Dragon Ball Xenoverse Games Review

Score:

Dragon Ball Xenoverse: 7/10

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2: 8/10

Dragon Ball Xenoverse Game Cover
Dragon Ball Xenoverse Game Cover

When someone starts talking about Dragon Ball videogames, it’s only natural for the Budokai Tenkaichi series to first pop up into our thoughts. These action-packed PS2 games were an absolute success at the time and Bandai Namco hasn’t been able to come up with a title quite as good as any of the Tenkaichi’s since the release of its third and last installment in 2005. Raging Blast was decent and it does offer hours of fun, but it somehow felt like it was too shallow. We’d still recommend you to try it, especially if you still find yourself playing Tenkaichi.

But Xenoverse and Xenoverse 2 are definitely two worthy members of the DB hall of fame, nonetheless. As we approach the release of FighterZ, let’ take a closer look into the alternative universe portrayed in Bandai Namco’s latest free-roam fighter.

Both Xenoverse games introduce users to a unique ability that has never been part of the Dragon Ball franchise before: character customization. For the first time in over 30 years of DB life, fans are finally able to create their own custom characters from many different races found across the Dragon Ball universe. And yes, this means you can create a Saiyan capable of becoming a legendary Super Saiyan.

If you’re really into Dragon Ball, you might wonder why we’ve ignored the customization options already offered in Dragon Ball Online… And the reason is that the game was never released globally. It was only available in Japan and had a relatively short lifetime for a MMORPG.

In any case, Xenoverse dives into the character creation world with plenty of options available to choose from, and Xenoverse 2 has an even wider range of choices that fans from the franchise will certainly enjoy messing around with.

Both games also have a clear focus on online play. Players are able to find countless cooperative missions that can be accessed from the online hub. Xenoverse 2 does offer a bigger area that holds up to 300 players and has no loading screens, unlike the first game’s Toki Toki City. There are some missions in X2 that might turn to be a little bit tedious and grindy, but the overall experience is pretty fun and fighting alongside countless other created characters is certainly one heck of a chaotic yet enjoyable adventure.

The story itself is very similar and both introduce new villains to the series, which make players travel through time saving Dragon Ball’s history from latent menaces to the time space continuum. Players have to fight in the most iconic scenarios of the Dragon Ball series (excluding GT, of course) as they look to bring back the balance which has been threatened by evil foes.

The fighting mechanics have changed a lot since the early days of Gamecube fighter Dragon Ball Budokai 1, and classic 2D schemes are once again relegated to a secondary role in order to favor a fluid and dynamic fighting style that very much resembles Budokai Tenkaichi 3. Although both games were developed for PS4 and Xbox One, the original Budokai Tenkaichi series still manage to give an even more accurate Dragon Ball vibe than its newer counterparts.

Playing Xenoverse is really fun, nonetheless. The base fighting system introduced in the first installment of the series was heavily improved in Xenoverse 2, and the camera movements feel more fluid than ever. The difference is very noticeable, mainly when performing long combo chains. This crucial change is one of the main reasons why we think the second installment is worth every penny, even after playing the first Xenoverse for months.

There’s also one aspect of the game that isn’t really related to gameplay but it’s very appealing for Dragon Ball fans. Xenoverse 2 offers an even wider character roster that sees the inclusion of many new fighters from the Dragon Ball Super anime, including the relentless Goku Black, one of the most popular characters of the series. Not only that, but other characters from the movies are also added in the second installment of the series, which gives fans the ability to play with all-time favorites like Gogeta and Janemba.

Xenoverse 2 does manage to address a lot of community complaints that the first installment had, related both to gameplay and story missions. It is definitely an improved version with more features in store, and every DB fan will surely have a blast trying out the game. And even those who aren’t familiar with the Dragon Ball story, the game has plenty to offer and although understanding the main story could be a little bit confusing without any previous knowledge of the DB franchise, the game still does a good job explaining the way time travel works and how the story unfolds.

