Games Review: Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 (Switch, 2017) is one of the Switch’s better ports

Another day, another port for Nintendo Switch, but that’s ok, we were all worried we wouldn’t be getting what Nintendo promised us, a more mainstream console with third-party support. We got it, and here’s another solid example of their new ethos — Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2!

The fighting is why we all come back to Dragon Ball games, right? Even though it’s now on a smaller and more portable system, it doesn’t seem like Bandai Namco have had to make any concessions. Everything runs fairly smoothly, a few hitches during two-player local play excepted. The online matches are fast and quick to enter and there really are very few technical issues to slow you down.

The fighting roster is pretty incredible from the jump. All the characters you had to unlock on the original versions of Xenoverse 2 are available straight from the beginning. The only issue here is the stages themselves! Only four areas are available to begin with, the rest you must unlock via story progression or online matches. It’s a bit of a bizarre move to have the entire roster of characters open to you but not the arenas in which to battle them.

The set-up is pretty much the same as its predecessor. You take control of an entirely new character (a ‘Time Controller’) that you can customise. There still really aren’t enough customisation options to have this as a key feature, but the game makes up for it in cosmetics. You can change and upgrade everything from their clothes, their fighting style and your very own handpicked combo list. There is more than enough for fans of any fighting style in this sequel.

You are then set upon the world of DBZ through a story which sees you trying to correct the show’s timeline that a crazy trio of villains is trying to rewrite. In making you the Marty McFly of the Dragon Ball universe, it sets you up for multiple epic fights familiar to long time fans but with a few surprising alterations thrown in to keep things lively. It’s a creative way to tackle the now fairly rote progression of Dragon Ball games that follow the events of the show over and over. A few characters even seemed to be struggling with the changing events (some a little bit too wildly) and even wanting to re-write some themselves.

The open world fighting mechanics come back for the 2nd ride of Xenoverse 2 as does the open hub world (now called Conton City) you live in-between story missions and fights. There is a ton to do in the hub and hundreds of missions to take on (hell there’s even dancing), to be honest though, not everything is good and the basic fetch and grab missions with an added fighting mechanic cannot hide the fact they are just that. Some of the shops are meaningless and are just on offer to fill up such a huge open area. It’s when you go online and meet other players that want you to join a party to go on quests, the new open hub becomes a little bit more meaningful and fun.

So, should you buy this version if you already have another? Not really. The crisper looks on the Nintendo Switch, thanks to it not having Anti-Aliasing makes for a shiny game and if you haven’t gotten your hands on a version yet, this is the decent place to start, considering its new portability. As with any other Switch port to date though, it’s not the Definitive version, but it is damn nice to have access to it on the Nintendo Switch. I, myself, am going to finish the main story mode missions and then move on to bigger and better things, like waiting for Doom and Skyrim, for the die-hard Dragonball fans or fighter fanatics, you may want to pick this up, there really isn’t much to dislike here, but on a side note, I think the series really needs to try going above and beyond and do something different from the main saga storylines. But that, is a dream for another day.

Score: 7.5 out of 10
Highlights: Sharper and crisper graphics, Online play is smooth and fast, customisable combo list, Switch port is no means inferior.
Lowlights: Open world hub isn’t as fun as it looks unless online, occasional slowdowns when playing 2 players local play, DBZ stories need to change.
Developer: Dimps
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Available: Now

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch

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