Dragon Ball Z. There are few within the nerd and geek community who haven’t heard of it. For those of you who haven’t, this was an anime series in the ’90s which was and still is a staple of the genre. In this series, you follow the main character Goku as he fights his way through all manner of monsters and aliens. This series was so popular there has been countless fighting games dedicated to it over the past twenty some odd years. The latest iteration of these is “Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2.”
This game knows exactly what it is and doesn’t pretend to be anything else: Pure. Dumb. Fun. Let me put it this way; this game reminds me very much of a more cinematic and violent Minecraft. You turn the game on and turn your brain off. It’s simple, straightforward and surprisingly good for what it is.
Past this point, minor spoilers.
In this game, you play as a Time Patrol officer; you travel throughout major, important events within the DBZ universe. This to me seems like a clever way to integrate your custom-made character into the series. On that note, yes that’s right, custom character. Much like “Dragon Ball Xenoverse 1,” you design your own DBZ fighter from scratch. The customization isn’t amazing but it has improved from the last game.
You can pick from multiple races, such as Saiyans, Frieza’s Race, Namekians, and Majins. Each race does one aspect of combat slightly better than others; given this I feel some races are slightly more powerful than others. But, designing your own custom play style is where the system truly shines. As you play, you unlock special attacks seen in the show; Goku’s Kamehameha, Frieza’s Death Beam, Majin Buu’s Vanish Ball, etc. In fact, I believe just about every attack in the entire show is available in some way. You can select four of these to use during combat, as well as two ultimate attacks, one avoidance technique, and one transformation. With this, you have an obscene amount of options for moves, which will make any DBZ fan completely giddy.
The graphics, sound, menus, online features and story are all above average for most DBZ games. The graphics and game design are shockingly powerful. The game’s visuals are stunning; the use of light and camera angles makes each fight feel like it came right out of the show. Even if you’re not a DBZ fan or a fighting game fan, the visuals and cinematic effects, especially on the ultimate attacks, will leave you speechless.
This all being said the game isn’t without flaws. It is highly repetitive on a base level. It is a fighting game throughout, even though there are some RPG elements within it. You will be taking part in the same type of combat. A lot. If repetitive gameplay isn’t your thing, you will hate this game. The visuals, while impressive, can be lost from time to time as the camera system is flawed. The camera tends to get confused about which enemy it wants to focus on; and considering there can be up to eight or nine enemies per fight, it can get hectic.
Even with these problems the game is still solid. I’m a huge DBZ fan so this game was a massive treat. But, even without nostalgia goggles, the game is still decent as a stand-alone product. It’s not a hardcore, competitive game like “Tekken” or “Street Fighter,” but it knows this and doesn’t pretend to be. What it does attempt to do, is make you feel like you’re in the show. It works to make you feel like your character belongs in this world and gives you all the tools necessary to keep up with the god-like figures therein. It’s fast-paced, adrenaline-fueled, chaotic fun. Plain and simple.
This is an absolute buy if you’re a DBZ fan or a fighting/action game fan. But if you’re not, and are still interested, I would highly recommend you watch a few videos on it to be sure it’s your thing.