Dragon Ball FighterZ is the latest title in the Dragon Ball series. The video game adaptation of the legendary manga and anime series, Dragon Ball FighterZ is a 2D fighting game by Arc Systems Works (Guilty Gear, BlazBlue, Persona 4 Arena) and Namco Bandai (Tekken, Pokken Tournament, Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm). Despite a thread of ups-and-downs in the illustrious series, FighterZ seems to be the one everyone has waited for. After the legendary hit, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 for PlayStation 2, the series has had hits and misses ranging from Tenkaichi, Burst Limit, Raging Blast, and the successful XenoVerse titles. However, this is the first true, 2D console fighting game in the series since the aforementioned Budokai 3. Many fans waited for a true fighting game in the series, and Arc Systems has pulled it off. Featuring 24 characters, spanning the series’ 30-year history, this is a fan-favorite’s dream.
The One We’ve Been Waiting For – Dragon Ball FighterZ Review
Dragon Ball FighterZ is a pretty game. The animations look like they took a cue out of the series itself. These gorgeously detailed animations reflect the attacks featured in the series. It’s a cel-shaded title that captures the heart and imagination of the Dragon Ball series fans grew up with, rocking some of the gorgeous graphics the current generation has to offer. Brightly colored beams and explosions show off gorgeous lighting effects. When you use a Meteor Attack or a Heavy strike to finish a round, you destroy the arena with it. The screen will transition to a zoom-out of Planet Earth, featuring either a huge explosion or massive beam flying out of the planet. The game takes notable references from the Budokai series, as well as other DBZ fighters, and this is only one of many.
What’s new in Dragon Ball?
Dragon Ball FighterZ has a story mode. While previous titles have retold the story of DBZ or included what-if scenarios, Dragon Ball FighterZ’ story is 100% original. It takes place during the timeframe of Dragon Ball Super, introducing a new character named Android 21. The story includes the revival of various characters, including Android 16, the Ginyu Force, and the villainous Cell. Every character featured in the story plays a prominent role of some sort. What makes this interesting is the amount of character interaction between each one. You will quickly take note of the dialogue coming from Cell and Gohan, or everyone dogging Yamcha for being weak. During the timeframe of the story, you’ll be fighting many clones of the characters en route to discover the truth behind the mysterious 21, the clones themselves, the waves, and a mysterious soul that has inhabited the body of your favorite characters.
Familiar Sounds and Upbeat Music
Dragon Ball FighterZ’s sound effects present some of the most high-quality sound effects you will ever hear in a fighting game. Anyone familiar with the series will immediately relate to the sound of a Super Saiyan powerup, the firing of a ki blast, the sound of someone slowly descending to the ground, and the huge hits that come from a strong attack. In addition to the Japanese voices, Funimation has dubbed the entire game in English. You’ll hear many of the old favorites reprising their roles. Note that Android 18’s voice actress reprises her role from the original DBZ dub as well. Fans more familiar with Meredith McCoy’s representation of the character may be pleasantly surprised at her return.
The music in Dragon Ball FighterZ ranges from many styles. There’s some electronic music and drum and bass. You’ll also hear some epic chorus, fitting for a mighty presence such as Beerus. There’s plenty of hard rock and metal, which is standard fanfare for the Dragon Ball series. You’ll hear villainous themes, like Goku Black’s, or fast-paced metal, for Vegeta. There’s a track for everyone, much of which suits a different style. Dragon Ball music has always delivered, Arc Systems Works music has always delivered, and Dragon Ball FighterZ succeeds on both fronts.
Is this fighting game worth it?
Dragon Ball FighterZ combines some of the most beautiful quality of audio and visual with the hardest hitting and fastest-paced gameplay you’ll get out of a fighting game. The game includes the kinetic energy, the flashy explosions, the vanishing attacks, and the massive blasts of energy with fast-paced, technical gameplay reminiscent of Marvel vs. Capcom, Guilty Gear, and BlazBlue. While it takes cues from some of the most popular fighting games out there, it is also far more accessible. Beginning players will be pleased to learn that combos can be assembled simply with the tap of one or two buttons. These “auto-combos” allow the player to pull off a quick, easy combo with a finisher. Not too much damage, but enough to get a hang of the system. Advanced players will be happy with the option to end the match without risking a dropped combo.
Fans of the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai series will be pleased to see arena destruction return. Tenkaichi fans will greatly enjoy the memorable attack animations, while XenoVerse fans should certainly appreciate seeing another Dragon Ball title that has a bit of story depth to it. Players from every part of the Dragon Ball fanbase will find something they enjoy in this game. You can build your meter up to 7 bars. Amidst your regular attacks and your specials, you have three types of supers. Basic super attacks cost one bar of energy, while the strongest kinds cost three bars of energy. Super Saiyan Blue Goku and Vegeta can also extend their attacks. This results in a beautiful, but powerful animation, as well as two more bars of energy. You can recharge energy by powering up!
Is the game technical?
