The Nintendo Switch’s library grows even more with the long fan awaited inclusion of Dragonball Xenoverse 2 to the Switch’s catalogue. As a massive Dragonball fan, from my youth to now adulthood, I try to enjoy every bit of Dragonball I can. After many years of disappointing titles, we were finally given something worthy of playing in the Xenoverse series. After being out on consoles for some time now, it has finally released for Nintendo’s console/handheld. But how does it compete against the console versions?
Dragonball Xenoverse 2 was a big step up from the original Xenoverse. First of all, it was the first Dragonball game to hit current gen consoles (PlayStation 4 and Xbox One) without having to also be optimized to be able to perform on the past gen consoles as well. This meant we got to see a much bigger hub world in Conton City. Toki Toki city in the original Xenoverse felt small and almost lifeless at times. Thankfully Conton city is full of characters, including other players’ custom designed fighters.
What you want to know most of all I’m sure is how does it run? Well Xenoverse 2 is reported to run at 900p 30fps in docked mode, and 720p 30fps in handheld mode, that’s when you are out and about in the hub world of Conton City. Singular battles however, run at 900p and 60fps in dock, and again lower in handheld at 720p. I spent a good amount of time however in handheld mode, and I’m happy to say the game looked amazing. However, there were frame drops in Conton city and some considerable drops at times when opening my menu to boost attributes etc. Hopefully a patch down the line will fix these drops in frames. Thankfully though, I didn’t come across any frame drops in battle. The game ran as smoothly as it did on console, or at very least, it seemed to run just as good when in battles.
For those who didn’t pick up the original Xenoverse, do not be worried. You don’t need to play the original to understand the sequel. Although at the moment, the game is currently offering the original story mode as DLC, and the first Xenoverse story can be played by visiting one of the capsule corps robots inside the time nest when you can also find the Supreme Kai of Time, future Trunks, and Elder Kai. The time nest is also the main area that you visit to play out the story mode by visiting either the Supreme Kai or Elder Kai to initiate the story mode.
One of the reasons I believe the Dragonball Xenoverse series has risen above past Dragonball game disappointments, is that here we are given a really great alternate story. Every Dragonball fan I know loves future trunks, so having him play a large part here pleases fans. What shines most is the “What if” scenarios that play out. Everybody loves seeing their favourite stories and characters thrust into “What if” situations, and it works so well with the history of Dragonball.
Jumping into the main game, you start off by picking your character from a mix of different races. Personally, I’ve always gone with the Saiyan race, as I am a sucker for that Super Saiyan gold. Each race, whether you pick Human, Namekian, Frieza race or Majin race, all have their own different stats. Some are stronger than others, some have better defence, while another race may have better KI (energy for attacks). It all depends on personal preference. Each race also has the opportunity to unlock a different form or higher power. Like Super Saiyan, but their own version of increased power.
After picking your race, you can jump straight into editing the look of your character. This process isn’t too fleshed out, so don’t expect Skyrim levels of character design, but thankfully the clothing you can buy with in-game money, and outfits you collect doing quests and missions, is quite in excess. These clothes, though depending on what you chose, also affect your attributes. Some outfits may affect your stamina level, and others may affect your health. So, it’s up to how you customize your character to these deductions which will affect the outcome.
After editing your character, you are introduced to the team, the Supreme Kai of Time and Elder Kai, and eventually future Trunks and the hero from the first game. If you brought forward your save file from the first game on PS4, PC, Xbox One, your original character you played in the first would be in his place, but because this is the first Xenoverse title on the Switch, we are shown a random character.
Jumping into the fighting mechanics is another aspect of the game that makes the Xenoverse series such a success. There has been Dragonball games in the past that have tried to capture the high-speed fighting that is featured in the television show, and subsequently failed at doing so.
Thankfully Xenoverse gets it closer to the show than it has ever been. Of course, you’re not going to see yourself and your opponent blink all over the map, only to appear when punches connect, like on the television show because that just wouldn’t work well in the game. However, developer Dimps has managed to get the fighting to the best level it has been in a long time, so thanks to that, the main aspect of Xenoverse 2 is most definitely safe and a massive plus.