If you are more of a traditional fighter type of player, have no fear. Dragon Ball FighterZ is coming out soon, and the game looks like a re-mastered version of the old classics. If you found yourself playing MUGEN Dragon Ball games as a kid, FighterZ will take you in a nostalgia ride as it offers an incredible feel thanks to the introduction of 2D combat mechanics once again, after an absence of over a decade in the release of PS2 classic Dragon Ball Budokai 3.

FighterZ offers a whole new system that very much resembles traditional fighters like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat but doesn’t let go of the essence required to be a proper Dragon Ball game, creating an action packed, fast-paced fighter that will certainly revolutionize the DB gaming franchise as a whole.

What we think about the games

If you are a true Dragon Ball fan, be sure to get your hands on both Xenoverse and Xenoverse 2. The games are both really fun and offer different twists to the main storyline that will sure keep you hooked to your TV screen for hours upon hours; if you want to get yourself immersed into the online world of Dragon Ball and jump into the second installment right away, that’s also a very valid option. Both games have plenty to offer but Xenoverse 2 is an absolute improvement and a great game overall.

Be sure to get your hands on FighterZ, though. The beta is already out and you can preorder the full game already. From what we’ve played, it looks really, really good. It’ll sure honor the Dragon Ball franchise and bring back the fun fighting mechanics of the good old days!

Overwatch Review

Score: 8/10

Overwatch game cover
Overwatch game cover

The robot and human compendium has always been an interesting topic explored by a lot of sci-fi and fantasy authors, and the videogame industry’s latest sweetheart, Overwatch, has hit the nail on its head when it comes to crazy robots and evil masterminds fighting against each other. The world had descended into chaos and war between man and machine when a group of heroes with extraordinary abilities joined forces and formed Overwatch, an organization that helped the world restore peace between the artificial Omnics and humans themselves.

Now, years after the organization was disbanded, crime is on a rise and former members are coming together once again to fight for the world they all love. In Blizzard’s FPS title, you will take their fight with you alongside nine other players in relentless 5v5 battles and many other game modes.

It isn’t an easy task to find a game that manages to create perfect equilibrium between a MOBA’s character balance, and the fast pace of a first person shooter, but Overwatch certainly manages to do just that. The blend of new characters constantly being added to the game and Blizzard’s play-to-progress approach have allowed this well-known title to make a name for itself both as an eSport and as a casual game.

Although some claim Blizzard ripped off the idea of the game from Valve’s Team Fortress 2, Overwatch offers a unique set of attributes and game modes that completely differ from TF2’s often static mechanics. Overwatch’s characters are so unique that cycling through all of them makes gamers feel as if they were playing entirely different titles altogether, as each one suits a different playstyle that gives the player a sense of reward when mastering the abilities and attributes of each hero.

The resemblance to a MOBA offered by this title is so uncanny that many of its heroes have also made their way to Heroes of the Storm with virtually the same abilities and just a few minor tweaks to fit different camera mechanics. Blizzard has also added Overwatch maps in HotS, and they work incredibly well.

But Overwatch gameplay is surely its main attractive and it has changed the eSport scene for the better.

The way characters move and attack is not only fun, but also surprisingly well balanced. The only exception to this rule comes when a new character is introduced into the game, as the lack of testing usually translates into poor balancing, which usually takes Blizzard a week or two to fix. It isn’t a major issue in this game though, because new characters aren’t allowed into its competitive game mode until they are properly dealt with and players get used to their mechanics – certainly a fine feature to have and one that other big companies should start taking into account.

Characters are divided into four categories (Offense, Defense, Tanks and Supports) that define the function they play in a team. As we told you before, every character feels different and absolutely unique, even if you compare two heroes from the same category. You have very mobile Offense heroes like Genji or Tracer, slower but deadly assassins like McCree or Reaper, and versatile utility killers like Soldier 76 or Doomfist. The game truly offers plenty of options to choose from and a feeling of uniqueness unparalleled by any other triple AAA shooter.

Blizzard has also worked wonders with the game’s lore. The comics released are very good reads and incredibly fun, while they also manage to give players plenty of insight into the world of Overwatch and how it changed after the Omnic Crisis. Characters have in-game dialogues related to the game’s lore itself, allowing the players to understand the motives behind the actions of those who are evil as well as those who work for the common good. Watching them interact with each other is incredibly fun and keeps each match as fresh as it is possible in a first person shooter.

