Dragonball XenoVerse

Not even the mighty Dr. Gero could create something as amazing as this!

Dragonball XenoVerse puts you in the place of a Time Patroller on a mission to correct the timeline from the Dragonball series. While this may sound confusing to begin with it’s actually a pretty cool concept that involves alternate timelines, fighting the classic battles, facing the classic enemies, and doing all sorts of neat things with your character.

It’s not a fighting game, however. Not purely. It also features RPG elements such as distributing attribute points, finding/buying new equipment, having your own custom character, and choosing your skill set from a wide range of skills in the Dragonball universe. It features a really enjoyable combat system which (in my opinion) never gets old or feels stale. It’s quite amazing how I enjoy the combat now just as much- if not more- than when I first started playing. This title also features incredible graphical presentation which fits the universe perfectly.

Character creation consists of choosing the race of your character and deciding on their features. Until you clear the final Saga in the Time Nest (not including the secret Saga) you won’t be able to make any other characters, but, once you’ve finished the story, you can have up to eight. The different races are fun and all the staple choices are there- Namekians, Saiyans, Humans, Frieza Clansman, and so on. Each one has specific bonuses or better statistics in a particular area. Saiyans, as you would expect, have access to the Super Saiyan transformation (up to level two). Everyone else gets the Kaioken (up to x20).

The Super Saiyan transformation is by far the most useful, or the most overpowered, depending on how you see it, as it allows you to use Ki skills without any regard to cost. It does drain your Ki slowly as you use it- but it doesn’t stop you from firing a dozen Ultimate attacks in the process. You can either unlock or buy any of the transformation skills in Toki Toki City.

Toki Toki City is your base of operations and where you’ll be going between quests. You’ll find all manner of shops there to supply you with equipment, accessories, items, skills, and other goodies. You’ll also find a number of masters to train under who will teach you new techniques, unlock master specific bonuses, and provide master specific items. The Time Nest is also located here along with the Time Vault- both of which are useful in your timeline correcting activities. You can also level up while in town, change your skill set, change your equipment, and generally develop your character. Over time new things are unlocked in town, too. So always be sure to check back and see if anyone is selling anything new.

The core activities you’ll undertake are either completing the various Sagas in the Time Nest or participating in the many varied Parallel Quests. Both are fairly similar in their approach but they have different objectives, different conditions, and different rewards. Most Saga completions in the Time Nest will just award Zeni and experience. Parallel Quests reward a range of goodies including skills, items, transformations, and more along with the usual Zeni and experience.

There is a lot of content available in the base game along with DLC which (at the moment) expands into Dragonball GT. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable experience if you consider yourself a fan of the Dragonball universe that is only slightly marred by the randomisation, which makes unlocking everything quite a task, but doesn’t detract from the experience (in my opinion).

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie.

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood

It’s time to return to a place you know all so well long before you got there.

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is the prequel to the previous (and absolutely gorgeous) Wolfenstein: The New Order. Said to be originally designed as DLC for The New Order, but later polished and released as a standalone game, it is a roaring adventure that doesn’t leave anything out. While it is said to be a shorter experience than The New Order, it also comes in at £15.99, which is shy of the £29.99 RRP for The New Order, and I managed to get just over twenty hours out of the story. Which would put it at around half the time I spent playing the New Order. Overall, it won’t last as long- but it doesn’t lack secrets, collectibles, achievements, perks, and all sorts of other goodies.

The game starts with a rather standard prologue level which leads into the first of two stories, with each story lasting four chapters, where you will have to work towards different ends. There is a little more stealth than I remember in The New Order, however, the levels feel very unique, and they are fairly long if you explore and try to unlock as many things as possible.

Quite the view from way up here.

Quite the view from way up here.

It also features challenge maps which cover the various encounters you have throughout the prologue and eight story chapters. These combat maps test your skill at killing, surviving, using cover, breaking cover, and doing it as quickly as possible. When I finished the story at just over twenty hours (with all the collectibles) I still had the challenge maps left. So, there’s definitely more content when you’re done if you enjoy the combat in the newer Wolfenstein titles- and that’s really one of the highlights of the two.

The game progresses along a fairly unexpected path in places and gives slight hints towards things that will happen in The New Order (if you’ve already finished it) and in some cases the writing is fairly sad. Then again, you could hardly call either of the newer Wolfenstein titles jolly. Yet they do mix things up in this one. There are as many deaths related to the opposition as there are to indirect consequences of either the opposition, or the player, which make you think, and as always the voice acting is delivered in such a way that you can get attached to some of the characters quite quickly.

