Itís been a very long time since I picked up a Dragon Ball game. Everything that was made after the Budokai series seemed very repetitive to me, so I have bided my time until they added something that myself and probably most Dragon Ball fans have been waiting for Ė character creation. So does this latest game in the Dragon Ball franchise live up to the hype? Read on.
The premise for Xenoverse
is pretty simple Ė someone is travelling through time and altering historical events for an unknown purpose. Trunks uses the Dragon Balls to summon Shenron and asks the great Dragon to provide him with a warrior capable enough to deal with these evil doers and find out the truth behind their schemes. This is where you get to create your own hero.
You can choose between five races Ė Earthling, Saiyan, Namekian, Majin and Frieza race. Each race and gender has itís own stat balance - for example, Saiyans have low health but high attack power. There are different faces, hair and body types to choose from. The character creation is nice and varied. Not many options to start with, but more are unlocked as you progress through the game. The only thing I was disappointed with was the lack of a tail when you create a Saiyan, to me thatís like having a Namekian without antennae - itís not natural! Some armours that you equip have tails, like Vegetaís armour from the Saiyan Saga, so thatís a nice compromise.
After a few brief tutorials on the basics, you have free roam of your home for the duration of the game Ė Toki Toki City. This is a place of convergence for all time travellers, as it houses the Supreme Kai of time herself. There are three areas to roam which offer different activities such as main missions, side quests and a shopping district. You can buy many things here - armour, items, accessories and skills to customise your warrior to your liking. There are around 400 pieces of equipment to collect, most with their own stats and around 200 skills to master, so customisation is wonderfully varied.
If you choose to play offline, the City will be mostly populated by NPCs, some of which will offer side quests. Other playersí characters will show up too, but you wonít be able to interact with the players themselves. Instead, their avatar will appear and you can hire them for a set amount of zeni. If other players hire your warrior, you will receive experience points and zeni the next time you play the game.
Online mode is better if youíre the socialising type Ė you will share the city with your fellow warriors. I enjoy going online just to see the characters that some people have created, often chuckling heartily at some of the silly ones. Interaction with other players is base at best, though. You have pre-set phrases to use and some emotes at your disposal (some of which are pretty awesome Ė Iím looking at you Ginyu Force poses!). If you get into a group you have the option of voice chat whilst youíre battling it out.
Fighting itself is pretty basic on the surface but can be fast, furious and a lot of fun. You can choose to play a character you have unlocked or you can be your customised warrior. Currently there are around 47 characters to choose from, but they usually donít get a look in because I mainly want to play my hero, so the roster of characters are usually reserved for being my sidekicks.
For battle you have the usual suspects - light and heavy attacks (which can be chained together for various combos), blocking, throws, ki blasts and teleportation if you time it right. Items can be used with the d-pad to heal health points, stamina etc. There are also special items that you can equip called Z Souls which, when activated in battle after certain conditions are met, will provide you with some nice boosts.