Review: Dragonball Xenoverse


Dragonball Xenoverse XV offers a fresh take on the the Dragonball lore and the entire fighting game genre. The introduction of RPG elements and an MMO-esque lobby area, as well as character customization that goes well beyond just picking outfit and hair colors, are welcome additions to the series.

Developer: Dimps

Publisher: Bandai Namco

Systems: PS4 (Reviewed version), Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, PC

Release Date: February 24th, 2015 (February 27th on STEAM)

The fabric of time is unraveling. History is changing. Someone must help to set things right to avoid catastrophe.

Trunks from Dragonball Xenoverse

That is the basic premise of the story for Dragonball Xenoverse.. Rather than rehash a portion of the popular anime series, DBX gives you a chance to rewrite the story as you work to preserve the history of the universe.

Everything begins when series icon Trunks uses the dragon balls to summon Shenron (the dragon) to grant him a wish. He uses that wish to summon an ally to help him restore the fabric of time.

That is where you come in. Instead of playing as a character from the series, you get to create your own hero, but more on that later.

This setup also means that this game isn’t particularly accessible to those who aren’t familiar with the anime. “Fixing” the outcomes of battles so they match history doesn’t mean much if you have no idea what was supposed to happen.

Ultimately though, the character creation and history-altering storyline breathe much need life into the franchise. The result is a much more open experience than previous Dragonball games.

This can most easily be seen in the parts of the game that happen between battles. There is a relatively small hub-world called the TokiToki City. This is where the time patrol hangs out, including characters from the show and other players.

TokiToki city is a virtual lobby where you can hang with other actual humans between missions. There you can buy equipment and healing items, customize your characters outfit colors and skill setups, and set up arena matches with or against other players. It is also the jumping off point for new missions.

All of this works because each person’s time patroller is different. It wouldn’t make sense if everyone was playing as Goku or one of the other series characters.

There are 5 different races to choose from: Saiyans, Earthlings, Namekian (Piccolo’s race), Frieza Clan and Majin (Kid Buu’s race). Each have their strengths and weakness, and offer a different feel once combat begins.

In many ways, DBX feels like an MMORPG. Characters gain experience and level up. They buy or find progressively better gear and items. There are skills that must be learned and later mastered.

Speaking of skills, you can even find iconic Dragonball characters like Vegeta or Krillin and get them to be your master and train you new skills. Of course, they only train you skills that they know.  Presumably, Goku would train you his KaMeYa MeYa attack. I never asked him for training while reviewing this, but you get the idea.

Ultimately, the core gameplay for all Dragonball games is that of a fighting game. There are layers of polish and features surrounding that core, but the core remains. That isn’t a bad thing.

Battles are very fast-paced. Things can get overwhelming when your character and two allies are being swarmed by eight or more enemies. Things get even more complex when enemies start launching a variety of ranged Kai attacks at you while you’re trying to take down one enemy.

Since characters in DBX can fly, attacks can literally come from anywhere. You can be toe-to-toe against a Super Saiyan only to have an attack come down from directly overhead.

The result is chaotic and extremely intense battles that can be extremely fun. Breaking off your attack for few well-timed Kai blasts can stun an enemy long enough for your teammate to land destructive attack on their target can be the difference between victory or defeat. Do that too often though, and one of the other enemies will take advantage of the opening and unleash a massive combo on your face.

Unfortunately, these crazy battles can also be extremely frustrating because of the camera. Getting things lined up so your attacks actually connect in that environment is almost impossible without using the game’s lock-on feature.

But after a decent combo you send your target flying backward and down at the ground below. The camera follows your target, making it damn-near impossible to keep track of the other enemies that are still up close and personal. And, of course, those enemies take advantage of this to smack your character around while you franticly try and switch the target lock to one of the nearby enemies.

Once you start to get annoyed by the camera, lots of other little things will begin to wear on you too. The background music that plays in town is only worth muting. Listening to Trunks give you the same instructions through the speaker on the controller over and over again if you fail to complete a story mission made me want to throw my controller across the room.

The voice acting is on par with the anime series. That is both a good and a bad thing. It also isn’t good by any means. In fact, it is painful bad in spots. It’ll match fans’ expectations, so it isn’t likely to generate as many complaints as it might have if this wasn’t a Dragonball game.

Graphically, it is difficult to find fault in any of the decisions that were made. The locations look like they are taken directly from the show. Character animations are smooth and there was no noticeable frame-rate slowing even in the most heated of battles.

At the same time, matching the visual ascetics of an anime show means that there was some processing power that was left un-utilized. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing in this case. I just think it is important to note that this game won’t match the visual detail of other fighting games coming out this year.

Since characters in DBX can fly, attacks can literally come from anywhere. You can be toe-to-toe against a Super Saiyan only to have an attack come down from directly overhead.

In the end, DBX offers a fun single-player campaign and an interesting and unique battle system. Multiplayer adds to the experience, but isn’t a requirement to enjoy the game. Fans of the anime series will undoubtedly love the fresh story line. The RPG elements add a welcome fresh new set of features to the genre.

Unfortunately, while CBX will appeal to fans of the anime series, it offers almost nothing to everyone else, which is likely to keep the player base from ever growing too large. That and the camera issues will lead to this game likely having a short shelf-life before you decide to KaMaYa MeYa it out of your system.


+ Fast paced chaotic battle with multiple friends and foes

+ Unique story and personalized characters

+ MMORPG-like level up, item and gear system

– Camera

– Annoying background music, voice acting and use of controller speaker

A copy of this game was provided to GameSided for the purpose of this review. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.