Thursday 5 March 2015

DragonBall XenoVerse

Before digging into this review I have to put my hands up and admit that I know nothing about the Dragon Ball series. Whether it's the manga, anime series, games or even the supposedly crap live-action Hollywood adaptation, I'm a complete newbie about it all. I know the term “super saiyan”, but that's about it. I know it's something kind of powerful transformation, as I've seen many a GIF that were edited to make various people go super saiyan'd. As far as who's who and nitty and gritty of this universe (or XenoVerse, I guess? heh), please be aware that I'm just ignorant about it all. That said I was excited about this Dragon Ball game though, as on its surface it looked fun and incredibly over-the-top.

Developed by Dimps Corporation and out now on Playstation 4, Playstation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC comes Dragon Ball XenoVerse, a completely batshit insane beat 'em up that's very reminiscent of 2014's JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle, both in terms of gameplay and it being another franchise I knew nothing about but ended up loving. Instead of letting you play as the myriad of already established Dragon Ball characters, XenoVerse lets you create your very own protagonist. From gender, class, hair colour and facial structure the choices are decent enough and let you create something you can call your own. Don't get me wrong, you character will still look like an anime character with a razor sharp chin, large eyes and over-the-top muscles mass, but it does the job. Not really knowing all of the characters in this world, I was very much completely baffled by the story. I got the gist of it though, and it focuses on time travel, the changing of past events (all of which I assume happened in the anime), interacting with literally every Dragon Ball character ever and a general feeling that XenoVerse is unashamedly fan service. 

XenoVerse is best described as  a beat 'em up/RPG, as unlike many beat 'em ups out there the level of customization and satisfying feel of progression here is both unique and rewarding. Gameplay is broken up into two very different elements- exploration and combat. Though the meat of XenoVerse comes through during its combat, I found the light role-playing elements of the game to be pretty great. Basically, when not going toe-to-toe with enemies you can make your way around various areas and environments, interact with other characters, accept missions and also customize and upgrade your character. Though some reviewers have moaned about these sections coming across as too much filler, as a non-fan of Dragon Ball I found them to be a welcomed relaxation point between battles, and a nice way of learning more about this universe and the characters that inhabit it. It's nothing too taxing, but if even to just chill out and buy new clothes in order to make your character look badass, it's a pretty nice addition to gameplay.

The combat in XenoVerse is awesome. I'm generally not a fan of beat 'em ups as I'm never that great at remembering complicated move-sets, but in XenoVerse it's more about stringing simple combos together, rather than trying to bash a 20-button sequence into the controller. That's not to say the combat is too simplistic- it isn't- but it's not exactly Street Fighter either. However, combat becomes a little more tricky when you need to take your environment into account, something you'll need to do quite often. As you can fight both on land and in the air, you'll need to work out where you'll attack from, and how you'll use your surroundings to your advantage. From fighting on land like any other beat 'em up to getting hurled up into the air and then finishing the fight suspended 20 ft above the ground, combat can get pretty hectic but never confusing. You'll beef up your move-set in various ways, most interestingly by becoming a student under a number of classic Dragon Ball characters, whereby after training you'll ultimately learn a new and powerful move. These kinds of side quests are paramount to not only getting the most out of XenoVerse's combat, but also surviving the many, many foes you'll go up against throughout the game.

Overall Dragon Ball XenoVerse is a fantastic game, and this is coming from a gamer that is literally bordering on having a phobia of beat 'em ups. It's fast, frantic and despite the fact that I've only seen clips of the anime, looks incredibly authentic and close to its source material. Featuring single-player, Co-op and online multiplayer, there's enough replay value here for both die hard Dragon Ball fans and non-fans (like me!) alike.

Dragon Ball XenoVerse has a power level over 9000 and gets a 4/5.


Denis Murphy

Dragon Ball XenoVerse at CeX

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