Dragon Ball FighterZ is the fighting game that fans of the namesake anime have been waiting for ever since it was shown at E3. As fans of the Dragon Ball franchise ourselves, we rejoiced at the announcement that a proper Dragon Ball game would be made and could possibly be taken to EVO as a competitive fighter. I have been looking forward to the game ever since I laid my hands on the demo at the Xbox booth during E3 last year.
I haven’t been involved with the 2D genre of fighting games for quite a long time. With games like the Naruto Storm series, it seemed as if the old school style of fighting games had become stale. Needless to say, this game has caused me to jump back into the fray. Even though many fans were excited about the game, there are legitimate questions that should be asked. Does it stay true to the essence of the Dragon Ball franchise? How well does it stack up as a fighting game? Let’s find out.
The visuals of the game are truly stunning and at times can leave you breathless. Bandai Namco and Arc Systems Works truly created the ideal Dragon Ball world that many fans have dreamed of. Playing this game on the Xbox One X has been truly remarkable. The baclground scenery is so amazing that I sometimes find it hard to pay attention during the match because I’m too distracted by the aesthetics. Dragon Ball FighterZ is definitely a true representation of what a Dragon Ball game should look like and is what every fan of the series should want.
While the visuals are gorgeous, the audio of the game was also outstanding – especially the intro music. Not to mention the voice acting was top notch in both the English and Japanese versions of the game. This was especially noticeable throughout the story mode due to all of the character interactions and the amount of dialogue that take place.
The gameplay may feel shallow at first due to the nature of your standard combo variations: your Light, Heavy and Ki attacks. That said, I assure you that the fighting system is very deep and complex. The game is easy enough for newcomers who may not be used to 2D fighters and that is great. However, Dragon Ball FighterZ also has something to offer to veteran players with a competitive streak. The true competitive aspect of this game comes from the standpoint that no one character plays or fights the same way which is what you should want and expect.
Going in the Practice portion of the game you can learn different combo variations for each character along with learning the basics. As is the case with most fighting games, you can practice with different characters to get a better feel of each character’s play style to find a warrior that best suits your personal preferences. There is also Combo tutorial which is where the true depth of the gameplay can be appreciated. The first set of combos are relatively easy but the final combos in the tutorial really shine. Once you’ve mastered your favorite character’s various combos, pulling off a 35-to-60 hit combo in ranked combat will be easy and extremely satisfying leaving you wanting more and more.
My biggest problem came from the connectivity of the game. The online aspect of the game can be a mess at times from being kicked out of lobbies without notice or trying to get into a lobby and waiting for over thirty seconds just to receive a message saying the lobby is full even (despite having ten spots available). Another problem that players may face is trying to get into a ring match. From my experience, I could only get into a ring match at night for some reason.
Another problem I have encountered is getting a message that the lobby is full when I am in practice mode or story mode. While these problems can be discouraging, I have the utmost confidence in Bandai Namco and Arc System Works to resolve these issues with coming updates.
The story of the game was well written with lots of dialogue and interactions from the cast of characters. Here we learn how our heroes were faced with an overwhelming task and how they all must work together against a common foe in order to save the world. The story mode it is set up as a map variant where players then have the option of either fighting all of the foes who stand in your way or to carefully choose your battles, fighting as little as possible. Unfortunately, despite these options the story mode feel like a bit of a chore that players must endure if they want to play as Android 21 who can’t be unlocked any other way.
The constant fighting of clones became very boring and repetitive. The enemy AI is extremely easy and offers very little challenge to experienced players. All of which made the 8-9 hour campaign a grueling task to complete. If you want a tough challenge, I would strongly recommend you check out the arcade mode instead. Other than that, the story itself was quite enjoyable but I don’t think I will ever return to it.
Despite the repetitive fights in the story mode and a few online issues, Dragon Ball FighterZ is a great game and is definitely worth a purchase. The audio was superb and the voice acting was spot on. If you’re concerned with the competitive nature of the game and of the stigma that 2D fighters have, don’t worry. This game is very accessible to newcomers. In my opinion, Dragon Ball FighterZ is the ultimate Dragon Ball Z experience and I haven’t had this much fun since the Budokai and Tenkaichi series back on PS2.
Dragon Ball FighterZ is now available for purchase on Xbox Live, PSN, Steam, or at any of your local video game retailers.