Dragon Ball FighterZ – Review
Follow Genre: Fighting
Developer: Arc System Works
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Tested on: PS4

Dragon Ball FighterZ – Review

Site Score
8.2
Good: Story mode, Mechanics, Graphics
Bad: Feels a bit like a MvC clone, Tiny character roster
User Score
9.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)

With Xenoverse 2 still very fresh in our minds, and still being actively played online, especially with new content on the way, we were quite surprised when Dragon Ball FighterZ was announced to release ‘so soon’ after Xenoverse 2. While the latter instilled pictures of an open world, many different quests and a serious online landscape, it seemed that FighterZ would go back to the basics of an actual fighting game with no 3D movement, but the old school fashion of going left and right. When the game revealed to be a 3 vs. 3 brawler we were intrigued, especially with the similarities to the Marvel vs. Capcom franchise in mind. Finally we received our review copy and we were eager to revisit Goku and the rest of the Dragon Ball Z franchise, once again.

Dragon Ball FighterZ

Story

Instead of going through the story arcs of the anime series, FighterZ tries to do something refreshing by adding a unique storyline to the game. You’ll find yourself in a world that’s filled with clones of the main protagonists, who are all but destroying the planet. Sadly, all the good guys seem to be immobilized and are inhibited to use their actual powers, safe for one wayward spirit that finds itself in the body of Goku. This spirit, with no clear origin, has appeared out of thin air and took possession, be it unwillingly, of Goku’s body, and now he’s the only one that can draw out his true power. When your party thickens, the spirit is able to move from one body to another, to stop the infestation of evil clones.

Overall the story remains simple, but it does introduce a new character, which is kind of cool, as you’re getting one-in-a-kind Dragon Ball Z content embedded into this game. First you’ll have an arc revolving around the good guys, then the bad guys and after that the mystery character that will make itself known. Overall the flow is pleasant, and the original content will please true Dragon Ball Z fan(atic)s.

Dragon Ball FighterZ 1

Graphics

Even though no 3D movement is possible in this new installment of the Dragon Ball Z games, you’ll be treated to the same quality of textures and models like in Xenoverse 2, which means that everything looks superb, and respects the source material. You’ll be playing with beautifully rendered Dragon Ball Z fighters, but mostly the most famous characters from the series, which means you’ll have most fighters you are used to seeing on the little screen when you were watching the original show. Nonetheless, while there are no more 3D arenas, their 2D counterparts look top notch, as the developers were now able to create a very appealing backdrop, which was a lot harder to do than in the 3D games.

Outside of the actual battles you’ll be navigating through a small hub, in which you’ll be able to pick a chibi-like Dragon Ball Z character to roam around. The world itself looks a tad on the simple side, and doesn’t really span all that far, but as far as hubs go in games, this one is rather attractive in all its simplicity.

Sound

Authentic and fun eighties/nineties kind of rock will blast through your speakers at every occasion in the game, and it perfectly suits both the game and the original series. You’ll have fun listening to the soundtrack, safe for the track that gets overly looped in the central hub. Other than that, you’ll be treated to the authentic Japanese voices, which also add another layer of quality to the sound department, even though many may have grown up with the English voice cast. Then again, nothing can beat the original DBZ voices.

Dragon Ball FighterZ 2

Gameplay

Dragon Ball FighterZ is a 3 vs. 3 brawler, in which you can switch between the members of your team at any time, or use them for assists and special combined attacks. From start to finish, you’ll be duking it out in the story mode, the arcade mode, the arena or other local and online modes. The offset it quite simple, as the game is going back to the basics of the series, namely as a 2D fighting game.

If you’re not keen on playing online, or are simply afraid of getting your ass handed back to you, you’ll be happy to hear that there’s a fairly expansive story mode, in which you can sink several hours. The story mode does not only get tough as nails after a while, it serves as great practice to make you feel confident enough to try a few battles online. You’ll get used to the 3 vs. 3 format, and you’ll also need to plan your battles accordingly, as you’ll only have a fixed amount of turns to clear a chapter’s map. Each story arc has several chapters, thus you’ll have to clear a rather big amount of different maps, making sure you won’t lose too much progress when you don’t make it to the goal in time. Overall this format is fun but seeing there’s no option to control the difficulty level, slow learners might get in trouble at the later stages, or very casual players who don’t really get used to all the mechanics and just want to enjoy the story of this game might find themselves in the same pickle as well.

Dragon Ball FighterZ 3

As mentioned before, the game does remind us a bit of the Marvel vs. Capcom franchise, and not only because of the 3 vs. 3 format. You’ll immediately notice that moves and combos are simplified, making sure that newcomers can also pull off some cool moves even when just pressing the same button over and over. While this may sound like a button-masher’s delight, the game has enough subtle nuances to make sure veterans can overcome someone just bashing his buttons, hoping to win. The special moves are limited and are also very simple to pull off. Last but not least, the assist and switch system for your party is also presented in an easy-to-learn-and-use fashion, and it allows you to dig even deeper in the mechanics and chain up some impressive combos when you time your assists and switches right.

The hub itself serves as a fun gathering place, when PlayStation’s servers aren’t acting up, but most of all, you’ll be able to collect some fun goodies with the money you’ve earned. You’ll be able to unlock new avatars and other simple items, adding some content for completionists.

Conclusion

Dragon Ball FighterZ is a fun blast from the past, with updated visuals, improved mechanics and a tag-battle system that might feel like Marvel vs. Capcom, but also has its own original merits. If you’re into DBZ, old school fighting games, and you like the mechanics to be a bit on the simple side, allowing you to ease into the gameplay, then this fighter is certainly your cup of tea, as fighters of any skill can enjoy this title. Don’t fret however, if you’re a veteran when it comes to fighting games, you’ll also enjoy this game as it has enough subtle nuances in the controls, allowing you to perform counters, blocks and a reasonable amount of special moves. Young or old, inexperienced or experienced, everyone can easily have a go at each other in Dragon Ball FighterZ.

Dragon Ball FighterZ 4

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Dragon Ball FighterZ - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Ibuki
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

2 Comments

  1. MC_JP
    MC_JP
    February 12, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Nice game but needs more fighters

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  2. […] Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe proudly announces a free update coming to Dragon Ball FighterZ on September 28, 2018. The game is currently available for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. The free update is bringing new content to the game such as a new arena, the Galactic Arena, new avatars, stamps and Halloween themed outfits. But more notably two new characters will join the fight, Cooler and Android 17. These two new fighters should shake up the current status quo, Android 17 is a fast character, relying on speed to break through the enemies defenses while Cooler relies solely on his physical power to win. You can find our review of the original game right here. […]

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