DragonBall FighterZ is the game fans of the series have been waiting for. A perfect partnership with developer Arc System works. Now we are graced with their true technical brilliance in the art of fighting games paired with a brand that is all about high speed fighting. This is the fighting game Dragonball fans have been waiting for. But does it speak to all?
First off, I want you to know that Dragonball is a huge part of my life. I’ve grown up with it. Excitably sitting in front of the TV before school each morning waiting to see what new threat Goku and his friends would come up against next. I have played many Dragonball games over the years on several different platforms. Each time feeling like the titles were lacking a certain something. There are a few fans of the series who unfortunately weren’t pleased by this title either. But as a longtime fan I can say that I have finally found the experience I’ve been looking for all these years.
The fighting is lightning fast and thankfully, for those for may be wary to jump into a high intense action fighter like this, FighterZ grows with you as you play. FighterZ is extremely accessible to newcomers and Fighter genre noobs like myself. But don’t think this is easy either. FighterZ has an amazing balance, you can jump in and feel confident. Fans of fighting games will really be able to bring their A game here. Each match usually consists of 3v3, however there is the odd moment in story mode for example where it will be 3v1 or 1v1. But most of the time you have a team of 3. My best advice is to jump into training and get a feel for each character and see who feels like the best fit for you to use in online competition or local play with a friend.
FighterZ has a lot of special powers for its characters like super attacks. These can be pulled off in many different ways depending on which action you decide to take. Thankfully unlike other main stream fighting titles, FighterZ makes these actions easy for newcomers to pull these kinds of attacks off. These attacks use up KI/Energy, much like past Dragonball games and each attack or combo takes a certain amount of your team’s energy. Not to worry though as you can easily charge up and regain a full stack again and continue blasting away.
Along with super attacks and combos you can also use energy to instantly appear behind an enemy or use sparking blast which for a little while gives your character a slight increase to attacks and speed. A nice touch I liked was while performing certain combos in battle you collect Dragonballs. Once you get all 7 you summon Shenron and then are presented with 4 wishes that can really change the flow of battle depending on what you pick. Be quick though as you have a time limit to decide what to choose.
By combing supers with high paced and lighting fast button mashing will be a true delight to those who excel at fighting games.
Each character has their own pros and cons to themselves as well. Nappa for example plays as a great heavyweight to use on your team, while someone like Trunks is fast and light on his feet. Story mode will allow you use of its characters to get the handling of them. Story mode dishes out fantastic fan service to those like myself who grew up with the series. You’ll see character interactions that you’ve wanted to see but never got to, and also moments you’ve never seen like character Yamcha admitting he one day wants a family of his own or Gotenks meeting the Ginyu force. Story mode is set out like a board game. You move your icon to other enemy icons which initiates a menu for you to set up any in game battle items you have acquired from past battles for example a bonus to your Ki Energy. You can also select what heroes to use in battle. Once you complete a match, depending on the foe you went up against you will be given a new battle item to use in the future, or you might have just rescued another Dragonball character that you can now add to your team.
For each of these battles you will find yourself up against clone versions of the heroes and villains of the Dragonball universe. How these clones came to be, I won’t tell (spoilers). As you progress enemies will become stronger as will you. Special moments may also appear where you can fight up against bosses of sorts which when beaten will see your team’s health be refilled and a lot more points given out for your team to level up. These levels however didn’t seem to really matter when it came to the actual fight. I would go up against enemies that were several tiers higher than me. Yet I had no trouble picking them off.
When you jump into FighterZ, you will be thrown straight into the main Hub world. Here you are given control of a tiny mini figure version of a Dragonball character. I personally wasn’t a huge fan of this myself personally as it made the game feel less of a serious fighter and more of a kid’s game. Again, just a personal thought that it is one thing the game could do without. Throughout the hub world are several small areas. There’s Training where you can get used to the feel of the game and its controls. Story mode which is the central experience here for most Dragonball fans as it offers a new tale set around what seems to be the Dragonball Super era. Arcade mode is a nice section for those who want more of a challenge and once completing certain feats you will be rewarded with bonus characters that you can play with.
Multiplayer is where it is at for true competitors and where FighterZ will find its true standing over time. Thankfully there is an option to control what kind of player you will be matched with in terms of connectivity. So, no having to worry about being paired with someone with a dodgy dial up connection. Once you are connected online you will be able to select a server to join and your hub area will be packed with several other tiny avatars running around. All in different costumes which are attained via capsules that you attain by spending Zeni you earn in game. These are the games loot boxes in a way. But nowhere as invasive as say EAs loot boxes. World Match is where you will find most players as they all compete to mark their place on the games leaderboard. There is some tough competition here so make sure to train hard.
Dragonball FighterZ is beautiful and has some of the best graphics I’ve ever seen in a Dragonball game to date. I love the cel shaded look to it and having the voice actors return to bring us a new story is just downright awesome. FighterZ also plays perfectly. I didn’t come across a single bug or glitch. The audio package here is also on point. The music is intense and really gets you into the mood for an online match. As I said before it is also good to hear the return of the English voice actors doing what they do best to bring us a new storyline.
Dragonball FighterZ is an amazing, intense, high speed action game that fans of the series have been waiting for. It Is fair to say that with additions of new characters and future support from developers that FighterZ will have more than enough stride to stay firm in the limelight for some time to come. Arc System Works and Dragonball work well together and I cannot wait to see what this beautiful partnership has in store for us down the track.
Thank you to Bandai Namco who provided a copy of the game for review.