While there have been quite a few Dragon Ball fighting games since the manga and anime first debuted, Dragon Ball Xenoverse uses a unique battle system that takes a few pages from previous games, combines them with techniques from other fighting games and adds a few things that aren’t found anywhere else to create a battle system that may be difficult to grasp. There’s a lot to cover when it comes to the battle system in Xenoverse, so we’ll start with the basics and move on from there. If you haven’t already read our combat impressions from the network beta, be sure to check them out for another take on the battle system. 

Weak Attacks, Strong Attacks and Combos 

At the base of the battle system in Dragon Ball Xenoverse are your basic melee attacks. These consist of a weak attack and strong attack that can be chained together to create combos. In most combos, if any hit connects, all attacks that follow in the combo will also connect. There are exceptions to this rule, especially when dealing with heavy attacks, but that’s the basic principle of the combo system. 

In some cases, holding down the heavy attack button can charge heavy attacks. This generally creates an attack that will break an opponent’s defense if he or she tends to block more often than not. Charged heavy attacks and throws are the most common ways to get through an opponent’s guard. It’s also common to end a combo with a Super Attack or Ultimate Attack for big damage. 

You can pause the game to view a combo list for your character. Keep in mind that weak attacks are generally faster than heavy attacks, but inflict less damage. Meanwhile, heavy attacks execute slower, but hit harder. If you’re fighting against a speedy opponent, starting combos with weak attacks will work better than heavy attacks. 

Back Attacks

One of the easiest ways to escape a combo is to use the Vanish technique. This ability moves you behind the opponent, away from whatever attack you were being hit with. However, if you use the Vanish ability, the opposing player can use a back attack to hit you. Back attacks are performed by pressing back on the analog stick and an attack button (depending on the character). These can also be executed mid-combo as a reaction to the opponent using Vanish. The timing can be a bit tricky to hit the opponent with a Back attack after a Vanish, but with practice, you’ll be able to do it with relative ease. 

Throws 

One of the easiest ways to get through an opponent’s defense is by using throws. By pressing the Block and Ki Blast button, your character will grab the opponent (even if he or she blocks) and toss them away. Most throws create a moderate amount of distance between you and the opponent, and can be useful in team battles when you need to clear out one opponent so you can focus on another. In general, throws do not inflict much damage, so don’t rely on them to win matches. In addition, they aren’t the fastest attacks in the game, which means you can be interrupted by a weak attack from a faster character if you’re not careful about when and how you use a throw. 

Ki Blasts 

Ki Blasts are the default projectile attack in Dragon Ball Xenoverse. In general they do not inflict much damage, but they can hold an opponent in place. This can be useful in team battles as a way to open up an opponent so your teammates can start a combo or land a Super or Ultimate Attack. If you press the Ki Blast button one time, it throws a single projectile. However if you hold down the button, your character throws a barrage of projectile attacks. During the barrage, if the opponent gets hit by one attack, the rest will almost always connect unless they use Vanish or some other evasive ability.

Vanish 

The default evasive ability in Xenoverse is the Vanish technique. This allows you to teleport behind an opponent while being attacked. You can also use it offensively to follow an opponent after knocking him or her away. If you use Vanish while blocking an attack, it consumes one bar from your Stamina meter. If you use it while being hit, Vanish consumes two bars from your Stamina meter. Be careful when using Vanish because an opponent can predict you’re about to use it and hit you as soon as you appear behind them. 

Guard Breaks 

When your Stamina meter completely depletes, you enter a Guard Break state. While in a Guard Break state, your character will not be able to use any Stamina-based abilities (including Vanish and blocking) until you have a full Stamina meter. This essentially leaves your character defenseless for a moderate amount of time and should be avoided at all costs. 

Keep a close eye on your Stamina meter to ensure you don’t run out of Stamina at a crucial moment during a battle. Remember that you lose a great deal of Stamina when you block a Super Attack or Ultimate Attack. It’s not uncommon for an opponent to use an Ultimate Attack with the intention of getting the attack blocked so it drains your Stamina meter and causes a Guard Break. 

Just Guard 

One of the best defensive techniques in Xenoverse is the Just Guard ability. If you press the block button at the moment an opponent’s attack is about to make contact, your character will perform a Just Guard. This technique can be used in Ki Blasts as well as melee attacks. When timed correctly, your character replenishes Stamina and stuns the opponent for a short time. If you master the Just Guard technique, it will be extremely difficult for an opponent to inflict damage without using Super Attacks or Ultimate Attacks. The timing may be difficult for some players, but it’s well worth any time you put into mastering the technique. 

If you’re just starting Dragon Ball Xenoverse, read our Race Comparison guide to find the best race for your created character.