Author’s note: this game has been out for three months now. I will be reviewing its current state.
“Dragon Ball FighterZ” is a 2.5D fighting game, meaning it’s a 3D fighting game, but in a 2D perspective. Kind of like modern-day “Street Fighter.” The graphics are absolutely amazing, and look just like the anime show itself. Developed by Arc Systems Works and published by Bandai Namco, the game is just amazing. From remaking certain scenes from the show and adding small references in story mode, you can tell there’s a lot of love that went into making this game.
“Dragon Ball FighterZ” controls are easy to master. You can do auto combos by just mashing one button, which is good for first-timers that have a problem of not being better than the other player. You have your generic buttons on the controller for fighting –– light, medium and heavy attacks –– and they all do auto combos. However if you want to pull off some flashy moves, you would have to do the classic down-circle technique. It’s easy to master. But once you get it down, you will be firing Kamehameha’s –– an energy attack –– in just one flick of the wrist. But there’s also some strategy to the game, which is why there are assists. It’s a three vs. three fighting game. Depending on what kind of character you have, their assists will benefit you in battle. If you’re running low on health you can swap out and play a different character. It’s like trying to create one huge fighter with three others. Win or lose you get rewarded at the end with zeni, a type of currency in the game which you can spend at the shop for capsule. Capsules have lobby avatars, emotes, and z-coins, which you can spend on for more rarer stuff — it’s not that hype but it is nice to be rewarded for all your hard work. You can play as 24 characters in the game –– 26 if you bought additional downloadable content, also known as DLC –– including players like Goku, Piccolo and Captain Ginyu.
There are different modes you can play in, but the only way you can play them is by going up to them in the hub menu, an area where you can teleport to and just walk around. The modes are simple. There’s world match, in which you can play against other players online, casually or by rank. My suggestion is to just do it by rank if you don’t want to rage quit. You can also do a local battle, which is a two-player mode you can play with a friend. If you’re struggling, training mode helps you get better at the game and gives you combo challenges for each and every character, including DLC as well. Arcade mode is where you fight CPUs that are much harder to beat than actual online players. If you beat arcade mode on hard then you get two DLC characters for free — no joke. There’s party mode where you and two other players team up and tag in and out, kind of like wrestling but one player is playing and you’re on the sideline waiting to tag in. Finally, there’s story mode.
Story mode has three stories for each side: Super Warrior Arc, in which you play as the game’s heroes like Goku and friends; Enemy Warrior Arc, in which you play as the villains of Dragon Ball; and last is the Android 21 Arc, in which you play as the androids. Here’s the catch to all of them, they all tell the same story –– literally. (Warning, spoilers) You wake up, don’t know who you are and go out to save a few characters. Find Android 16, see him being blown up by Android 21, go save more characters, find Android 21, then obliterate Android 21, THE END. That’s how every arc plays, and it’s absolutely horrible storytelling. But there is more to story mode. You get to fight a bunch of clones of your characters, and it gets tiring and annoying, but one positive is you can trigger references to the TV show. The matches will always be three vs. three, but with power. The power-ups can help you bust up your attack and strength and how much zeni you get back after a match. But if you finish all the arcs you get a new character and that is Android 21. Meh.
Overall, the game is great for newcomers and for Dragon Ball fans as well. The story mode could be better, but receiving a character as a reward at the end sort of redeems it.