When I reviewed Dragon Ball XenoVerse last year, I wrote this: “A jack of many trades and a master of none; DBX innovates dramatically within the series, while lacking quality in almost all regards… I’m sure we’ll see a sequel soon, and I sincerely hope to see my concerns addressed”. Expectedly, the sequel to the best-selling Dragon Ball game since 2007 does little to differentiate itself from its precursor. I’d even say it’s generous to consider XenoVerse 2 a new game. Of course, there’s new content here, but proportionally to what’s unchanged, there’s not much to be said.
Bandai Namco is fine with releasing the same problematic game again with only the most ineffectual additions, so I’ll critique said game in kind. Below are my thoughts on what’s new in XenoVerse 2. For more comprehensive thoughts, here’s my review of the first game. Everything said therein is as true for XenoVerse 2 as it was for the original.
One of the two notable changes here is the hub world. It’s a much larger, more elaborate environment. It quickly becomes clear that this just necessitates more meaningless travel between tasks, but at least the constant loading between sections of the first game’s hub is gone. Orange Star High School (for some reason) teaches Time Patrollers in training. A bamboo forest lines the way to Grampa Gohan’s hut. Winding paths lead past an area in which Earth suddenly and inexplicably becomes Planet Namek.
The contextual disconnects here are especially apparent, given the new Time Rifts. These are segregated areas encapsulating Dragon Ball landmarks at specific moments in time. Each of these house a series of quests (mostly just a few fights) with a benefit for completing the quest in the area correlating to your race. Saiyans will want to work with Vegeta at Capsule Corp. and Majins are best off with Buu in his house, for example. Accessing these areas is a matter of flying to a point on the map to interact with the teleporter for each location. Of course, if you haven’t reached a high enough level to fly around the city yet, you’ll need to head to a certain NPC, have them transport you to the teleporter correlating to the desired Time Rift, and then use said teleporter to reach your destination. If it sounds complicated, that’s because there are not one but two levels of redundant time-wasting involved.
The new tutorials admittedly do a better job of explaining mechanics I otherwise would have never known existed – some of which are really cool and rewarding to pull off. Said tutorials, though, are extremely slow and patronising, as well as some requiring stupefyingly specific button inputs to complete. There’s little reason to bother here, though, given most enemies respond best to button mashing. Dashing towards an enemy, pounding the primary attack button and repeating was the fastest, safest and most reliable method I found to down foes, some of which are excruciatingly frustrating to come up against otherwise.
The second notable change is the use of a XenoVerse save file. You can’t play as your previous character here, but you can load them into your story in an awesome way. Your previous hero will play a part in the story which – again – is otherwise 99% the same as the first. You’ll also carry over your gear and abilities, which for me meant I started the game with great equipment and all the moves I wanted. I never had any reason to involve myself with the economy in any way, though I was constantly keeping an eye out for something cool to pop up in one of the vendors. It didn’t happen.
Dragon Ball XenoVerse 2 is a sequel to a very troubled game that makes little-to-no attempt to improve itself. If for some reason, you loved the first game and wanted more, here it is. If you like Dragon Ball, don’t mind repeating yourself for hours, haven’t played the first game, and really want to try one, you might as well get that one. It’s the same but cheaper.