Month: March 2015

Dragon Ball Xenoverse: Why is this Game so Polarizing?


This is an actual move, not a cinematic, and it never gets old :p

Dragon Ball Xenoverse has been one of those rare cases where particular elements are being bashed by one critic and praised by another.  We have many reviewers raving about the game and many others that it just doesn’t click with. Meanwhile, the user reviews are significantly more positive than those from the critics, meaning this game certainly has an audience. 

After the break, we’ll explore what it is about this game that is causing such a love/hate divide.

First off, the combat system is a tad peculiar. The game borrows a lot of ideas from Dragon Ball: Battle of Z. In fact, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to call this game a sequel to it. However, this game has made improvements to the system through the use of special attacks as combos.  Unlike in Battle of Z, special attacks can be chained together with regular attacks allowing the player to create their own combos. Without fully exploring this system, combat in the game feels stale, resulting in some of the negative opinions.  Aside from having more freedom to chain together special attacks, the system has other welcome improvements.  Characters are no longer impervious to attack the moment a combo ends meaning that team battles open up the possibility for some truly amazing combos with your teammates, as well as the ability to get incredibly irritated with your enemies.  Characters are still invulnerable when knocked onto the ground, however it doesn’t feel as stiff as it did in Battle of Z thanks to the change in what triggers that invulnerability, as stated earlier. This doesn’t mean that you will be trapped in an infinite combo if you are outnumbered, but it does mean you want to find a teammate fast.  Despite all of the improvements, the game still isn’t as deep as what was seen in Budokai Tenkaichi 2 and 3, and I believe that is ultimately why the combat system is considered to be disappointing for many.

Despite the improved combat system, the game has an odd focus on your created character and only your created character. It is built like an RPG/MMORPG, yet most of the depth in the combat comes from playing the canonical characters.  For the first time since Burst Limit, fighters truly feel unique. The same button combo with one character won’t do the same thing with another, and because of the aforementioned chaining of special moves, this is a big deal.  Players need to learn the character they play as in order to do well. No longer is the game a battle of who picked the strongest character, although that admittedly still plays a role.  For those that haven’t played the game yet, this may not sound like a problem at all, in fact, it is a great thing.  The issue however, is that the game never encourages you to play as anything but your created character.  The purpose of questing is to build up your character for the next story mission, and the player is limited to his/her created character in those missions. In order to play as the canonical characters, the player must go to the online/offline battle counter and play a match that doesn’t count towards anything other than rewarding your time with a little bit of money. Even if you play your created character in these matches, you won’t get any experience for your efforts. These matches are not worked into the RPG-esque progression path in any way, making either the RPG system or the battle system feel out of place, depending on your perspective.

With that said, the game’s RPG elements aren’t fleshed out as much as they should be, which is odd since that is the primary focus of the game. The unique fighting styles of each character in battle mode bring out this flaw even more.
Every single created Saiyan character will attack the same way as every other created Saiyan character and the same is true for each of the five races.  As stated before, the player can change their special moves, which do offer a good bit of freedom, but it isn’t enough for a game that pushes you to play as one single character for hours and hours. Without a staggering amount of depth, playing one character ad nauseam makes the combat feel bland, which makes the critiques against the game fully justified.  Another feature of the game which makes the design decisions seem even more boneheaded is the Mentor system which allows you to choose a mentor and learn their special moves.
This sounds like a great idea, right? It is, however it would be nice if they did more with it. You only learn their special moves. The system should have been designed so that your created character could adopt the master’s fighting style as well as their special techniques. Ultimately, the Mentor system is a real tease for what it could have been, although not bad when taken for what it is.