The game has two main modes that set the scene for epic battles to unfold: Quick Play and Competitive. Both modes take players into different arenas set on various countries around the world (and the Moon!) in thrilling 5v5 encounters. The Competitive mode ranks players according to their skill level using the famous ELO system present in most MOBA’s while Quick Play offers a more relaxed style of play oriented towards the casual player base.

Overwatch also has other casual modes categorized under the Arcade tag. They have very different rules and players usually have a true blast playing them, given how varied and entertaining they are.

All of these make the game appealing to all audiences, certainly explaining its crazy rise to popularity over the last year-and-a-half. That and Blizzard’s brilliant reward system that has managed to integrate microtransactions in the game without turning it into a Pay-2-Win title, a la EA with most of its games like FIFA and Battlefront 2.

Overwatch could definitely use some improvements, especially in the competitive matchmaking department. It can often pair players with really bad teammates, which create really unbalanced matches. It doesn’t happen enough to make you quit the game, but it can turn competitive play into a frustrating experience from time to time.

Our thoughts on the game

If you’re a fan of MOBA’s and shooters, you MUST try Overwatch. It’s incredibly easy to get hooked into and you can spend hours playing without getting bored. Be warned, though… The community can often be really toxic, so if you aren’t a patient gamer, we advise you to stay away from Competitive Play. Regardless though, the game is really well done and the balance it has makes each character a viable option in battle – you’ll have a chance to win even if you don’t feel like picking a character from the current META.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Review

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Review
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Review

Score: 9.5/10

Not many games manage to stay relevant for over a decade, but Bethesda’s RPG classic, Oblivion, managed to do just that. The Game of the Year winner offered a unique experience at the time, and one that still puts up a fight as one of the best role playing games ever made 11 years after its release.

Oblivion sets the player on a journey to become the sole savior of Cyrodiil, a land where dungeons, assassins and mages are nothing but a common sight. Starting off with the blessing of the Emperor himself, the player first steps out to a world so massive that truly gives a feeling of uniqueness to the adventures about to unfold.

The game is incredibly immersive and allows players to fully customize their character at the start of a save. Each race not only varies in looks, but their traits are different as well. Whether you choose to play as a water-breathing Argonian or a magician Dark Elf, your options will be almost unlimited when deciding which approach to take in order to save a land haunted by creatures that emerge from Oblivion itself.

Once the player starts their journey, they’ll be faced with countless decisions that influence the skillset of their character. The game offers countless customization options and strongly supports free decision making, even with a main storyline in place.

The player might choose to completely ignore the main quests at first and head on to face the different foes found in Cyrodiil’s dungeons, a very appealing aspect and crucial to every good RPG title. Oblivion offers a one-of-a-kind experience still unmatched a decade after its release, even by its worthy successor, Skyrim.

The towns, cities, caves and background stories are incredibly rich and make the player feel completely immersed in the game. There are guilds which the player can join; each one completely unique and with magnificent storylines that leave the player wanting for more after finishing each quest.

Mastering each guild storyline allows the main character to become an almighty unstoppable force, capable of doing almost anything a Mage, a Thief, an Assassin or even a Gladiator can do. The possibilities are endless and the prospect of sticking to a single play style and finishing the game multiple times is probably one of the main reasons this game has stayed relevant even after the release of Skyrim.

The combat in Oblivion is also a perfect fit for the game. The fast paced and fully controllable action makes putting an end to your enemies feel incredibly refreshing. Players are also allowed to toggle between PoV’s, in or out of combat. It’s very important for the balance of an RPG that combat permits each different skill to be a viable option, and Bethesda manages to do just that with this title. Arrows, spells and swords are all incredibly strong when mastered by the bearer or caster.

The variety of weapons and different effects that each one offers is magnificent as well, and the game even allows the player to craft weapons out of scratch, emphasizing even more just how incredibly customizable the game is.

