Dragonball Xenoverse 2 (Switch) Review

Posted October 27, 2017 by Chris Berto in Video Games

Dragonball Xenoverse 2 on Nintendo Switch is a direct sequel to Xenoverse 1, despite the original having not appeared on Nintendo’s hybrid console. Like the original, Xenoverse 2 tells the story of a group of specially trained fighters known as Time Patrollers, whom through the use of magical “time scrolls” are sent back through time to correct or prevent variations that could result in changes to the time line. The story makes as much sense as the sentence describing it; however, it does set the stage for players to journey through some of the most memorable moments in the Dragonball timeline to take part in epic battles such as fights with Nappa and Vegeta (in monkey form no less), Frieza, Cell, and many more. Additionally, early on in the game’s progression players are given the option to revisit missions from the first game in a side hub called Legend Patrols.

Saiyan Brothers of Destruction

Legend Patrols acts as a way for newcomers to the series to experience some of the content from the first game. As neat as this feature may be, this side-hub takes place outside the larger story and can be confusing as story beats start to overlap. Trunks in the main story, and Trunks in the Legend Patrols apparently share no common memory. Both explain in detail what a Time Patroller is and why they exist. It’s an oversight, but not a terribly distracting one.

The game plays like an MMO-lite, complete with a central hub zone where players can accept side-quests, train with various Z fighters (Yamcha, Piccolo, Krillen, Radditz, and many more) in the Time Patroller academy, buy/sell items, and more. In addition to the single player offerings, Xenoverse 2 also allows promising Time Patrollers to join up online in semi-private lobbies to take on side-quests and limited story missions. One of the great benefits that the Switch offers is the ability to play online using Nintendo’s Switch to Switch connectivity in addition to standard online-network play.

Skill Menu to customize your play style

At the start of the game, players are asked to create their own Time Patroller by choosing one of the 5 available races: Majin, Saiyan, Earthling, Namekian, and Frieza’s race. Players are able to choose to play as either a male or a female (except while playing as Namekian or Frieza clan) and each race/gender combination comes with pros and cons for their base stats: Max Health, Max Ki, Max Stamina, Basic Attacks, Strike Supers and Ki Blast Supers. These stats are quickly made irrelevant as leveling and earning stat points happens quickly after successfully completing story and training missions throughout the roughly 12 hour campaign; which can be extended by completing all of the available side missions, and participating in the online modes. Your individual play-style will greatly impact which stats you’ll want to pad out. Like the idea of brawling fist to fist? Powering up your basic attacks are the way to go. Prefer to zone your opponent with powerful ranged ki blasts? Maximize your ki pool. Dragonball Xenoverse 2 let’s you build your character your way.

Choose your fighter!

Combat is where you’ll spend the bulk of your time. Thankfully the systems are engaging, complex, and fun. Thanks to the frenetic flow of Dragonball combat, fights always feel intense, fast paced, and satisfying. Melee combat feels weighty and the variety of different ki blasts provide a layer of strategy when deciding which skills to mix and match. My only complaint about the combat is that the camera actively works against the player. Some of the larger battles involving multiple combatants become a chore to follow. Thankfully the game is equipped with a lock-on ability which proves invaluable as the battles add combatants, both friend and foe.

Additionally, when fighting the ape formations of the Saiyans, the camera struggled to maintain my character in the frame, and would get stuck on the environment. Fights turned into a guessing game and an exercise in listening to audio cues. The only thing missing on the combat front would be a semi-destructible environment. The combat arenas are more or less generic, open environments on whichever planet the time paradox is happening. The ability to blast an enemy through a random rock formation, or slam someone into the ground and have it crack and crumble would provide an added level of realism in keeping with the source material.

4 on 1 seems totally fair, right?

The Switch version specifically plays well. All the action and the beautiful color palette look incredible on the Switch’s 720p screen and get boosted to 900p when docked. 1v1 battles play in a buttery-smooth 60 FPS, while fights with multiple combatants slow down to 30 FPS. Thankfully the slowdown is hardly recognizable thanks to the frenetic energy of the combat.

The Switch version also comes with motion controls. Yes, that means your inner-Goku can freely perform Kamehameha’s in the comfort of your living room and watch as the energy blast sails out and away from your hands towards your soon-to-be-dead opponent. While this addition is welcome and fun, it’s not very effective during anything more than a sparring session. Moves don’t always work as intended and when they do the response time isn’t great. Ultimately the motion controls are a nice distraction but aren’t really worth the time and practice required to master them.

The last image any baddie wants to see

Overall, Dragonball Xenoverse 2 is a fantastic Action-RPG set in the Dragonball world. The story is as over-the-top and nonsensical as the source material from which it gets its namesake but that hardly deters from the fun to be had. Combat is thrilling and while tough to master, it’s hard to top the feeling of landing a successful 20 hit combo before unleashing a furious Kamehameha mere inches from your opponent’s face. If you’re a fan of the source material there is very little reason not to own Dragonball Xenoverse 2.

About the Author

Chris Berto