On the topic of half-hearted design, the ally AI in Dragon Ball Xenoverse is certainly lacking. When I say it is lacking, I mean it is visibly lacking. In this case, a video speaks louder than words. That is only one of many examples of the frustrating ally AI in this game though. Your fellow computers will often get stuck on a path to revive you, stand just outside your healing circle, or flat out ignore that you are dead, only to be pummeled because they are too incompetent to fight back. Don’t worry, the enemies will always be able to get to you and beat you up if you are in their line of sight, and they’ll do it noticeably better than your offline companions. But bad team AI shouldn’t be such a problem since the game is multiplayer focused, right?
As of the date this article is posted, playing online is totally unreliable. The connection to the server is constantly shaky, causing a return to the home screen. In a few cases, the game has been caught in an infinite loop while trying to login, forcing me to completely shut down the game and start it back up. The problem is significantly worse on the PC version, forcing the player to put Steam into offline mode in order to play the game at all. On console, or at least on PS4, it is an inconvenience since selecting the single player lobby is truly single player.  As an addendum, online is only available for regular battles and parallel quests, not story quests, so the player will still need to put up with shoddy AI in the story. Because the ally AI is awful, the game can be a little difficult.

Actually, Dragon Ball Xenoverse is ******* hard!  The difference between this game’s difficulty and games such as Dark Souls or Shovel Knight is that Dragon Ball Xenoverse throws out enemies that do more damage and have more health than you, and not by a little bit. Since the beginning of gaming, this has been the easy method of creating difficulty and it can be frustrating.  The game forces the player to grind through parallel quests, which are the non-story quests that can be completed in order to gain loot and level up, and then take on the next saga of the story. For a skilled player, he/she may only need to play through the parallel quests one time in order to get strong enough, but it will be a struggle.

With all of that said, I came to a realization the other day: This is exactly how the storyline of Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z worked. Some villain shows up that can take more hits and do more damage than ever seen before, so now all the heroes need to get stronger to face the new evil, or die anyway if their names are Krillin or Yamcha. I don’t want to excuse the lazy design, but I can’t completely hate it either. It truly feels like you are a Dragon Ball character and it feels rewarding to win. Again, a skilled player can conquer an overpowered enemy. It isn’t all about stats.

All things considered, Dragon Ball Xenoverse is a great game with a mediocre presentation. The best features of the game are tucked away so that the player needs to find them, the AI leaves much to be desired and the RPG elements needed just a little more time in the oven.  Overall, it is a fantastic game for Dragon Ball fans, although it will disappoint those wanting a great fighter or a great RPG. It is instead a good brawler, possibly misunderstood, with RPG elements that weren’t quite fully realized, and that is why I think the game is so polarizing. There is a lot to like and a few big things to hate, so it comes down to what the player expects from the game and what they can tolerate.

A golden opportunity!

Hey you,

Yeah you,

Are you a college student? Do you play video games? Are you tired of all these questions? I know I am! Well let me explain where I'm getting at with all this interrogation.


Blizzard Entertainment and TeSPA are offering both undergrads and graduate students in the North America region a chance to win up to $25,000 a year by competing in its Heroes of the Dorm tournament.

Now what exactly do you have to do?

Step 1: Sign up your team, the team itself is comprised of five individuals.
Step 2: Compete Online with your team through group stages in the Open Qualifying rounds..
Step 3: Advance to the Top 64 Single Elimination Bracket Play.
Step 4: Prove your skills in the Heroic Four at the Live Finals Event.
Psst, by the way, it'll be televised live on ESPN for all of your family and friends to see.

To enter your team now just follow this link here: Registration and get gaming!

Now here's what makes this worth the while.

Prizes Include:
Winning Team: The five players on the winning team will earn the tuition for their college career!

  • Fourth year students on the winning team can win up to $25,000 to pay back college expenses

Top 4 Teams: Epic Gaming System for Heroes of the Storm

  • Each member of the winning team will receive:
  • Intel i7-4790K CPU
  • GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-Gaming 7 Motherboard
  • GIGABYTE GTX 960 series Graphics Card
  • Intel 530 Series 180GB SSD
  • 8GB (4x2) 2133 MHz DDR3 Memory
  • Rosewill Star Predator Case
  • Rosewill PSU: Arc 750
  • HyperX Cloud II Headset
  • SteelSeries Heroes of the Storm Mousepad

* Also includes an all expenses paid trip to the Finals.

