Written by Gregg Dietz and Edited by Ryan Copper
I have been watching Dragon Ball animes for a very long time, which would stand to reason that I have also played a lot of Dragon Ball video games over the years. So when I say this is the best Dragon Ball based game, I’m not messing around. Dragon Ball FighterZ is in the genre of fighting game which is exactly where the series needs to be. The game was developed by a veteran of fighting games, Arc System Works, whom you may know as the makers of the Guilty Gear and BlazBlue series.
I’ll admit that I’m no good at fighting games. Maybe I once thought I was when I could beat my brothers in any fighting game we had, but once the Internet rolled out, I learned very quickly that I’m pretty awful. That being said, Dragon Ball FighterZ makes me feel like a bona-fide bad ass… That is, until I play online.
The controls are simple for button mashers in that they allow for simple gameplay. However, for more experienced fighters, the technical aspect of this game is on par with what Arc has done in the past. After watching Mission Start Podcast’s “Tournament of Power”, I could see how all of the tech in the game made for better fights. I can’t wait to see it at EVO!
The story mode is made up of 3 separate story arcs in which you are a corporeal spirit that inhabits each Z fighter one at a time. The first story is your standard Dragon Ball Z/Super story. Goku and Friends get stronger, then fight and beat the villain. The second story is the comedic one. Goku, his friends and series villains must team up to fight and beat another villain. The third story is the true story, the one that matters. After beating all of the stories, you will unlock the new character, Android 21. Surprisingly, I found the campaigns to be longer than I expected them to be. Each one took about 4 hours without skipping cutscenes, while taking the shortest routes possible. However, it’s worth your time to view them because it’s all quality Dragon Ball silliness and action.
There are a few additional things to note about the game. Firstly, there is no standard menu. You will load into a hub where other players are hanging out while choosing what they want to do. The modes provided are standard fare in terms of fighting games: Training, Story, Online, and an Arcade mode. This is a neat idea, but it feels unnecessary, as selecting it from a menu would have been just as nice. Secondly, they have added a mode called “ring matches”. One player creates a ring for another player to enter to participate in a custom match, while other players are free to join as spectators. Finally, there is a cosmetic area within the hub where upon doing literally anything within the game, you can earn a currency called “zenny”. You can use this to buy capsules to unlock new items for use in the hub. As I found this to be mostly useless due to it being purely cosmetic, it was also fun to see chibi versions of characters that I know.
Overall, I’d say this is the most fun I’ve had playing a fighting game in a long time. Granted, there is a ton of nostalgia behind the enjoyment of this game. On one hand, I’ve been watching Dragon Ball for years and consider myself to be a huge fan. On the other hand, you have an expertly made fighter that caters to both casual and hardcore audiences. The only bad thing about this game is that Bandai Namco’s servers are still a bit wonky, but not bad enough that it will completely spoil your fun.
I give Dragon Ball FighterZ a 9.5 outta 10.