It was less than a year ago when the Dragon Ball universe expanded with a new video game, as the Xenoverse sub-series got a second entry that fine-tuned, tweaked, and fixed nearly all of the negatives from the original, at the same time improving other areas for a much more complete and fun overall experience. Fast forward to September 2017 and the game is now launching on the Nintendo Switch. Xenoverse 2 is basically the same game from last year, with all its strengths and weaknesses, but with the added bonus of portability and a couple of new features adding to what was already a generous package.
It's the perfect time to play it if you're one of those who haven't had the chance thus far. It's also is the perfect time to revisit the story of the Time Patrollers on their journey to preserve Dragon Ball's history. As an easy comparison, what this video game is asking of you is the same thing a movie director is asked when making a film adaptation, the difference being that the script is many years old and it's up to you to act it out by punching your rivals.
In our original Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 review we already listed its positive and negative aspects, the good and the bad, including its ever-present and useful approach to fan-service, its open-endedness, as well as its user-friendly combat. Everything is still there in a Conton City that's been built as a bridge between your custom character and all that content, therefore everything that made the original sequel a special game remains, although that legacy is not always a good thing.
Heritage sometimes comes with a burden. Those camera issues, especially when locking onto enemies, can easily get on your nerves during a match that's overly crowded with characters. On top of that, there's a lack of clarity when it comes to tackling certain missions, and even the bad lip-sync between characters and English voice acting remains as well. All of those annoyances are still present and at times stifle the otherwise huge effort that's gone into immersing you in the world of Dragon Ball.
To further expand the experience you can download a DLC pack (for free) that includes the full story of the first game, even though many of the events are just recycled. There's also another DLC available that gets you all of the characters and their costumes, to fight both alongside and against. This all adds value to this new release, allowing first-timers the chance to get the full experience, though it's not so big a game-changer as the clear highlight here on the Switch: portability.
Playing in handheld mode is a great addition that rounds out this complete experience, even if it takes a significant toll on the technical side of things. It won't reach 60 FPS like other versions do, save for in 1v1, and the resolution drop is pretty obvious when playing on the small screen. Beyond that, there are the occasional frame-rate drops when in Conton City, mostly when there are a lot of players gathered around. These are the sacrifices that have been made in order to squeeze the Xenoverse onto the tiny hybrid console.
That said, this version also includes a couple of additions designed for the Joy-Con controllers. The first one is the HD Rumble, making you feel the impact of every hit and the power of your very first Kamehameha. The second is the optional motion controls, which are only used for the most powerful moves, making you ape the gestures and poses of the character on screen. This is fun for a couple of fights with friends, but it's not super-accurate, nor very responsive. If you want to play seriously you're better off throwing a few "kames" (you know you want to) before switching the motion controls off and going for the traditional scheme.
All in all you could say that it's not perfect, and that it might lack the quality visuals already on show in the upcoming FighterZ, but what Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 offers on the Nintendo Switch is the most complete video game experience based on Toriyama's franchise. The offer of joining Goku and friends on their various journeys, as well as all of that additional content, and rock-solid multiplayer, feels even better when you realise that you can play it all whenever you want thanks to the game's new-found portability.