Game Title: Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 for Nintendo Switch
Developer: Dimps, Bandai Namco
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Download: 6.4 GB (8.7 GB total with DLC)
Availability: Retail / Digital (Japan, NA, EU)
Battery Life: 2.5 – 3.5 hours
Anime games and RPGs are in short supply on the Nintendo Switch, especially in the English world. Sure, we have Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star, and we have one or two games on the way, but the anime fan doesn’t have a whole lot to buy and play right now.
This month changes that for fans of Dragon Ball. A couple weeks ago, a Dragon Ball RPG/Fighting Hybrid game that was a hit on PS4 and Xbox One came to the Switch in Japan, full with English dub and access to the North American and European online servers.
Bringing current-gen Dragon Ball to Nintendo and on the go, here is my review of Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 for the Nintendo Switch!
With Dragon Ball Z games easily getting close to over 100 video games since the dawn of gaming, there really is so much you can do with a storyline over and over again.
With that in mind, the Xenoverse series has been about taking the timeline and changing it. Like in Xenoverse 1, Xenoverse 2 revolves around a member of the Time Patrol, a special force whose task is to fix alterations made to the timeline to ensure no one changes the flow of time for the worse.
As a Time Patroller, you are sent through the history of Dragon Ball Z as the movie villains are running rampant and altering all eras, from the Saiyan Saga to the Kid Buu Saga. This makes it very similar in plot to the first game, but it is worth noting that not only do early buyers get the storylines from BOTH games on Switch, but each game has certain eras only available to them.
This makes the story a little different from the initial timeline of the series, but still heavily relies on having previous knowledge of the series. So, if you haven’t watched or read the DBZ anime or manga, you will be very confused about everything about the game’s story mode.
Unlike typical Dragon Ball games, which are fighting games to the core, the Xenoverse games take on a more RPG-style approach. With a hub world, leveling and stat growth system, custom character creation, quests, and online co-op, it is much more of an MMO-like RPG game, the fighting mechanics secluded to combat alone. By definition, I call it an Action RPG and 3D Fighting Game hybrid.
Before we go into how the game works, let’s talk about this new version of the game on the Switch. Basically, there are 2 things we need to go over.
1) The DLC is not packed-in on the Switch. It still must be bought, from the Season Pass to the individual story arcs and character packs from Dragon Ball Super.
Do note that the DLC on Switch in Japan is cheaper than the DLC in North America on PS4, but it still must be bought.
2) The entire Dragon Ball Xenoverse 1 Story Campaign is included in both the retail and digital versions of this game.
However, in Japan, it was stated to be available to “early buyers” so it is unknown how long it will remain available if you do not buy the game right away.
While this game does have a roster of almost 100 playable characters, you do not play around them. When you boot up the game,you create a custom character to use for the Story Mode across 5 races from the Dragon Ball franchise and they can be customized from appearance to skills and equipment. There are also a lot of options that allow you to recreate your favorite characters from the show with your custom character, from Dragon Ball/Z characters like Videl and Master Roshi to Dragon Ball Super characters like Caulifla and Frost.
Progress in the game really depends on what you want to do. Once you do a couple of the tutorial missions, you get a lot of options. You can do Story Missions from the Time Nest, Side Quests and Battles from the hub, plus you have even more Side Quests from various other areas, such as Frieza Force missions, training with Mentors to learn new skills, or random side-quests from NPCs around the hub.
This sounds like a lot, but it isn’t all thrown on you at once. Some areas need items unlocked later in the story to access, while other areas will incrementally unlock as you complete the story campaign. This goes for the Xenoverse 1 campaign, too. Segments of the first game’s story will unlock as you finish segments of Xenoverse 2’s story campaign. So, if you were hoping to play through the first game and then the second game’s campaign, you cannot do that.
So. how do you play the game? Whether you’re in a Story Mission, side quest, parallel quest, or PvP battle, you spawn in huge 3D arenas that you can freely walk, run, swim, and fly through to explore. These arenas will have different objectives dependent on the mission, but you’ll mostly be fighting enemy characters with a light attack/heavy attack combo system found in many fighting games and action games alike. Combat is all about flying through the air, performing flashy combos, and launching energy waves and physical attack combinations.
