The premise of this game is that someone is messing with the timeline, so Trunks, now the guardian of time, asks the dragon Shenron for someone who can work for him setting things right. So you create your own character and fill the role of the hero. This is the first thing the game brings to the table; a unique story rather than the same thing we've seen over and over again with each installment of the franchise. Though as I think about it more; Trunks is awful at his job, the first time something happens he wishes for someone else do his job for him...but let's get back on track. As you progress through the game you level up, and unlock moves and clothing that allow for even more customization. Along with the main storyline there are also side missions you can unlock and various characters who will train you in their ways.
This game has a lot going for it, particularly its character creation system. You start off by picking a race, each with unique strengths and weaknesses. From there you decide the height, skin, face, hair, name and voice. Is it a perfect system? well no, but it is good for what it is, and the real problems with the system is in the moves so I'll go into that later.
The next big positive is the custom story, ever since the first Dragonball game the story has mirrored the source material, but this time there is a twist in that things are not as they should be. On top of that there is a new villain, which is always welcome, though I would have preferred if they were playable without paying for them as DLC.
Then there is the online play; you can play the standard vs mode where two players can test their skills on each other, side quests can be played with others rather than AI (a vastly welcome change), and even compete in a true world tournament, a staple of the series since the beginning. Along with gameplay; players are allowed to form teams and leave gifts for each other, something Destiny has yet to figure out.
What Doesn't Work
Now onto the problems, chief among them is the lack of menu. The entire game is done within the hub city, even to play a local battle you need to navigate the city to the man who facilitates this. I personally (and I'm assuming many others) would prefer a start menu; the city can still hold a purpose, but not in vs modes.
The next glaring problem the large amount of grinding. Many of the items in the game can only be unlocked through the side quests, but even then they are random. For example, to unlock "Super Vegita" (a form exclusive to Saiyans); you must first kill all of Frieza's men, then take the secret portal to his ship, ask Krillin for help, fight Frieza, let Frieza kill Krillin, wait for Vegita to arrive, defeat Frieza, and finally defeat Vegita...then after all that the skill is still randomly unlocked, in fact I still haven't unlocked it but I gave up after I got the stronger form. You also need to grind to gain exp to get strong enough for the main game as well for training with the mentor characters. Because of this most of your time will be spent repeating side quests rather than honing your skills.
Then there is the roster; before I mentioned the last game I played was over 8 years ago, one of the main reasons for this is the diminished roster. In Budokai Tenkaichi 3 there are over 100 playable characters not including form changes, Xenoverse however only has 46 plus DLC. Not only that, but each costume has different stats and abilities; so if you have a favorite costume but the character wears something else later in the series, your favorite will be a lesser option. Plus characters like Frieza and Cell cannot transform, you have to choose their form before fighting. Lastly giant characters; why was it decided they should be boss only characters? Personally I enjoyed pitting two giants against each other, or more often using the transformations as part of a strategy, for instance; if I had a saiyan and my opponent also was one, do I use my energy to constantly hammer my enemy, or save it to transform into a much harder to defeat enemy? Next time give us back this option.
The last problem I have is the lack of transformations for custom characters. For example Saiyans can only become ascended Super Saiyan (labeled Super Vegita 1 & 2 in the game), making the custom character seem inadequate in a game with Super Saiyan God Goku and Legendary Super Saiyan Broly. Aside from the Saiyans there is Frieza's race, a race known for transforming but yet here they are stuck in a single form. To go along with this, Saiyans in the game have no tails, without transformations the only thing setting these two races apart is the inert abilities, Saiyans have less health than humans but higher attack; thus transformations would add more distinction between the two.
While not as good as a game that came out in 2007, Xenoverse still manages to hold up against other installments in the franchise. The biggest thing fans need to remember is that this is the first attempt by new developer, and thus they need to include their own spin on things rather than copy their predecessors; like when 343 took over Halo and made it more Call of Duty like, or when Project Soul got a new Director resulting in a very Tekken feeling Soucalibur V, or when Devil May Cry was handed to a Western company. These people need time to decide what works and what doesn't, so we need to let them. I personally found this game to be fun, it delivered what it promised, and I am still playing it even after I beat the story mode. So with all things considered I give this game an 8 out of 10; by no means perfect, but far from bad.
What I Want From a Sequel
Despite its flaws, Xenoverse proves a decent first attempt by the new developers. So for the inevitable next installment I want to see many of the problems fixed, things that were seen in previous games but removed this time around. A simple menu to make things more accessible to players, a larger roster for the fans, things like that.
Next I want some expansion in regard to the original material. For example the game's story could completely disregard the the history and create it's own saga(s). Or go one step further and be a parallel timeline, in Battle of the Gods Beerus did say there are 12 universes so why not use them?
Then there are the custom characters, as I mentioned earlier I want to have more transformation options. They don't have to be elaborate, each change can be dictated by the initial character options. Then give us branching routes for Saiyans in particular (Legendary, God, SSJ4), sure many will only choose the most powerful option, but those like me who like to give back stories to custom characters are more inclined to create weaker characters to expand our custom rosters. But aside from Saiyans, what of Frieza's race? there's the possibility of 100% power, 5th form, mecha forms, and the new Gold form; all of which would be fun to use. Moving onto clothing, I like the idea of using existing clothes as well as new ones, and I'm okay with the stat changes each item brings, but something I would like is custom colors for all items...and layering, mainly for the battle armors. for example, say you want to use an armor style like Cooler's men, but the colors (bright green and purple) do not work for your Namekian as well as say a black and blue armor, well with the inclusion of color options this is no problem at all.
Well there are my thoughts on the game, agree, disagree? feel free to leave a comment below.