Dragon Ball FighterZ is the only Dragon Ball game my 14 year old self ever really wanted.
When I was a kid, I had a Sega Genesis. I considered that to be my first major console. If there was one game on that system that I played the most, it'd definitely be Dragon Ball Z. I loved that game so much. In fact, I still consider that version, along with SNES' Dragon Ball Z Super Butoden 3 to be the best Dragon Ball games ever. That is until I played Dragon Ball FighterZ.
To me, Dragon Ball FighterZ is the absolute best Dragon Ball game in existence today.
The way Dragon Ball FighterZ looks blows my mind. Not because it's the most technically impressive or most visually stunning game I've ever played, but because it looks so... Dragon Ball. It literally looks like they took frames of the shows and translated them into the game. Sure, this isn't the first time they've done it. That's always been the aim of the Dragon Ball games, but the cell shaded art style of Dragon Ball FighterZ just gives it that 2D animated charm that captures me every single time. I swear, I do NOT get tired seeing a Destructive or Dramatic finish.
Destructive finishes are these little bits of animation at each knock outs if the finishing blow is either a level 3 super or a wall bounce launcher performed on the ground. There may be more ways to trigger them but so far, that's what we've seen. Dramatic finishes are special - they're special cut scenes at the end of an entire match if two characters have history on the shows and the winner finishes with a wall bounce performed on the ground. And they're always fun to watch because they don't get triggered that often.
And it's that kind of character interaction that'll give the fans a lot to enjoy. In the story mode, conversations between characters are really entertaining, with characters who've never interacted before on the show roasting each other while still remaining very much in character. In other modes, characters have special voice lines when jumping into combat or winning, depending on who they're facing off against.
And everything is animated so smoothly, so dynamically. It's a joy to watch. Sure, all the ki blasts and energy balls and assists sometimes makes the screen very chaotic at times, especially if the two players are highly skilled, but that's part of the charm of it. The chaos is part of the fun. It makes it hard to keep track of where your character is at times, but that's a gameplay mechanic you'll have to get used to.
You can set the game to either Japanese or English voice overs. You can't set it by character, but it's good to have the option. It's a matter of preference, really. I personally really like the Japanese voices just because it syncs up with the mouth motions a bit better. Apart from that, the sfx, while faithful to the animé, are par for the course when it comes to 2.5D fighting games in terms of implementation. They're still hella fun to listen to, though.
When you first play Dragon Ball FighterZ, you'll realize very quickly that combos come very easy. Some might say they come a little too easy. The fighting system developed by Arc System Works makes it very easy for fighting game beginners to jump into the shallow end of the pool and immediately do some pretty slick things. You'll be able to pull off some impressive-looking combos that end in level 1 supers by mashing the medium attack button. As you play better players, though, you'll quickly realize that the pool is actually pretty damn deep.
Sure, the basic attacks can net you some quick combos, but with more complex button combinations and movements and set-ups, combos can get insane, scoring you massive damage. It's such a sprawling system - you can start with a basic light attack combo into a launcher, then because of the way the combo system works, you can get really creative with your attacks as long as they're within the mechanics that the game allows. Your bread and butter combo can be very different from mine.
The great thing about that is if you're a Dragon Ball fan, even if you're a fighting game noob, you can jump best place to buy generic viagra forum right in and feel like a total badass. If you're a fighting game veteran, you can still jump in and find the proper depth you require from a fighting game. It's just right now, there are a bunch of autocombo mashers that you're going to absolutely destroy.
In single player modes, the AI difficulty is on such a steep curve. They go from potato punching bags to full on super saiyan god in no time. We talked a little bit about how you can unlock SSB Goku and SSB Vegeta in an article on GeekOut.ph, and one of the ways is to do Arcade mode. In Arcade mode, there's a very interesting grading mechanic that assigns you a rank based on how well you did and the difficulty of your next opponent is determined by that rank. At A or S ranks in later stages, your opponents get really difficult to deal with because their super bars charge faster, have more health, and deal way more damage than you. They will melt you. In hard mode, it's all of that by cranked up to 11. One mistake will leave you decimated because by the end of just one combo, the AI already has a full super bar and they're not afraid to use it.
If you're into that sort of challenge, then you'll feel right at home. If not, there are other modes for you to try out.
