Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 is one of those games you can sink a lot of time into. There is of course the primary storyline, but you have a variety of online match options, the parallel quests, the different trainers, timed bonus events and more that can spring up at any given time. I sunk a lot of time into this title over the weekend and still have a ways to go before completing everything I want to. So over the holiday weekend, I decided to pair my play time experience with a fall favorite of mine, Blueberry Maple Stout by Saugatuck Brewing Company.
Now, if you read our review on Xenoverse 2, you’ll know that by and large PY enjoyed his time with the game (it scored a 7.75 out of 10 with him). There are some long load times (seems like a good time to sip on that beer), and plenty of padding – especially in the game’s early hours (another good time to pick up that beer), but by and large with so many things to do and done well, Xenoverse 2 is just a whole lot of fun to play.
The early going is a lot of customization of your character and plugging through some basic story notes as you bounce from one location to the other, getting a feel for the hub city that connects everything. From shops to different kinds of missions and training and of course the core story, I admit my early hours were mostly just spent trying to learn my way around. This was greatly assisted by the quick travel spots however, which let you zip around the expansive city pretty quickly. I admit it might have been nice to have a lightweight quest log of some sort so I could see exactly what the farmer at Guru’s house needed for his crops instead of having to remember it or write it down.
The theme here that makes Xenoverse work so well is that it takes something pretty standard – a storyline we have all seen over and over (and over and over) again through the years, at least if you are a Dragon Ball fan (which I would assume you are if this game appeals to you). It shakes things up though with a storyline about time travel and altering known events. Fanfiction writers should love the whole AU / what-if scenarios at play here, though I’d love to see the development team take these down further paths. Instead of maybe going to the source of the trouble, you find a misaligned event in current times and then trace it back through a series of hops that take you to the origin of the time discrepancy. They could really dive into some interesting hypothetical scenarios that way, with characters who maybe died that shouldn’t have, or are still alive but normally would not be or with far different relations (romantic or friendly) that need to be ‘fixed’ by going back. Anyways, that is just some musing on my part to where the development team could try to do something different with this basic approach in a future release.
Now, as I mentioned in my last Beeps and Beers article, it’s getting a little chilly up here in Michigan these days, and that tends to see my tastes veer more towards darker, heavier beers such as stouts and porters. And while I love the style in general, I really enjoy seeing breweries shake it up and do something unexpected with them as well, perhaps not unlike how Xenoverse tackled an overly-familiar storyline.
Saugatuck Brewing Company is another Michigan based brewery, and they have a lot of beers where they try to do some different things with the style and flavor combinations. This one is probably my favorite however. On co-worker aptly described this beer as blueberry pancakes in a bottle. Now, if the idea of eating liquid pancakes makes you uneasy (my wife looked a bit ill when I shared that description with her, though in fairness she doesn’t like any beer or does she play video games – needless to say she is not my target audience for these articles and sometimes I wonder what she ever saw in me, but that’s a whole different topic), then perhaps this one’s not for you.
Pouring a very dark brown, almost black color with a somewhat dark tan head that dissipates quickly, the aroma of both blueberry and maple are very strong. There were notes of coffee on the nose too (so basically breakfast in a bottle? Just because this article is posting at 8am doesn’t mean I recommend drinking a beer at 8am. But if you were to drink this one for breakfast? No judgment from me.) after I gave it a pretty hard pour into the glass.
I was surprised to find that the blueberry taste is actually more subdued than the scent. The maple is the stronger of the two novelty flavors. Given the style, I’m not surprised that it doesn’t have more of a bready/biscuity flavor to help emulate pancakes (which are shown on the label but would probably better represent itself in a brown ale than a stout). In fact, my biggest complaint about this stout is that the mouthfeel is just a little thin given everything else that is going on here. Now, I personally prefer a sweet stout, so this one leaving that blueberry maple aftertaste on the back of my tongue was welcome, but it is not going to be for everyone.
With a pretty average (for a stout) ABV of 6% and the unique flavor that makes it one I enjoyed at noon or nine at night, this was a flavorful stout that I was sipping over the weekend while playing Xenoverse 2. It helps that while this is in fact an action game, Xenoverse is for better and for worse a somewhat repetitive one. I am one of those guys who has reached very high levels while mostly spamming away at the light attack button. The combat looks flashier and more intricate than it is, though there are moves and skills that can add some depth to it. After having a few of these beers I was not ready to take on the world of online play (I lost my first three matches pretty badly before I realized how to adapt my strategy for people versus the far less capable computer AI), but unlike some games where a few drinks really hurt my gaming performance, Xenoverse 2 continued to cruise along beautifully over the holiday weekend.
Certainly the Blueberry Maple Stout is a novelty beer, but it is a really well-made overall novelty that I can recommend to those who like sweet stouts. If you dislike fruit in your beer (I have a few friends who hate it) or prefer a thicker, less sweetened stout then this one probably isn’t for you. However, I think it would make an excellent gateway stout for your friends who maybe haven’t tried or had luck with the style previously if they have an inclination towards sweeter flavors.
Article by Nick