The map is gigantic, but the player rarely feels lost given how well the moving mechanics work. Whenever a new location is discovered, it is instantly saved to the player’s log, enabling fast travel from any open space on the map. This makes the game appealing for all types of players and turns exploring into an unparalleled satisfying experience of discovery.

Every character feels alive as well – even the most insignificant of NPC’s have houses and beggars have impromptu beds where they sleep at night. The level of detail that the game offers is absurd, the side quests often feel as entertaining as the main storyline and the expansions are true works of art.

The game has its fair share of flaws, but they are so insignificant for such a huge title that they don’t affect gameplay whatsoever. For example, whenever the player engages in conversation with any NPC character, time just freezes and nothing else moves. Details like that could sometimes make an immersed gamer phase out of character, but it can be forgiven as the game offers so much original content.

The expansion packs aren’t nothing short of masterpieces as well. Knights of the Nine tells the story of a lost guild of knights that fought in the name of the nine gods of the realm, going into deeper detail about the religious lore of the game, which plays a very important part as the story unfolds, bringing a sense of understanding towards certain actions that NPC’s take throughout the course of the campaign.

The Knights of the Nine are clearly a reference to the Crusader knights that fought in the name of Christ many centuries ago, a cool little detail that dares to cross the thin line between game and reality.

This depth also makes room for the second expansion pack, The Shivering Isles – a realm controlled by the mad god Sheogorath and one of the most brilliant tales ever told in an RPG game. It offers everything from comedy, to sorrow, to lunatic suicidal maniacs. It is definitely a must-try for anyone that enjoyed the base game.

Our thoughts on the game

Oblivion is a widely popular game even ten years after its release, and the reason goes far beyond nostalgia. The game is addicting, the story is incredible and the graphics don’t feel clunky at all. The Elder Scrolls saga definitely has one game that stands out from the rest, and although Skyrim was really good, Oblivion takes the gold medal.

PUBG vs. H1Z1 vs. Fortnite – A Battle Royale Review

Fortnite Battle Royale
Fortnite Battle Royale

PUBG: 7/10
Fortnite Battle Royale: 7/10
H1Z1: King of the Kill: 5/10

The Battle Royale genre has gone a long way since the early days of DayZ, the famous ARMA 3 zombie mod. Countless developers have jumped into the Battle Royale bandwagon, building upon the foundations laid by modders who basically gave birth to a whole new game genre.

The two giants of Battle Royale gaming, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and H1Z1: King of the Kill, follow a pretty similar path, although PUBG does take a more realistic approach in an already chaotic style of gaming. But there is a new contender that has surely come to stay. Epic Games developed a new BR game mode to their already popular title Fortnite, but it has a couple of key twists: it allows players to build structures, and it’s free to play on Xbox One, PS4 and PC.

Fortnite Battle Royale broke tons of records as an early access game, reaching 20 million players in just over a month after its release, which earned it a spot amongst the Game of the Year candidates of 2017. Incredibly, the game is also the fourth most watched title on Twitch, overtaking some of the gaming community’s sweethearts like World of Warcraft, Overwatch and DOTA.

There is one question that arises every time one of these BR games is mentioned… Which one stands out as the best title?

The gameplay

This is surely the main talking point and the definitional aspect when judging which game comes out on top as the best one. Even though all three titles fall under the same category, they are still miles apart from each other when looking at the way each one is played.

H1Z1 King of the Kill
H1Z1 King of the Kill

H1Z1: KotK, DayZ’s natural successor, offers clunky gameplay and silly fights which make it the videogame definition of utter chaos. Even though the game has managed to amass a huge playerbase two years after its launch, it still remains in beta and suffers from numerous bugs that some players could consider game-breaking.

King of the Kill was born as a different mode for the already existing H1Z1 zombie survival base game, and the flaws of the transition remain on the surface after almost two years of its release. The game is certainly fun, but having to deal with people walking through walls, awkward animations and ill-mannered character movement is certainly a huge turn off for a game with huge untapped potential.

The way driving works in KotK is incredibly arcady, and although that’s the game’s main goal, it still feels like it falls short and doesn’t live up to what it could’ve really become.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds - PUBG
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds – PUBG

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was developed by the same guy that brought H1Z1’s Battle Royale into life, but he was given more creative freedom as he aimed to forge a title that would revolutionize the gaming community. Safe to say, PUBG managed to do just that.

