Dragonball is bonkers. Anyone that’s come anywhere near the franchise over the last twenty years can tell you that. But while the videogame adaptations have often caught the mental flavour of the TV series they’ve often struggled to tie it to meaningful gameplay. As it stands Dragonball Xenoverse 2 is perhaps the best attempt to fuse the two – at least while Dragonball FighterZ is still under wraps – and after a successful launch on PC, PS4 and Xbox One last year, Bandai Namco have seen fit to port the game to the Nintendo Switch.
It’s clear that nobody except Nintendo expected the Switch to be the success that it is, and perhaps that explains the increasingly late number of ports we’re starting to see arrive for the system. Bandai Namco’s second take on the timey-wimey Dragonball Xenoverse may not have seemed like an immediate choice, originally arriving nearly a year ago, but then the huge license, and the scalability of its engine have made for yet another Switch success story.
I enjoyed the game last year when I reviewed it on PS4, and besides from some annoyingly twee music I have great memories of it. Dragonball Xenoverse 2’s primary pull was probably its vibrant, anime-esque visuals, and the good news is that they’ve scaled exceptionally well to the Switch. Perhaps it’s the broad strokes of its colourful palette, or the thick detail lines, that seem easier to handle, but the opening area of Conton City immediately sets a good precendent in terms of performance. While my memory is a little hazy, it doesn’t seem quite as smooth as the PS4 rendition, but is more than acceptable, at least when docked.
Unsurprisingly there’s a clear drop in resolution when playing the game in handheld mode, and the frame rate in Conton City also becomes more liable to take a hit. When you’re off in missions though, flying around and doling out some Saiyan-related punishment, the console handles the action admirably, sitting at a steady 30fps while retaining all of the game’s frantic fun. This is a fully portable Xenoverse 2, it looks great, and it works.
Bringing the game to Switch it’s clear that Dimps didn’t just want to do a basic port either, and one of the key things they brought in was the ability to perform attacks with Joy-con powered motion controls. They even work pretty well, though it’s a hybrid system where you’re limited to firing off your specials with specific motions, rather than being able to control the whole thing with them. Besides that you can also use the separate Joy-con for some local multiplayer, and as with so many Switch ports this is a killer function that sets Nintendo’s machine apart from pretty much anything else.
Bandai Namco have also seen fit to sweeten the deal for both new players and those making the jump from PC, PS4 or Xbox One, offering free DLC that allows you to play through the story of the original Xenoverse. It’s nice to see publishers giving at least a little back, though this is a launch deal so expect to shell something out if you pick it up further down the line.
There have obviously been a few other concessions to the less powerful hardware, and besides the changes to resolution and frame rate another is an increase in loading screens, and loading times. They’ll pop up a little more often, but luckily unlike some other Switch versions like Lego City Undercover none of them have become distractingly or disruptively long.
That all said, Dragonball Xenoverse 2 on Switch is easy to recommend, whether for fans of the Dragonball Z show, or for those looking for frantic fighting game. Fans of the original console release might even be tempted by the ability to take the game on the go, and jump into some multiplayer wherever you are, but however you look at it this is yet another great addition to the Switch’s steadily growing library.