That said, it can be slightly disjointed if you’re expecting the fluid story progression from The New Order.

If you haven’t already played The New Order, and have both, then do start with this one- it will make you feel even more strongly about the events in The New Order. Unlike some prequels who throw names around, or painfully outline things, this is done with an amount of finesse. There are newly introduced characters and those little hints of the things you’ve done, the choices you’ve made, and who you saved and lost throughout the story. Some of the losses are almost unfair in their way.

Yet, that is the hallmark of what Machine Games is doing with the newer Wolfenstein titles in my opinion. It’s not just a mindless on the rails shooter. It’s something that you can enjoy, that you can experience, that will provoke an emotional response, and is a rarity in gaming in general.

It also leaves you on the edge for the conclusion of The New Order as while The Old Blood answers the question of where he came from, what is more important (to me) is where does he go next?

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie.

Wolfenstein: The New Order

I’m not usually one to play first person shooter titles but there was something about this one that really appealed to me.

So, let’s lay down the first thing this title does well- brutality. It can be quite an unsettling experience depending on your tolerance to blood, gore, psychological horror, and generally watching people getting sliced and diced while still breathing. It’s dark. It’s haunting. It’s pretty sickening in places. But that’s not a drawback by any stretch of the imagination, in fact, for the story and atmosphere, it’s quite a solid strength. It’s just whether you want to play a title that has those kind of things in it.

Of course the nature of a title like this is that there will be some element of gore, as you’re essentially a one man army and things are going to have more holes in them than a five year old pair of socks.

But, as mentioned above, it is one of the solid strengths for Wolfenstein: The New Order. It creates an atmosphere of unease, in cases of disgust, and it’s a motivated by revenge kind of story which really helps you to feel like you actually want to go out and shoot some oppressors. The story is excellent. It is probably one of the best stories I’ve ever played in a video game. It’s got a great deal of background if you look around, collect things, find the secrets, and generally talk to the people who are available for a chat in any of the sixteen chapters. That said, you never feel like you’re being sent on a wild goose chase and while the world is burning you’re looking for the last perfect turnip specimen to appease someone for minor reward.

Seems like you're about ready to explode.

Seems like you’re about ready to explode.

There isn’t much in the way of character development. You start with a maximum amount of health and armour and depending on which timeline you follow (and whether you collect the specific upgrades) you’re going to pretty much end with a slightly increased amount. It’s part of the challenge as you’re left wide open without many ways to make yourself invulnerable to damage. However, you can unlock Perks which allow you to do various things or carry more of certain items and these are really your character development options.

Most are unlocked by meeting a certain criteria and they can be unlocked early on or late in the game. There are some that do require a specific weapon, upgrade, or a combination of the two that mean they are unavailable until the pre-requisites are met.

The weapons you acquire are mostly standard firearms to begin with but can be upgraded in different ways at points in the game. The assault rifle you pick up at the very beginning can be upgraded to fire rockets, which, when dual-wielded, is pretty devastating but costly as rockets are quite rare. Also, yes, you did read that right- dual-wielding guns. Each fires independently, each can use a different mode or ammunition type, and each shares your overall pool of ammunition and resources. It gets better though! Dual wielding shotguns. Carnage. Brutality. Upgraded with the shrapnel shells and it’s like Christmas came early every single level. It’s one of the highlights of the title and it’s a way to differentiate the stealth and assault options.

Don’t worry, if sneaking around with a silenced pistol and a trusty trench knife is more your thing- there are options for that. I can’t really vouch for how well they will work in heavy fire situations but for clearing the opening of levels or new rooms it’s a pretty cool feature.

The main story is split into two different timelines and you’re free to switch back and forth between them from the chapter selection screen. The differences are there and there are different characters available in each but they are essentially working towards the same end, which, on the one hand, is great as the collectibles and secrets are covered for both once collected in one. However, if you’re looking for a new experience then you’re sadly not going to get an entirely new story. There is enough to it to make you want to complete both, though. So it’s a personal preference sort of thing.

As it goes I wasn’t really expecting much from Wolfenstein: The New Order, mostly out of personal preferences, and the fact that it didn’t really seem to have a lot to it, but after forty hours I’m still able to come back and do more than I’ve done before. It’s deeper than expected. The story is fantastic, the combat is engaging, the weapons are fun, the lack of character development besides Perks is actually quite refreshing, and I hope they’re going to expand on it with DLC as there’s so much scope to do so. It’s a great title. It’s one of those rare titles like Shadow Warrior that you find and play and as you play further you just fall in love with the whole experience. It’s really good- go buy it.

Now.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie.