Dragon Ball FighterZ Review
DBZ meets the FGC with Bandai Namco and Arc System Works’ frantic fighter Dragon Ball FighterZ. The fanservice is certainly off the charts, but does it have the gameplay to match?
Dragon Ball FighterZ Review
The fighting engine powering Dragon Ball FighterZ is a unique beast, one that takes cues from a number of different games. The three attack button and special move system is not unlike the one found in the Under Night series, and the quarter-circle motions take cues from Capcom’s line of fighters. The Dragon Rush attack pays tribute to the Dust attack found in the Guilty Gear series, and it makes the transition well here. Those who have played fighting games in the past, especially the Marvel vs. Capcom games, will feel right at home here.
There is a definite focus on the Ki gauge, the meter that powers some of the flashier moves of the game. Not only can it be quickly charged mid-battle, it can also be used for teleportation moves and super moves like Goku’s infamous Super Kamehameha. As a result, the action of the game ramps up quickly, and the multi-hit combos keep things flashy and fun. Most moves don’t require joystick gymnastics – there are no pretzel maneuvers here – but what is here is both accessible and deep at the same time.
The cast and crew that makes up Dragon Ball FighterZ’s roster is both a blessing and a curse. A number of fan favorites made the cut, including Goku, Vegeta, Cell, Frieza, and even Beerus. However, most characters share some moves among them – a number of characters pack Ki Blasts and Kamehameha Blasts, and though fighters like the grapple-based Android 16 change things up, most characters utilize a number of the same projectile-based moves. In addition, some very similar characters round out the roster – three different versions of Goku made the cut (albeit with slightly different movesets), along with two versions of Vegeta. The fact that eight characters were set aside as paid DLC makes this sting a good deal.
Those looking for the most robust version of the Dragon Ball FighterZ experience should start its Story Mode, which also serves as a tutorial. Told through a number of different arcs, it deals with a spirit that enters a number of different Dragon Ball Z characters, an army of clones, and the evil Android 21. Brief cutscenes are shown before and after each battle, and it is a fairly straightforward tale with heroes, villains, and a healthy dose of fanservice.
Gameplay in this mode takes place on a map of sorts that is made up of a number of different destinations. Players are given a set amount of turns to traverse a map, take down clones, rescue people, and reach the end goal. To spice things up, each character can level up depending on their use in battle. Perks can also be added, ones that increase attack power, defense, or even drop more Zeni currency.
There are certainly no shortage of fights in this mode – players will be fighting clones for most of it, making it somewhat repetitive. Tutorials are occasionally offered in certain fights, but a good portion of it feels like filler.
Outside of Story Mode, there is unfortunately not a lot to do. There is an Arcade Mode that pits players against either three, five, or seven sets of opponents, a Training Mode, and an offline multiplayer mode with support for tournaments. Players can also unlock new avatars and other goodies with the Gacha-like Zeni Capsule system, but the randomness may be a turn-off looking for something specific. An Online Mode is there, but was not available as of this review.
Dragon Ball FighterZ’s rock-solid fighting engine is both accessible and deep at the same time. The paltry selection of modes and repetitive Story Mode somewhat take away from the game, but this is one fighter worthy of any Saiyan warrior.