Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is a huge game. I mean, think about this. There are 75 characters you can unlock, bringing up all sorts of important and unimportant people from all different sagas. There’s a robust campaign, with each story mission having multiple steps to set history right in different eras. Each race’s can have different perks. There are 100 Parallel Quests. This is a massive game. What I think is the best part is how everything’s balanced out. The way you have to go from one element of the game to the other, and how different things are opened up via both means, is executed in a a great way.
I’m usually not the biggest fan of unlocking. As I’ve aged, I’ve reached a point where I either want things either easily or immediately accessible. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have the time to spend on all the games I want to play anymore, due to real life. Maybe it’s because the busywork has become more obvious over the years. In the case of Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, I actually applaud the way Bandai Namco has addressed everything. Instead of giving it all away or letting you take one route to success, things are distributed in such a way that people have to play a little bit of everything to get what they want.
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2’s story mode handles things really well, since it does a good job of telegraphing who you’re going to get. You fought against Nappa and Vegeta? Hey! Now you can use Nappa and Vegeta. Zarbon and Dodoria are the next challengers? Well, I guess they’ll be your new “buddies.” Is that Android 16, 17, and 18? Don’t worry. We have room for you too. It gets you excited, because seeing these altered history segments remind you why you do and don’t like these characters, and gets you hyped when you’re acquiring new allies.
That more story quests come after reaching certain levels keeps things from feeling too forced or tedious too. If this were any other game, I’d absolutely have wanted to power through one mode and not do anything else. Forget the supplemental Parallel Quests. But, by requiring this, it actually makes you anticipate the Parallel Quests between the story segments. It’s like it makes you appreciate the breather. I never felt as pressured in Parallel Quests, even when objectives seemed tough, because they didn’t feel as critical as campaign missions. It meant an opportunity to breathe and enjoy a little freedom after having everything dictated for me in the more regimented mode.
After a while, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2’s Parallel Quests felt like the place where I could really hone my skills, play around with new strategies and skill sets, and generally enjoy myself. The story missions were still incredibly enjoyable, especially when they’d get a little silly, but you start to see how well the campaign and sidequests compliment each other. Especially when you start seeing the different costumes and move sets for characters appearing as you continue through the game.
The icing on the cake are the actual Dragon Balls. These can come up during Parallel Quests, in bouts against people around Conton City, and as other key item rewards. You can try to work toward them, grinding through quests in the hopes of getting them quickly, or enjoy the incidental acquisitions. When I collected all seven for the first time and earned Hit as a reward, via wishing for more usable characters, it just felt special. I wasn’t even really trying to get them all yet. I was more focused on playing for work and fun.
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is a game where, as you play, you can see why you would want to keep playing. You know that you can’t power through one way or the other. You have to go between the two. Yet, in doing so, you’re constantly being rewarded with unlocks you’re going to appreciate. Even if it’s just something new for a character you already have, it could be just different enough to be meaningful. Especially when you reach that moment where you realize you have all of the Dragon Balls, maybe when you didn’t expect it, because you were caught up enjoying yourself. You always have this sense of purpose, which Dragon Ball fans will appreciate.
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is now available for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.