Dragon Ball FighterZ Review – Zen-Oh Sama Would Approve!
History hasn’t been so kind with the Dragon Ball series. Although the games were fun to play – you get to fight as your favorite character – something was always missing. Dragon Ball FighterZ just dropped the mic on all past titles!
As a huge fan of the series, I have always enjoyed Dragon Ball games. The simple fact that I can fight as Teen Gohan or Vegeta made me feel their power. I mean come on, who doesn’t want to pull off a sick Final Flash? Games such as Burst Limit and Budokai Tenkaichi 3 granted that wish. However, looking over the past titles of the Dragon Ball series, something was indeed often missing.
“I am a god with a heart, but there’s one thing I cannot tolerate… people who don’t pay proper respect to others!” – Beerus
Fighting games put one’s skill to the test. For example, at events such as EVO, players will compete in Street Fighter, Smash, and UMVC games to name a few to show the world they mean business. What do all of those have in common? They have a strong competitive element. That element is what most Dragon Ball titles in the past failed to exploit. Dragon Ball FighterZ, however, delivers a cutting-edge experience fit for high rollers and casuals alike.
A Chore to Launch
They say that when going to a job interview, you have but a few seconds to impress the client. If that would be the case here, you would have dropped the game a long time ago.
When you first launch Dragon Ball FighterZ, you are prompted to read – or go through – a hefty User End Agreement. Only when you have scrolled down the entire document can you “Accept” and play the game. Well, that is what you think!
After reading the thing, which we all do of course (cue sarcastic tone), you must select your region/server. At that point, you can either go online and join a lobby or simply go offline. Let’s discover the offline first. You made your choice and now you find yourself looking like a chibi of a Z fighter. Walk around the plaza for the local battle and finally you can start playing the game. Why isn’t there any menu? Why go the Xenoverse way and put in a plaza…in a fighting game.
Since you can collect appearances for your characters and your chibi avatar via the shop, why not show it around in the plaza? Microtransactions have again been added to a game where they have very little use. Anyways, let’s go back to the battle area and get ready to dive into the serious stuff.
Fighting Mechanics as Deep as the Rabbit Hole
Picking up the controller and engaging in combat in Dragon Ball FighterZ is as intuitive as playing Street Fighter. The controls are easy to grasp and move and very simple to perform. Basically, all you need to do is experiment with combinations using together quarter circles and an action button. Simple, really. If you are looking for a more technical gameplay, that is when things become a lot more interesting.
Button mashing is a thing and in this Dragon Ball game, it can make your opponent very unpredictable. Fine-tuning your gameplay, on the other hand, can set you far apart from casual players. Arc System Works, the development team behind the BlazBlue series have carefully crafted the game to offer that competitive element thanks to some technical mechanics.
After picking your team of three and a few minutes of getting acquainted with the controls, you learned that you can use your allies to perform assist moves, switch fighters in mid-combat before they get knocked out and perform special moves. There is a lot more to that. In Dragon Ball FighterZ, you have a charge bar that goes from 0 to 7. During the fight, you gain some energy, but you can also charge it up to gain it at a much faster rate – at the cost of leaving yourself vulnerable to attacks. Managing the amount of energy you have will be crucial.
Special attacks are everything in Dragon Ball. I mean don’t you want to overwhelm your enemy with a barrage of Kamehameha? In this title, performing basic moves usually don’t use up any energy. However, most of them have an enhanced version, called EX version, which costs an energy bar to achieve, but greatly increases the damage output. Super Moves and counters also require energy, so make sure you carefully manage it.
Speaking of Super Moves, each character in the game has an ultimate attack. Play around with all the character and you might find that some, like Teen Gohan, have a way to enhance that move, considering you have enough energy to pay the cost.
Following every other fighting games’ footstep, Dragon Ball FighterZ offers blocking. Simply walk in the opposite direction to block attacks. When it comes down to energy beams, you can deflect them pressing the A button (on Xbox One) whilst walking backward. You can’t deflect everything, but you can at least manage not to get hit by small/medium energy blasts.
The Shenron System
What is a Dragon Ball game without Dragon Balls? In FighterZ, performing a certain amount of combos grants you, and your opponent a legendary Dragon Ball.
Once all balls have been collected, and you have a full seven bars of energy, perform a light combo and Shenron will appear, granting you one of four wishes. You can either Restore your character to full health, bring back your allies to life with 50 percent, become immortal (restore 5% of your health and auto-restoration of super-meter), or gain an energy boost to 7 bars.
In my opinion, the Shenron System wasn’t a necessity, although it does add an extra incentive for the losing player, it can also be a double edge sword. Either you come back to the game, or you get overwhelmed.
A Noncanonical Story
Dragon Ball FighterZ offer a unique storyline. Like the Xenoverse series, the story is non-canonical, but still takes place within the same universe. This entails that during the dozen of gameplay hours, you will meet many characters of the series. Some of them will even interact with each other – although they have never actually met each other in the official storyline. Eventually, you will encounter some new faces, such as the lovely, yet deadly Android 21 – a little bit of fan service never hurt anybody!
The story revolves around this new villain, which was designed by Akira Toriyama exclusively for this title. Is the campaign any good? That will depend on the player; some will agree that it’s decent while others hate it. However, what really strikes a home run isn’t the repetitive fights, but the in-between cutscenes. The original script and sometimes silly interactions between the characters both are entertaining and respect the boundaries established by the canon series to some extent.
The fights aren’t as difficult so you can use this opportunity to fine-tune your skills before hitting the online servers, where the serious fights happen.
The Best Dragon Ball Game To Date
Dragon Ball FighterZ has its downs. The loading times are horrible, the microtransactions unnecessary, and a story mode that probably won’t appeal to most players due to its repetitive combat. Although those things pull the game to the ground, it selflessly gets back on its feet solely thanks to its main attraction, the fighting. Combat mechanics have been developed to cater to both casual and professional players. The entire experience allows players to enjoy their favorite characters to the fullest while they retain their uniqueness.
It is, in my opinion, the best Dragon Ball fighting game to date – it would have been one of the best of its era if it would have avoided adding elements such as the plaza. Truly an amazing game that simply looks divine thanks to its on-point cell-shading visuals. Dragon Ball FighterZ feels the way a proper Dragon Ball fighting game should feel!
- Great Combat Mechanics
- Large Selection of Characters
- Hefty Loading Times
- Graphics / Sound9
- Lasting Appeal8.5
- Fun Factor9