Top 64 Teams: Teams that make it to the Round of 64 will receive a $40 Balance Card to help you stock up on heroes for the competition ahead.

·         All Teams: Free Beta Access

The prizes don't stop there!

Not only are Blizzard and TeSPA giving away prizes just for showing interest in the game, but they are also giving away prizes for those who compete it it's Fantasy Pick's during the tournament. Here are the prizes:

Top 5 Predictions will each receive

  • Epic Gaming System for Heroes of the Storm
  • HyperX Cloud II Headset
  • SteelSeries Heroes of the Storm Mousepad
  • Top prediction will also receive $10,000!

25 Randomly Selected Winners will get one of the following

  • Epic Gaming System for Heroes of the Storm (x5)
  • SteelSeries Heroes of the Storm Gaming Mouse (x10)
  • HyperX Cloud II Headset (x5)
  • SteelSeries Heroes of the Storm Mousepad (x5)

    • All Fantasy Bracket Participants Exclusive
    • Exclusive "Heroes of the Dorm" in-game Azmodan Portrait

Registration is going fast, so you better get going soon!

As always, Keep playing!

(Photos Courtesy of Blizzard)

BlazBlue Fighting Its Way To PS4, Xbox One

Fighting game fans rejoice! BlazBlue is making its way to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, according to Aksys Games' official BlazBlue website. BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma Extend (try saying that three times fast) will feature a newly revamped Guard system, additional story mode scenarios, and two new playable characters, Celica A. Mercury and Lambda-11.

The game will also be coming to PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. The given release date is Summer 2015. That's coming up pretty fast, so be sure to have your arcade sticks ready in time.

[Image: Aksys Games]

Andrew J Amideo

Day 1: Pax East

As the title states, today started PAX East and boy did it start with a bang.
A couple notable games such as Overwatch, Splatoon, and The Behemoth's Game kept the headlines flowing with tons of information.

Blizzard announced the release of two new characters for Overwatch named Zarya and McCree. IGN's Vince Ingenito and Mitch Dyer were two of the first players to get their hands in the ring and give the new characters a go.

Up first, McCree a very hard hitting, high damaging character that attacks with rapid fire pulling in tons of damage. Upon  triggering his ult, it slows down time and gives guaranteed hits. "Mcree does not seem as useful of a character compared to Zarya," quoted Dyer. Zarya being the second released, was introduced as a heavy hitting support character, that can be used in both offensive and defensive situations.  However, these new characters are still in the testing phases and could be subjected to change at any point.

Next up Splatoon, you're a squid, in a platoon. Literally!

Ingenito was also roaming the halls and was able to snag a few minutes of update game play of the highly anticipated Nintendo game. The game was originally announced last year at E3 and hasn't had a ton of new information released on it, until now. The game's creators, when coming up with the concept, decided to make a game that did not focus on KDR ratio, but rather the tactics of teamplay and map coverage.

"You aren't looking for enemies to kill, you're scanning the mini-map to find areas that need painting, and wherever blue paint meets orange paint, you can almost always expect a firefight to happen." - Ingenito


Another big hitting game at PAX was The Behemoth's Game, tentively titled Game 4. A brand new title game, that is completely different from anything you've played before. A turn based RPG, but with one big condition. You can move your character, but cannot control their abilities. This game can be only described with one word quirky, though it comes with enough cartoon violence to sedate even the weirdest cravings.

Behemoth, most widely known for Battleblock theater and Castle Crashers, has been working on Game 4 for some time now, with no definite release date. This game will first be released for XBOX One and PC, but it's not meant to be an exclusive.

Check back for more exciting details as PAX East rolls along.

(Photos Courtesy of Behemoth/Blizzard/Nintendo)