Dragon Ball Xenoverse NYCC Hands-On: Next-Gen Graphics Impress, Demo Only Provides Small Window Into The Game

By Matthew Buzzi , Updated Oct 09, 2014 11:38 PM EDT

Dragon Ball Xenoverse will be the first title from the franchise to appear on the new generation of consoles, and we were able to go hands-on with the game at New York Comic Con.

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A demo version of the game is playable on PlayStation 4 at Bandai Namco's booth on the show floor, and it allows attendees to play through two fights.

The general concept of the game has not changed from past titles: fight across a fairly wide open battle arena against another character from the series. You're free to fly, blast, and punch your way across the terrain, and victory is achieved by depleting your foe's HP.

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The big feature being touted for Xenoverse is the ability to create your own character for the first time, which actually ties into the new campaign. A sinister figure is removing characters from the series' storylines, altering its history and negatively impacting the future. The character you create will take their place, filling in for the heroes so that good prevails over evil.

Unfortunately, the demo doesn't allow players to dive into this aspect of the game, but focuses only on some self-contained fights. You can choose between a number of characters such as Goku, Krillin, Vegeta, and others before the game pits you against two successive opponents.

It looks great right off the bat--the graphics and gameplay are clearly benefitting from the new hardware. The characters, lighting and effects look to have taken the step up you'd expect while remaining in the traditional anime style, and there are some neat bells and whistles.

In a smooth and non-disruptive way, the game will pull the camera in when using a special melee move, focusing in on a character as he gets punched in the face. The characters (mostly) intelligently face at the right angle while locked on to the opponent, removing the clumsy blast misses that occurred in past titles. As opposed to button combinations, a popup menu accessible by one trigger press holds the special abilities. You pull up the menu and simply select the corresponding attack, which your character initiates if able.

It will take some getting used to, and while I became more familiar with it, a short demo is not the ideal situation to learn the advanced controls for a fighting game. The fundamental melee controls and flight, while a bit difficult to get the hang of, work as well as they have in the past--there wasn't really a need to change them.

The demo represents a small snippet of the game, but the core combat seems intact and everything is great visually--fans should be looking forward to seeing more as the unspecified 2015 release date approaches.

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