The game doesn’t emphasize killing as much as it gives importance to decision-making. Thinking tactically is the way to go in PUBG and taking a shot doesn’t always feel like the right call, which is the main difference between PlayerUnknown’s and KotK.

Battlegrounds has definitely become the most popular BR title less than a year after its release, and although still buggy and in beta, it offers that Battle Royale feel that the online community has been craving for since the rise and fall of DayZ.

Fortnite’s Battle Royale game mode, on the other hand, appeared out of nowhere like a bolt of lightning; brushing aside H1Z1 and competing with PUBG for the BR crown. The game offers incredibly dynamic and fun gameplay, adding a unique factor to the equation: building.

Unlike the simple weapon-crafting recipes offered by KotK, Fortnite’s building mechanics turn the game into a unique Battle Royale that offers different styles of play that suit any gamer’s needs. It is viable to approach the game carefully and stealthy or extremely aggressively, building structures towards rivals to make hell rain from above.

The map size is also very different in Fortnite – it’s several times smaller than PUBG’s, which disregards the use of vehicles in favor of quick building.

Although each game offers a unique set of weapons, vehicles and skills, there is no doubt that PUBG and Fortnite come out on top. H1Z1’s gameplay might be fun and addicting, but it lacks the polished aspects of both its competitors – even though none of them have reached full release.

The visuals

Graphics bring a different vibe to each type of game, and there is no exception to that rule when talking about the three Battle Royale giants. Fortnite boasts cartoony, colorful graphics which give life to its dynamic gameplay. H1Z1 takes a different approach, aiming for semi-realistic yet widely unworked graphics (even for an early access title). PUBG, on the other hand, stays as realistic as possible, offering the most lifelike visuals out of the three games.

It is safe to say, though, that each game’s graphic style goes hand in hand with their gameplay. H1Z1’s visuals do feel like they fall a tad short, but Fortnite and PUBG have it absolutely spot on.

The audio

Battle Royale games require top quality sounds and ambient noises – especially those like PUBG and Fortnite that permit slow-paced gameplay. It is safe to say, each respective studio worked wonders with both of those games’ sound effects. Playing BattleRoyale with headphones is crucial to get oneself immersed into the game and get a good grasp of where the enemies are shooting from.

H1Z1 doesn’t come short on this department, though. Gunfire, explosions and other noises might not sound as good when comparing them to those of its two competitors, but they definitely suit King of the Kill perfectly.

Our thoughts on each game

Each game offers unique gameplay, so choosing which one to play depends entirely on specific preferences of each gamer. It is also important to keep in mind that none of these games are masterpieces, but none are on full release either. They can be bought cheaply and still have plenty of room to improve. Although the decision does befall on each gamer, it is without a speck of doubt that both PUBG and Fortnite are miles ahead than H1Z1 in every department.

KotK is still a fun game, but it still remains afloat thanks to an active and loyal player base that has embraced the buggy gameplay – which is exactly what you’d get with your purchase. It is recommended to try out KotK before entirely ruling it out, though – it is incredibly fun in its own way.

It’s tougher to decide which game is better between PUBG and Fortnite, as each one offer different things yet both maintain high levels of quality gameplay. Epic Games updates Fortnite on a weekly basis, adding new features and tweaking existing mechanics to improve the experience as a whole, while PlayerUnknown’s realism allows for higher levels of immersion and gives a new meaning to that rush of adrenaline the gamer feels when shooting down an enemy.

FIFA 18 Review

FIFA 2018 Digital Game DownloadScore: 8.5/10

The release of this year’s FIFA feels like a slim ray of hope is beginning to shine through the cracks of the broken game mechanics and wrongly-programmed AI defending that plagued FIFA 17. The demo had already given us a sneak peak of what we could expect from the game: better AI teams, smooth-as-silk dribbling, and the return of sorely-missed long shots. Sure enough, FIFA 18 has its fair share of flaws a few weeks into its much-anticipated release, but the gameplay feels fresh, fun and dynamic.

