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

Dragon Ball FighterZ (Switch) – Review

Site Score
Good: Great space to grow, Easy to get into and hard to master.
Bad: Loading times make for large gaps between the action
User Score
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.7/10 (3 votes cast)

Dragon Ball has been around for such a long time, and many of us grew up watching the series one way or another. With the highly popular Dragon Ball Z series, people got familiar with Cell, Frieza, Goku, Vegeta, and enough other characters to make an entire pokémon-style rap out of it. After a couple of Dragon Ball fighter games throughout the years, Bandai Namco delivered Dragon Ball FighterZ which includes many of the lore and characters that you got to know. 


So, if you like Dragon Ball, and you know a bit of the story passing you in the series, Dragon Ball FighterZ is taking place after all the events that transpired so far, even after Dragon Ball Super. The story is kind of like an overlaying piece to mix and match previous events and conversations between characters about those events. Your well-known heroes are having troubles controlling their powers and feel weak as attacks of clones break out throughout the Dragon Ball universe. You, the player, are somehow ”linkable” to each and every character, taking control of their powerful bodies and granting them a bit of their own strength back in the process as well.

This concept obviously makes that the fourth wall is being torn down many times, and people such as Bulma, Goku and Gohan will talk directly to you as an extra person in the series. Besides cutscenes showing your progress as you continue putting a halt to the endless amount of clones and giving all the good guys their original powers back, the game also has something before each battle. Depending on the picks you did for your team that exists out of a maximum of 3 characters, they will have a conversation about something that’s going on right now, or about something related to episodes of the series. It’s a way of delivering extra information that keeps every fight a bit fresh.


The FighterZ game has a bit more outline than the anime and looks slightly more cartoony than the serious series was in appearance. This doesn’t mean it’s bad, cause, besides the extra outline, it sticks true to the original characters and their attacks! And with a lot of blue light coming from your Kamehameha, or an intense Krillin face creating a Destructo Disc, the game looks pretty good! Especially when doing your characters ultimate special attack which triggers a small cool movie where you totally annihilate the opponent.

The most different aspect compared to other Dragon Ball games, however, is that the environment isn’t really interactive. Most of the stages are just flat with a background, even though with some special moves you will knock your opponent into a piece of rock for a short amount of time. You are still able to move up and down and kick somebody away from you to fly after them afterward. So those classic elements, together with the moves, are done in the classic recognizable spirits of Dragon Ball.


One of the best sound additions to the game is that you can put the character voices on either Japanese or English. Granted, not all voices sound like the original ones that you got used to, sometimes making it feel a bit silly, yet it’s good depending on what language you are used to hearing the characters in.

Another good sound addition is all the effects that are added upon attacks. The screams, the powering up, the flashing behind somebody, these are all well-known Dragon Ball elements that empowered the series and do this for the game as well. They are timed tight and on point. There is also background music present, but it’s barely noticeable due to all the action going on. It’s just a nice addition but nothing special in this case.


Dragon Ball FighterZ is essentially a classic 2D fighter game such as Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat. The term essentially is used here, because the action going on and the cutscenes in-between sometimes make it feel like a 3D game (technically, it could be considered a 2.5D point of view). But the 2-dimensional plane you fight on stays the same, a simple line from left to right that you fly, punch, kick, and energy-blast your best upon. Besides that, you are able to combine attacks with those of other characters in your team, and to switch them in and out.

The game has a few main modes. The story mode brings you.. the story. Here you follow your team of up to three chosen protagonists around on a map. Don’t worry, you can change them when you feel like it in-between battles. The map exists out of nodes, and the goal is to reach a certain node that will progress the main story. Most of the time you will get like twenty turns as an example, and you only need five turns to reach your goal. This means there is a lot of wiggle room for you to hang around and shift between other nodes which also bring you battles with different teams of opponents, which will mostly be a set of three clones. Doing so doesn’t really seem that rewarding though since all you really gain from it is some experience that levels up characters. Other than that, there’s no proper reason to hang around and repeat the same type of battles over and over instead of going to the goal marker the fastest way possible. Sometimes the game tries to lure you back with a special stronger opponent such as Kid Buu, but it doesn’t really give you incentives to run around. This, combined with the loading times, actually create certain gaps between the ”true action” in the game. At first sight, it all looks a bit like a board game, yet when you give it some time it turns out to be a rather linear line from start to finish, which looks like a missed opportunity.

One of the good things about especially the storyline is that it starts out very easy, giving all types of players a chance to get into the game. The base for Dragon Ball FighterZ is that it’s easy to get into, and (very) hard to properly master. This is because all the action goes on so fast that you have to be very awake and ready for all possible attacks to pick the right moves versus a high-level opponent. There’s so much going on, including teleporting behind somebody and predicting super attacks that are devastating for your health bar, that it allows you to grow a lot if you want to slowly get better. This learning curve goes even further when doing arcade challenges which are pretty much the classic Mortal Kombat ”difficulty towers” in a different way. You need to fight yourself through multiple enemies, and if you do it well enough you even unlock new characters or characters their power levels (higher transformations). If that’s not enough for you and you claim to be a true pro player, you can even measure yourself versus others who claim to be the best by playing online.


Dragon Ball FighterZ sticks true to the originals that fans began to like thanks to the original manga and anime series. The visuals slightly diverge but still look good, and the sounds are on point. The gameplay itself is not boring you at a fast pace but creates gaps at times due to the loading times before matches and ”board game” mechanics that aren’t really being used. Overall, it’s a good addition to the series that should entertain newbies and professionals alike.

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Rating: 7.7/10 (3 votes cast)
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Dragon Ball FighterZ (Switch) - Review, 7.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

I'm a game designer, developer, and reviewer. I've been reviewing for 3rd-strike.com since 2017.

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