From the minds of the BlazBlue and Guilty Gear fighting game franchises, comes this brand new title, based off the famous manga and anime series, Dragon Ball. Dragon Ball FighterZ (pronounced “Fighters”) is a three-on-three fighting game, much like Marvel vs. Capcom 3, released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. It’s been an anticipated game for not only Dragon Ball fans but for the fighting game community.
The first thing of note is its gameplay. All of these familiar characters have a specific design philosophy in mind. For example, Goku and Vegeta, the most popular characters, are easy to learn, jack-of-all trades. The other characters, however, have different properties. Another example is Yamcha. His attacks are fairly weak, with fairly high speed. First, this reflects his status in the series canon as one of the weaker fighters. However, this property allows him to build up the super meter very quickly for other characters who have more powerful super attacks to use. With the right team composition, a player can have all their bases covered. The real learning curve is knowing how each character works on the team, when to put them in the action or call for their assistance.
Fighting games usually don’t have the greatest stories, especially Dragon Ball fighting games, which usually fall into the pattern of retreading past events. This game’s story however, while not flawless, is quite good. There are three different campaign paths to work through. The first has the player going through the story with Goku and his friends, trying to stop the plans of the main villain, with the help of the player. The second has the player assist a group of villains, led by Frieza, a series staple antagonist. The final path actually details the main villain’s backstory and motivations. The villain in question is Android 21, a brand new character that was designed by the creator of the series for this game. Her voice acting is probably some of the best on display. The other characters are no slouches either, with almost every interaction harkening back to the more comedic days of early Dragon Ball, enhanced by the superb voice acting.
While the story is quite enjoyable, playing through it is a bit of a hassle. You control your team in a board game-like setting, going from one fight to the next, until the player manages to defeat the required boss to proceed. Fighting the same enemy obstacles dozens of times can be a chore, not helped by the fact that nothing really changes among the three campaigns.
The final thing about this game that stands out is the absolutely stunning presentation. The graphics look just like the anime in motion, with bright vibrant colors and stellar animations that reference different points in Dragon Ball history.
In conclusion, I give this game a eight out iof 10. It’s a great fighting game that appeals to both casual, and competitive players. It’s a giant love letter to the franchise and its fans.
– Trumann Tu