and Ranked matches, and several times I got nothing. Having played first party games likes Splatoon 2, Arms, Mario Kart, as well as some third party like Puyo Puyo, I know the Nintendo Network runs quite effectively. Sadly, I haven’t been able to see how it works with Dragon Ball but I’ll update the review as soon as I get the chance.
Something else I’ve also noticed is that the game loses connection to the Xenoverse server very easily. Once it does, you’re getting kicked back to the title screen and will be forced to reload. This actually ends up being more annoying than you might expect as you only have to leave your Switch for a few minutes to get booted.
You do also have the parallel missions which let you team up with others in time-trial, wave and raid-style battles in order to boost your levels and try on some new challenges.
On the whole, this is an impressive port of a major third party title. It’s not perfect, and sometimes those issues will end up grating on you, but a few of those imperfections are papered over with useful and enticing bonus additions.
+ Great combat and combo system
+ Gorgeous graphics that hold up well on Switch
+ Motion controls that work well!
– Some frame rate issues
– Monotony in battle does set in quite quickly
– Disconnection issues prove frustrating
– Online already appears to be a dead zone.
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
7 out of 10
Tested on Nintendo Switch