There's the aforementioned arcade mode. You can pick between three paths - the Snakeway Course with 3 stages, the Extreme Gravity Spaceship course with 5 stages, and the Snake Way course with 7. It's single player, and you can keep match searches active while playing it. There's local competitive, the online ranked and casual matches, practice and training mode. Then there's the story.
It seems like they did not cheap out on the story mode. The full thing is either in English or Japanese, and it's an all original story with a new character. Hell, it feels like its own saga. And its writing is particularly clever. In it, YOU the player, are part of the plot. I don't wanna get too spoilery, but it pretty much explains why only one fighter is in action at any time. If anything, I highly recommend you give the story mode a try cause If you're a fan, it's chock full of character moments that no Dragon Ball fan should rightfully miss. If you've ever wondered how Yamcha would react when being forced to team up with Cell, then the story mode is for you.
And on top of that, story mode has a pretty cool map-traversing mechanic, which gives the player a bit of freedom to choose who to fight and who to rescue and when. There's some risk-reward kinda thing going on there and that adds a nice dimension to the story mode gameplay.
Now, let's talk about microtransactions. Yes, they're in the game. But it's nowhere near as annoying or as offensive as other games. It just serves as a tiny reward for doing things in the game with a loot capsule full of practically meaningless cosmetic rewards. And these cosmetic items aren't nearly as customizable or collectible as those in Tekken, so it's not like you'll be longing to get that 46th lobby character color swap because I'm sure you've found one you fancied from the start.
You buy those loot capsules with Zeni, which the game is ridiculously generous with. You get Zeni just by doing things - anything! Training mode - 2,000 Zeni. Beating arcade mode on normal, 15,000 Zeni! Completing a character combo tutorial - 5,000 Zeni and those aren't even that hard! At least, not when compared to Street Fighter V. So you won't be hurting for Zeiy down the line. Yes, you can buy special currency to buy capsules. I don't think anyone would really have to buy them unless it's kind of their way to say thank you to Bandai Namco for making the game. There really is no need to pour more money into it just for those capsules.
I got into a few games during the beta and the early launch, and I was getting games with 3-4 frames delay, and that's really good! The way online matches work feel great, everything is pretty smooth. It isn't super perfect. Sometimes when the match has a frame delay of 15 or more, you'd end up dropping combos unless you predict your moves and kinda punch in the input way in advance than you normally would, but that doesn't happen too often, at least for now where there's a ton of people playing.
Oh and speaking of a ton of people playing, there was a lobby issue during the launch. Since to play any mode in the game, you'd have to join an online lobby, if there are no slots left, you'd have to wait until someone leaves and you'd be lucky enough to get in. I think they're expanding the number of lobbies to let more players in at once.
Rocky PC Launch
The launch for PC was delayed for a day much to the chagrin of PC players. It was because the developers needed to fix up some stuff. When it did launch properly, though, PC players quickly found that not all fight sticks were supported. Mine certainly wasn't. Apparently, there are some workarounds - like installing an Xbox 360 controller mapper and mapping your stick. Or using Big Picture mode on Steam. But that feels weird to do because Steam allows games to support sticks. Tekken 7 supports them instantly! Hell, a game that came out in 2018 should be able to support ALL fight sticks. We'll see if there's going to be any patch to fix that. Please let there be a patch to fix that.
On PS4 vanilla, it performed really well running at 1080p at a solid 60 frames per second with very few, if any at all, dips in framerate. On PC, you have the option to turn it up to 4K resolution, of course, and have a bunch of options that let you tweak for best performance but as far as I can tell, it's a very light game considering how visually impressive this is.
Final Thoughts/ TL;DR
It has its faults, especially on the PC launch side of things, but it's undeniably one of the best, if not THE BEST, Dragon Ball game that has ever come out. It's easy to get into but has enough depth for those who want to master it. Gameplay is fluid and dynamic. All the modes are incredibly fun. And it's got that Dragon Ball charm that fans are going to go crazy over.
Highly recommended for fans of the Dragon Ball franchise and for fighting game enthusiasts. Only avoid this game if you don't like fighting games in general; other than that, there's really no reason for you not to get it.
Disclosure: GeekOut.ph received a review copy of the game.