Along with the basic fighting mechanics, an optional feature with holding both joy cons in your hands, allows you to perform certain super moves by moving your arms in a certain way. Now you can’t use the motion controls to throw punches, and they don’t work for every move or transformation. It is a nice added feature, and while apart from for this review, I’m not going to use it ever again, as this seems like something kids should use, not fully-grown adults, as I’ll be honest, I felt a little stupid doing the movements. Still, I believe children and early teens will find some enjoyment in this feature.
When in a quest, or playing an offline/online match, you might find yourself fighting with 3 or more other characters, against the opposing sides. An issue I have is that most of the time friendly A.I can get in the way and enemy AI tend to deal out more damage than friendly AI. I would find myself spending time on one enemy, only to defeat him and go finish off the other enemy on the field that my friendly AI was fighting, only to find out that they’ve taken only a tiny slither of health from the enemy AI. So, when I would be fighting alongside Vegeta or Goku, it made them seem weak and almost useless to have on the field.
Spaced out around the hub world of Conton city is many of the characters from the Dragonball world. Approaching these characters, and interacting with them allows you the opportunity of having them be your mentors, and they can train you. This is a really helpful feature, as you battle through each lesson with a certain list of optional objectives, you can unlock that chosen teacher’s moves and even outfits.
A couple of outcomes from finishing quests, story missions, and character training in Conton city is that you will be rewarded, of course if you successfully complete these instances. You are given Zeni, which is Dragonball’s version of money, and you are able to spend this in Conton city in one of the various shops. Whether that be on an item to help improve one of your stats in battle, clothing for your character, or a move that you may want your character to be able to perform.
Apart from Zeni, you also get given XP, which helps level you up, and each time you do so, you are given a certain amount of upgrade points to spend in your options menu under boost attributes. This helps to raise certain stats of your custom character, like health, KI, stamina, or the power of certain attacks. It’s just another feature that helps making your character, your very own.
As you progress through the story, you will unlock more and more characters from Dragonball’s world, the roster is pretty large, and thanks to the DLC that is still coming, it has expanded the roster even more, adding characters from the new and currently airing Dragonball Super series. With more DLC characters on the way in a newly announced character pack, I am not entirely sure how much longer they will be supporting this game with DLC, as the show continues to air, and introduces us to new characters. However what has been given already, I highly recommend picking up the season pass, which is already in the Eshop. It is more than worth its cost.
This is where Dragonball fans will want to spend their time after the story. Other than perfecting their custom-made character, you have the option of both offline and online matches. Offline of course for local battles, and online for the experience of battling people around the world. You have the option of single battle or 3v3 etc. You can choose between using your own character, or one of the many classic characters on the roster. Online play was somewhat smooth, and I only had the odd time that there was any lag, and I had two drop outs. But besides that, the online experience was a lot better than some other online fighters I have played.
Graphics and Sound
Dragonball Xenoverse 2 looks fantastic, and a standout reason to grab it on the Nintendo Switch is it’s portability factor. I don’t see any Dragonball, Switch owner not grabbing this title. Even though I myself, own the game on PS4 along with the season pass, I would have grabbed both again just for the portability factor. Thankfully, in handheld mode the game both runs and looks great. I did experience a few frame drops, but this only happened in Conton city in certain areas, usually and oddly near Gohan’s high school. During battles however, the game ran as smooth as butter, even with multiple objects flying around on screen.
Xenoverse 2 had the pleasure of having some of its music composed by Steve Aoki. While not entirely sure which parts, I hope for his sake, it wasn’t the annoying music that plays while flying around Conton city. The soundtrack can be quite annoying to listen to at times, and I usually found myself turning the sound down or even completely off. Thankfully though, the soundtrack played during battles is bearable.
Dragonball Xenoverse 2 finds a nice home on the Nintendo Switch, and thanks to the portability factor of it, I’ve enjoy a lot of time playing Xenoverse in places I never expected to. It’s games like Xenoverse that pave the way for more 3rd party titles coming to the Nintendo Switch. All we have to do is support them, and thankfully Xenoverse 2 is a worthy title for any fan to add to their Switch library. The fighting mechanics are better than ever, and you have the added bonus, for those if curious to, they can play the original Xenoverse, expanding the game even more.