This year, we also have the return of Alex Hunter in the second chapter of The Journey, FIFA 17’s groundbreaking story mode. This year, the story sets a new focal point, prioritizing cut scenes rather than repetitive gameplay. Hunter’s story is narrated in 6 different chapters that polish the foundations laid by EA Sports last year, adding new customization options for Alex which are linked entirely to the way you decide to play the game.

Although the dialogues might often feel dull, there is a clear difference in the way the story was handled in comparison to its introductory season, including a vast array of new features in the menus that give you the chance to take control of Hunter in a very enjoyable and inventive manner.

There is one thing that should be pointed out before diverting ourselves towards FIFA 18’s gameplay: visuals. The graphics offered in this year’s installment are sublime; each stadium makes you feel as if you were really there and new customized crowd audio improves an already magnificent experience and turns it into a carousel of adrenaline.

Gameplay wise, passing has become more important than pace, and although the latter still plays a crucial role in the game, it is more rewarding to employ tiki-taka football than in any other installment from the last decade. As a matter of fact, passing on its own makes FIFA 18 worth a try. The passes are a perfect mix between accurate and realistic, mainly with EA’s latest patch that fixed an issue which caused players to pass the ball accurately regardless of the direction they were facing. Now, everything feels just like the beautiful game is meant to be played.

Dribbling has to be one of the most noticeable changes this year as well. Players move considerably better than ever and new animations help the user feel more immersed with the game as they no longer need to divert their focus towards controlling the infamous input lag – a recurrent issue since FIFA’s transition from old-gen to current-gen.

The introduction of new features to classic game modes also feels like a breath of fresh air. Ultimate Team has been revamped to favor those who don’t like to play online with the launch of Squad Battles, where players can test their skills against AI controlled teams in order to obtain in-game currency. Online gameplay doesn’t fall short, though. The return of FUT Champions brings back the competitive edge offered by its predecessor, although shamefully it’s still structured like it was in FIFA 17, with a time-consuming Weekend League format that is sure to change in the near future.

PS4, PC and Switch users will be glad to hear that old school players aren’t restricted to Xbox users anymore. The so called ‘Legends’ have been replaced by Icons and they are available for purchase on all consoles and PC, which means you’ll be able to combine some of the world’s top actual players with classic legends like Pelé, Maradona or Beckenbauer.

Moving on to Career Mode, it has to be said that improvements could’ve been tastier, but the introduction of cut scenes when negotiating new contracts and transfers gives that extra bit of realism that this game mode has been desperately needing for years. There’s still a lot of untapped potential within career mode, but this year definitely means a step in the right direction by EA Sports.

There is one main let down that needs to be pointed out, though.

There was a very important aspect present in the game up until the release of EA’s first patch: a clear skill-gap reflected in each match’s result. The removal of overpowered AI defending mechanics forced players to be more self-aware of the movement of both their own center-halves and the opponents’ forwards. Choosing to control a midfielder to chase the rival player in control of the ball wasn’t a viable option anymore, as forwards would simply storm through the defensive line, leaving the keeper exposed countless times per game.

The skill-gap was reduced once again after the first patch in order to help newer players adapt to the game in an easier fashion. AI defending became incredibly useful once again, and although the crazy score lines didn’t feel exactly right before the patch, they did mean the presence of a clear gap between top players and casual gamers.

Oddly enough, the decision to bring back AI defending affects pro-players more than anybody else, which has surely risen some eyebrows considering that EA had already given a statement of intent towards introducing FIFA into the eSport scene with last year’s debut of FUT Champions. It’s not a game-breaking change by any means, but the considerable amount of AI mistakes could be tweaked down in order to promote a better field of play – especially in competitive matches.

Nevertheless, the decision helps a vast majority of players that will not feel helpless anymore when trying to defend against the likes of Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Our thoughts on the game

FIFA 18 still has its fair share of flaws and it’s not ready to jump into eSports just yet, but this year’s release is, without a doubt, the best football game ever made when taking into account everything that it offers. It doesn’t matter if you like dribbles, passes or long shots, every fan of the beautiful game should get a hold of this beauty.