Upon the completion of a mission, you will gain currency to purchase clothing and equipment and experience points towards leveling up. Level Ups are where the RPG mechanics come in. Each level you get awards you stat points that can freely be allocated to different stats, like Health, Stamina, Energy Attacks, Basic Attacks, etc.
Leveling is also the biggest piece of the game, as the Story Mode has difficulty spikes, especially towards the end. It is highly advised that you always do Parallel Quests and Side-Quests while progressing the Story Mode, or you will get to points where you will have to go to the side and grind for levels to be able to properly
However, if you think that will be enough to get you through everything, you are mistaken. I just barely managed to clear XV2’s Final Boss without doing extra grinding, but also doing pretty much every side quest that came up, outside of the DLC missions. But even then, I had to stop and grind quite a bit to tackle the DLC Story Arcs and even the later parts of the Xenoverse 1 campaign. If you plan on doing everything the game has to offer, expect to get close to, or match the game’s Level Cap of 80 (unlockable up to 99).
That is the main thing that will turn people away from the game, or at least the game’s later portions. I never finished Xenoverse 1 on PS4 because of how much grinding I had to do for it. Xenoverse 2’s story is easier in that regard, but as I just said, doing only the Story Mode missions will not get you enough to clear everything. You will need to dip into Quests eventually, be it offline or using the Online Co-Op feature.
Given all the game has to offer, it’s going to be a very long experience. Around the time when I’d cleared both Story Campaigns and was starting to work on the DLC Story Arcs from Dragon Ball Super, I had logged nearly 60 hours in the game. For a game that most people consider to be a fighting game, that’s a lot of content.
Controlling the game isn’t really that hard to do. You can move around with the Left Analog Stick and move the camera with the Right Analog Stick. The four triggers are all used. ZL and ZR are used for Flying and Super Attack shortcuts, while L and R are used for Guarding and Lock-Ons.
The Arrow Buttons/D-Pad have a variety of functions as well. The Up and Down buttons will open up little chat dialogues you can send to your Teammates during missions, while Left and Right will open the Scouter to scan the area and the Item List so you can heal up in the middle of a fight.
Finally, the face buttons. Things are pretty easy here. Y is used for light attacks and X for heavy attacks. A fires off Ki/Energy Blasts and B lets you jump and hover.
While I would not call the Xenoverse control scheme “simple”, the game explains it to you quite well in all of the tutorial missions.
Graphically, Xenoverse 2 on Switch looks on-par with the PS4/Xbox One versions in some areas, but not others. When the camera is close to the character models, it looks near-perfect, but away and you can see jagged edges here and there. It’s nothing super-major, but there is a little difference between the two versions.
Audio, unfortunately, has the same issue as it does on the other consoles. During cinematic cutscenes in Story Mode, the dubbing is significantly un-synched from the movements on the character models. You might see Goku’s mouth start moving a full 2 seconds before the dub starts mentioning his line.
This wouldn’t be as big of a deal, but if you watch the Xenoverse 1 story missions, there are no timing problems. And since a lot of the scenes are similar here, why is Xenoverse 2’s voice data off? Granted, this isn’t a Switch problem as the PS4/X1 versions also have this issue as I’ve seen from YT videos. But it’s a bit of an annoyance, especially if you’re watching these scenes like you would an anime series.
Performance-wise, things are great. The Hub World and the normal Missions run a smooth 30 fps, while 1 on 1 battles run a solid 60 fps. The game twitches every so often in menus, but it otherwise plays wonderfully in Docked and Handheld Modes.
I was expecting Battery Life to be horrible, given the high graphical nature of the game as well as the online features. But, here’s what I got from 100% to 0%
Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 2 hours, 26 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 2 hours, 33 minutes
Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 08 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 22 minutes
This isn’t bad. 2.5 to 3.5 hours isn’t super-awful, but not super-great either. It’s more than I expected, though, so I’m happy with the results.
In conclusion, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 makes an exceptional transition over to the handheld world. It is a little grindy at times and the audio-sync issue from the other consoles still hasn't been fixed, but with it's fast-paced combat, extensive customization, and the fact that early buyers essentially get both Xenoverse games in one, it's a great buy for Dragon Ball fans that want Xenoverse on the go.