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RELEASE DATE (NA): February 27, 2015 GENRE: Fighter
// review by EscapeRouteBritish

Dragon Soul, or Soulless?

I don't think for a second Bandai Namco expected Dragon Ball Xenoverse to be as big a hit as it was. When the first game launched, servers were crippled by the hundreds of thousands of players looking to take their custom creation into Toki Toki City for a fight with some of the series' greatest characters. The immense success of Xenoverse guaranteed that development began on a sequel, one which sought to take the suggestions made by players on board.

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 allows players to transfer their character from the first game. You can carry over their appearance, equipped items, and skills to Xenoverse 2, unless the skills are on the non-transferable skills list. Not every skill can be transferred, which is a shame because one of my character's moves, Symphonic Destruction, couldn't be carried over. This is because the moves are taught by the highest level trainers, so having these skills without earning them is seen as an unfair advantage over other players.

Annoying, but understandable. Of course, you can also play the game without transferring save data.

The game takes place some time after the original. Toki Toki City was remodelled after the "Demigra Incident", now a sprawling metropolis called Conton City. You're a new Time Patroller, and have been chosen for secret elite missions. Once again, changes in history have been observed and it seems the old likely lot Towa and Mira are behind it again.

This time, they've managed to take advantage of the evil in the hearts of various characters from the Dragon Ball Z movies — Turles the Saiyan, Lord Slug the Super Namekian, Cooler (the brother of Freiza), and Janemba. In other words, a whole host of revered Dragon Ball villains from the cinematic history are causing mischief.

Parts of the game are a retread. Much like the original, the game still begins with a mission where you have to help subdue Raditz so that Goku and Piccolo can defeat him with the Special Beam Cannon. There are still significant battles from the Saiyan Saga played out much as they were before, but once the game hits the Freiza saga, the story branches out considerably.

Dodoria and Zarbon, who were shockingly absent from the original Xenoverse, now appear. Turles and Slug are on a rampage with the game's most underplayed and least significant plot point, the fruit from the Tree of Might. Before long, Cooler shows up and the whole saga becomes a fustercluck of epic chaos. I appreciate there's a lot going on, but I feel the simplicity of the original Xenoverse story wins over.

I don't want to spoil any of the bigger surprises, but I will say that at the end of the game there are some post-game missions that take a massive amount of work to unlock, but they are perhaps the least interesting part of the game and I was actually left disappointed by them. Still, a necessity if you want to pad the story out and get as much from it as possible.

Z-Souls have been switched for Super Souls, and have been improved significantly. Also, a new item called a QQ-Bang (I still don't know what that ridiculous name means) can be equipped, which overwrites your equipment stats with a preset range. To simplify, you can now use any equipment and still have the stats you want! Gone are the days of dressing how you like and suffering in the stats department or being forced to have no fashion coordination in exchange for better stats. With a wider range of accessories and clothes than before, plus many more skills, the customization is improved significantly making Xenoverse 2 feel like less of an expansion pack and more its own beast, despite containing all of the content found in the original game. If the hub world was the same, and there were no new moves, I'd be saying less positive things. Xenoverse 2 does enough to differ from the first game, but nowhere near as much as it could have done.

Make mine a Whis-key and a Beer-us.

The Parallel Quests return, this time with less crippled loot drop rates. Now you can earn, alongside previous loot types, special TP Medals which are provided for playing exceptionally well. These can be used instead of Zenny to purchase items, and quite frankly worth it when some ridiculously expensive items can be netted for a few TP medals instead of spending valuable coinage. Players who transfer save data from the first game get some TP medals for their trouble, and any non-transferable skills are converted into TP points.

A good chunk of these Parallel Quests are also from the first game, but each has been changed slightly with new bosses or win conditions. It's like playing a remixed set of stages rather than something new, which is pretty disappointing when so much more could have been done with the new characters. Bandai Namco advertised Vegito like he was a big deal, but delegated him to Parallel Quest appearances only. What wasted potential.

Conton City has a lot of things to do in it. There are mentors to teach you moves and improve your fighting skills, mini games with Krillin and Yamcha to keep you occupied, and lots of character emotes to unlock. These emotes can be used in the Multi Lobby to communicate with other players. Also, the new Expert Missions tax six players with a high difficulty boss enemy to defeat — but these are made exceptionally difficult by cheap "brainwashing" moves, and also very glitchy.

The other races besides Saiyans are presented with useful transformation states this time around. Human characters can ride around on a Nimbus Cloud and hack away at enemies with a Power Pole. Namekians can grow very big and snuff out their enemies by crushing them in their hands. Freiza race characters can go 'Golden' like Freiza himself. Whereas the Majin can transform into a Kid Buu style "Pure" state, giving them access to exclusive moves. Saiyans are still given the best treatment, with Super Saiyan 1 through 3, and the mysterious Future Saiyan transformation. The good news is that now Saiyans cannot spam special moves, which means Saiyans have much less of an upper-hand in PVP.

I've played the game through on PC and Xbox One. On PC I had many crashes early on, which all seem to have been ironed out. On Xbox One I still regularly experience crashes.

Xenoverse 2 comes recommended from me with a simple point: if you didn't enjoy Xenoverse 1 at all, you won't enjoy the second. If you did enjoy part or all of the original, then this sequel should surprise you with how much you thought didn't need fixing but actually did. With a larger hub world and still being supported by DLC, Xenoverse 2 continues to be the definitive Dragon Ball Z gaming experience.

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