Dragon Ball Xenoverse Impressions

So I borrowed Dragon Ball Xenoverse and played it a bit with a friend last night. We enjoyed playing the PS2 Budokai Tenkaichi games in versus mode and wanted to see if Xenoverse is anything like those games. Turned out we couldn't just go and check out the multiplayer right off the bat, because local versus mode is locked behind a good hour of solo content. And the game doesn't notify you when you're able to use the mode. Who thought that would be a good idea? Oh well.
Sadly we were quickly disappointed when we finally got to experience this game's local versus mode. It felt like the devs cheaply tacked it on in the last week of their development schedule. A real bummer. The game is a step back towards the PS2 era of 3D versus Dragon Ball games, which is good because the games on the PS3 weren't as fun, but it's still not quite there. The controls don't feel so good because they mapped some functions awkwardly to the shoulder buttons. You have to press the left stick to descend, press L1 to guard and hold L2 if you want to dodge. The combat itself is otherwise ok. It's Budokai Tenkaichi somewhat simplified, as you apparently can no longer choose the direction of your attacks and guards. As for the single player mode, I can't say that I'm a fan. The combat is a bit too repetitive for that. It might get better later on when you get more items and skills though. But the game doesn't excite me enough to bother playing much further.
However the part where you create and customize your own character is dope. We made a pink Frieza with a long nose and Cell-like chin, and then gave him sunglasses. The guy looks hilarious (considering he was summoned to play the role of a hero), so we had quite a blast with the game despite its flaws thanks to this feature

Pink Frieza in action

The story mode is all about building your character. By doing quests you can level up and raise your stats, acquire new equipment and skills to equip and play story missions to help Trunks and the time patrol to fight off bad guys. At its core it's a great game, but the so-so combat experience really pulls it down. For this kind of game I also feel that the hub world is abit too large. Especially early on you'll find yourself just walking around and talking to NPCs only to figure out that you can't do anything yet in this game. At least the visuals are really nice. Cutscenes in this game are well directed and graphically detailed. The characters in this game's story scenes look more bruised up than they do in the currently airing Dragon Ball Super anime. Which I consider a good thing. But nevermind the single player. It's really too bad the offline multiplayer mode is so lacking. There's only 1 arena, no character win or starting quotes and animations, no announcer and you play both on one screen so you can't move towards and away from your opponent as freely as you could in the PS2 games. Also you can't can't make more than a single custom character from the start so it's sad we couldn't create some other hilarious guy to have our Pink Frieza fight against. :(
I can't say much about the music because the game barely has any. Or at least that's how it feels. The bits of the OST I've heard in the few hours we played were so flat that the game might as well have no music at all and it wouldn't make a difference. All things considered I don't know if or to whom I'd recommend this game. With some more polish in the local multiplayer part and the combat a bit more dynamic it would be a great game. But in it's current state it just feels flat and boring. Which is too bad because the character customization feature is reallly cool.