The last few years have not been very favourable as far as Dragon Ball games are concerned. The latest in particular, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z, was a tremendous disappointment, and afterwards fans hoping for a genuinely interesting new game obviously began to have some doubts. Fortunately, the situation may reverse itself soon with the incoming release of Dragon Ball: Xenoverse.
More important than any new character or new features, is the fact that Dimps is developing Xenoverse. This was the developer that created the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai games on PS2, but the last time they dealt with a game based on the series was in 2008, with Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit, for PS3 and Xbox 360. Ever since then Dimps has been busy on other projects, having collaborated with Capcom on the development of games like Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter X Tekken. Now, clearly more experienced, Dimps is returning to Dragon Ball, readying the game that will mark the debut of the series on the current generation of consoles, although having said that, Xenoverse is also confirmed for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.
Gamereactor had the opportunity to experience Xenoverse recently, during Lisbon Games Week. The demonstration only allowed for standard fights with half a dozen characters and only two arenas. However, our first impressions of the game are positive.
Dragon Ball: Xenoverse uses a similar perspective to the Tenkaichi saga, positioning the camera behind the character controlled by the player, but the gameplay seemed more fluid than was the case with the Tenkaichi titles. The controls respond as you'd want, and the movements of the characters are illustrated via good animations. Unlike other Dragon Ball titles, Xenoverse seems to be able to assert itself purely on its merits as a fighting game.
One of the biggest differences Xenoverse has regarding other titles based on Dragon Ball, is that the battles are rarely interrupted. While other games display special attacks (Kamehameha, for example) using cutscene sequences, Xenoverse performs these attacks in real-time. The same applies to character transformations, as you may go into Super Saiyan 1 or Super Saiyan 2 without a delay.
We enjoyed the rhythm of the battles, but sadly during our hands-on time it was only possible to experience one on one matches. Xenoverse will allow for multiplayer between two and six players, with matches up to three on three, and that is also true of the online mode, which is one of the major features in Dragon Ball: Xenoverse.
The new game will focus, as usual, on the Dragon Ball Z story, covering the saga of Raditz to Buu. There will be no references to the movies, only the episodes of the television series, but there is a big twist in Xenoverse. In the solo campaign you'll play, not as one of the characters in the series, but as a new fighter you will create. The story is based on a mysterious group that is trying to change the course of history and the player will assume the role of a new hero who will do everything to prevent this from happening.
This new character can also be used in other ways, including online. Here you can either play with the well-known personalities from the series, or take to the arena using your own custom character. There is also a hub that will bring together various players and where you can talk to the heroes of the series, train with them, acquire their powers and pieces of equipment (there are dozens of pieces that can be combined in order to create a new costume).
Unfortunately was no opportunity to try any of these new features, however what's already in place seems solid enough. After the huge disappointment that was Battle of Z, it is great to see that Dragon Ball: Xenoverse has at least a more solid and entertaining gameplay foundation to build on. Let's just hope the ambitious plans for the campaign and the online mode came together according to plan.
Below you can enjoy a gallery with the official trailer and several screens from the game.