+Transitions well to hand-held and docked modes on Nintendo Switch
+Even the graphical downgrades don’t take away from the games overall appeal
+Combat shines even on the Nintendo Switch
+Load times have been significantly reduced
-Small audio bugs can cause some voice queues to come in louder than others
-While playing online via handheld mode, battery decay speeds up, and shortens the handheld experience
Growing up, Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z were large parts of my childhood. For me, they were the epitome of what entertainment was, and they easily began to triumph over any of the animated franchises I’d been watching at the time. With the recent releases of Dragon Ball franchise themed games, it was only time before we’d begin to wonder if we’d ever see one land on the Nintendo Wii U or Nintendo Switch.
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While the Wii U certainly didn’t see a single one of these games, Dragon Ball has always seemed a perfect fit for the Nintendo brand. After all, they’ve been good friends for quite some time, and we’ve seen numerous titles find a home on their handhelds in recent years. Unfortunately, the Wii U seemed as if it would be one that wouldn’t serve as a home for the games.
On the other hand, it seemed Bandai Namco would set their eyes on the Nintendo Switch thanks to its portability, power, and installed user base, it seems the Nintendo Switch would make the perfect home for Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2. Serving as a follow up to Dragon Ball Xenoverse, a game that allowed players to make their own Z Fighter within the franchises universe, players partook in some of the franchises most renowned battles and events.
Unlike most traditional reviews, however, we aren’t going to be discussing the games core mechanics from the start, what we will be discussing in its place is much more interesting: How well the game converted over to its Nintendo Switch version. To start our lengthy review process, over the course of a month, David and myself took part in several separate tests. One of the first we did was how well the game looks while docked versus being in handheld mode.
Graphics in Docked Versus Handheld
Due to the lower power of the hardware that Xenoverse 2 is on, there are a few compromises that were made. First off is the games overall graphics are still gorgeous, even being crammed onto the Nintendo Switch. To help make the comrpomise for the Nintendo Switch version, Bandai Namco has noticeably cut down on anti-aliasing, particle effects, and shadowing.
While the game does maintain its anime-style glory, we do see that this much has been dulled down in order for it to perform as we would expect on the Nintendo Switch. Another significant change is the draw distance, which seems to have been cut back just a tad bit more. While this much is true, we can still appreciate the fact the game is gorgeous while in both docked and handheld modes. While docked, the game does show off its glory at 900p, seemingly having a bit more anti-aliasing to it, particle effects, and shading as far as shadows are concerned.
In handheld, the game sits at a solid 720p, performing just as we would expect. Draw distance has been reduced, graphics as far as outlining, anti-aliasing, and even the amount of detail presented on each of the games characters. But even with its graphics, what should we expect from the games performance due to this newer version.
Performance for Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 for Switch
During our time with the game, we did take note of several things regarding performance. This pertains to frame-rate and battery usage. Since this game is on the Switch, these are important options we need to discuss. First off, frame rate sits between 60 fps and 30 fps depending on the mode you have it in. For the docked mode, we noticed framerates seemed to stay around a solid 60 frames per second while in combat and 30 outside of combat.
But what’s interesting about this is the fact the game, while in story-mode only stayed at a solid 30 frames depending on where you were at, but while fighting against other players, this changed to a steady 50, never once dipping down. For those coming out of story mode, this could seem a bit jarring as they would have to readjust and reacquaint themselves with faster paced combat mechanics. Our biggest question was here regardless: why didn’t they do this across the board while playing docked? Was this a choice made to keep combat intense between players or was it to keep up with their renowned ultra-high quality experience with the Dragon Ball universe?
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Secondly, we did take note of battery life while in handheld mode. During our initial playthrough, we did notice that frame rates, momentarily, did seem short during some of the games more intense moments. During a full to dead charge, depending on if we had auto-brightness on or not, we did notice that the the battery life, during Dustin’ time with the game, average somewhere near 4-5 hours depending on what he was doing.
While online, he did notice several things. One his battery life was quite shorter even with higher framerates, but he also noticed, even with resolutions down, it seemed that the game would sometimes hiccup, bottoming at times below the 60 fps experience he had previously had. Battery life itself also diminished quite significantly, lasting somewhere near 2.5 to 3 hours at most.
While this may seem detrimental to the experience, it doesn’t mean that this option is a bad experience at all for those wanting to throw down a few fights while on the go. While the small dip in frame rate seemed a tad bit frustrating, it is worth noting that the experience itself is worth giving a chance as it is quite enjoyable. Even with these subtle changes, we actually found this version the best version of the game, and mostly due to the fact it is rather portable and fun to play while on the go.
But what about sound quality? Does it remain intact or do we find it also mildly changed to help it work on the Nintendo Switch or does it seem to work out without any cuts in production value?
Does Audio see any Sacrifices in Order to Play Nice With the Switch?
The short answer? No. We didn’t notice any changes in the games audio files except for one minor annoyance. When fighting the Saibaman, we did notice that sound effects seem quite a bit louder than the rest, causing us to cringe at the thought of possibly damaging our Switch’s speakers while in handheld mode. While some can look past this, we do think this is worth noting as it does affect the game all around for those looking for one small gripe to be had.
Besides that small nuisance, Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 doesn’t suffer any audio bugs or queue troubles on the Nintendo Switch and delivers the experience we were hoping for.
To Pro Controller or Not to Pro Controller?
One of the biggest debates we’ve had while working on this game was whether or not to use a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. Not because the Joy-Cons are bad, but rather because they can cramp your hands during long sessions of gameplay, and the weird locations of the Joy-Con’s even while using the Joy-Con Comfort Grip.
The truth is? You may want to grab a Pro Controller if you plan on having long sessions of this game on your TV. After all, some gamers do prefer this mode, and would prefer to have the comfort of their hands holding a slightly larger controller. If you are one of these folks, then the Pro Controller is your answer. If not, you may want to consider using the Comfort Grip to help you play Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2.
This is mostly due to the fact this game is extremely fast paced and will require a lot of attention to details while moving in 360-degree action during combat.
Last, but not Least – Load Times.
Since this review is more on the technical side, we do have to talk about the games load times, and if it keeps up with its more high-end counterparts. The truth-be-told, this version is definitely faster than its brother-and-sister versions.
Load times more often than not, were less than 10 seconds, and saw me transitioning between combat zones, Canton City, and cutscenes much quicker than its PlayStation 4 iteration had.
While this could be due to the lower graphic settings or details, we can only assume that Bandai Namco and developer Dimps took time to repair some of this games minor nuisances in order to deliver an optimal experience on the Nintendo Switch.
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 – Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Release Date: Available Now
When it comes to reviewing a game such as Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 for the Nintendo Switch, it’s hard not to want to talk about its amazing story, online fighting components or even its overall appeal. Due to the Switch version being a ported version of an already existing game, we have to look at the technicalities and tech analysis more than anything else.
Fortunately for Bandai Namco, this works out in their games favor, and allows us to really discuss the under-the-hood specifics. With those tackled, we’re able to discuss our exact thoughts about the game and what we hope to see come of it. Because of this, our review hits home, and delivers exactly what we had hoped for in this seemingly definitive edition of the game.
Our review is based upon a retail version that was provided to us by the games publisher. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 8 out of 10
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.