Dragon Ball FighterZ does not utilize as many technical features, such as “roman cancels” or the use of extra bars and meters. You have your life, energy, and your three characters. You can call your Assists out for a helping hand, but will take a backseat for a good several seconds, leaving you potentially vulnerable. The same goes for tagging in your characters. These characters can assist you with super moves as well, piling on the damage hard. Compared to Marvel vs. Capcom, however, the game is far more forgiving. “Infinite” combos don’t run rampant, as the damage scaling is much higher, especially with longer strings, which usually don’t go higher than 6,000 damage on average (with a 10,000 point life bar).
You cannot, however, use Assists to break combos, nor can they be used repeatedly for ground bounce effects. You have an ability called “Sparking”, which is similar to the X-Factor used in MvC3. Sparking will boost your attack power and health, becoming stronger when you are down to one or two characters. However, based on my play so far, it is nowhere near as punishing. While it is a comeback factor, this does not mean touch-of-death combos off of one character. If you found yourself frustrated at other fighting games, yet love the genre and want to try something new, this may be the title you appreciate.
The game’s fast pace is a selling feature. Even compared to past Dragon Ball titles, as well as Guilty Gear and BlazBlue, it is unbelievably quick. In addition to the fight – and flight – the speed of your characters, you have access to vanishing attacks, which cause them to teleport behind your opponent. Using the Sparking ability, vanish gives you the option to make a split-second decision to a mixup on your opponent.
What kind of modes can you enjoy online?
You have Ranked, Casual, Arena, Ring, and Replay. Ranked matches and Casual Matches are all Best 2 out of 3. Once the set is over, the players leave the match and have the option to find a new one. In Arena, players can challenge other players within the specific lobby they’re in. Ring Matches allow players to set up their own, personal room for matches. This not only includes random players seeking a challenge in the Lobby map, but you can also use it to find friends.
Players can set Friend Matches with varying rules, to include whether or not to use the Dragon Balls, how many games are played, and even a Password. As this game does not use an Invite system, it’s imperative to set up a password and to let your friend know what it is. Both players must be in the same Lobby to participate. It is imperative to let your friends know which Lobby you are in so both of you can join in and play.
Dragon Ball FighterZ also includes a Replay area. Turning the automatic replay setting on will allow all of your matches to be uploaded to the database automatically. Players can watch these matches online from the replay channel area. Interestingly enough, there is commentary for the matches. The announcer, from the anime, supplies all the commentary, too. This option can be turned off, however. And while all modes can be enjoyed online, the Offline lobby allows you to enjoy Arcade, Story, and Practice mode without the risk of the disconnect.
Not without flaws…
Dragon Ball Fighter Z isn’t perfect, however. There are a number of modes, such as the aforementioned modes, as well as a Combo Challenge. You can edit an Avatar, your license profile, a title, and its background. However, the single-player modes are lacking. The Arcade mode features the same set of characters depending on which tier you fight on. There is no Survival or Time Attack mode. If you are familiar with the recent release of Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, you may find it to have a bevy of single-player modes that eclipse most other games, FighterZ included. While it isn’t barebones, hopefully, future updates will include more modes.
Dragon Ball FighterZ’ Story Mode is fun for its dialogue and character interaction. You get to see an arc develop created exclusively for the game. However, the pacing comes to a plod thanks to fighting nothing but Clones for nearly the entire time. They’re mindless enemies that are not difficult to defeat. Your characters will level up and can equip various stat boosts. Unlike Mortal Kombat and Injustice, which base their stories on all of their characters and developments, the player fights gray-colored clones ad nauseum. Expect to be doing this many, many times through the duration of three arcs, all of which last between four and six hours.
Lastly, the Lobby system is a great concept, but not one that is perfect by any means. By this, I mean it will disconnect you frequently. It includes multiple modes but ultimately ends up being inconvenient due to its unreliable network. Moreover, fighting your friends becomes an inconvenience due to the lobby. You both have to be in the same lobby, as there is no Invite system.
Final Thoughts on Dragon Ball FighterZ
Dragon Ball FighterZ succeeds as a core fighting game. If you’re seeking a tournament fighter, I cannot recommend this title enough. Whether you’re a fan of other fighting games or love the Dragon Ball experience, this game is a must-play and absolutely worth your time. The Trophies you can receive include boosting your rank up to 530,000, which is a worthy challenge for any fighting aficionado. Your rank levels come from titles in the series, such as Saiyan, Android, Supreme Kai, and so forth. There is tons of fanservice in the game, which include poking fun at some of the most popular parts of the series.
The game plays amazingly well, with a strong core fighting experience. Nevertheless, improvements could still be made to the lobby mode and single player options. If you play this offline, such as with friends or at tournaments, you don’t have to worry about online issues. The game runs beautifully at 1080p and 60 FPS. For playing online, you may be required to re-enter a lobby several times just to get a match started. Otherwise, players can hold out for a patch in the near future.
That being said, I recommend Dragon Ball FighterZ for anyone’s collection. The mild problems regarding the connection issues will almost surely be addressed. The game’s core experience is among the best you could ask for from a quality fighting game. It’s good for beginners and appreciated by pros alike. And keep in mind, with future updates, there will be more characters and perhaps improvements to the aforementioned as well!
Here is where you can buy the game
Buy it for PS4
Buy it for Xbox One
Buy it for Steam
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