Arc System Works don’t really need an introduction when it comes to fighting games. They have created some well known franchise including Guilty Gear series and have worked on collaboration with developers like Atlus with Persona and Bandai Namco with Dragon Ball. Their latest effort is another take on the Dragon Ball universe that combines their talent with 2.5D wizardry seen in Guilty Gear Xrd, and their passion at creating an enjoyable but simple to learn fighting system.
Dragon Ball FighterZ is the ultimate game for fans of the popular manga and animated series. It nails the art style for the TV Show right down to the last detail and features the same crazy battles full of explosion and adrenaline fueled action for which the show is known for. It is not an easy task to deliver such an experience but Arc System Works has executed this concept brilliantly here and created perhaps the best Dragon Ball game released this generation. I don’t really want to say that the previous Dragon Ball games are bad, but compared to what is being offered here in FighterZ, they feel lackluster in retrospect. Dragon Ball FighterZ feels like it is on a whole different level compared to other fighters thanks to the amount of polish and effort that has been spent in making this game.
As a fighter, Dragon Ball FighterZ relies on a fairly simple control method. There are no complex input required to perform the flashy moves and instead more emphasis is placed on chaining a set of combos. The goal of the developers here is to offer the same cinematic quality of battles from the animated series and it has worked well with the implementation of Dramatic Intros and Dramatic Finishers. Both of these are essentially super slick animated scenes that are integrated seamlessly into the combat so they appear to be just a part of the battle.
The simplified control scheme is all explained in great detail in a tutorial mode. The game allows the player to chain together combos automatically if you execute a combination of light and medium attacks. This doesn’t mean that most battles will play automatically by simply bashing buttons. You will have to learn your opponent’s strength and exploit their weakness, otherwise it is easy to face defeat from a human player in online multiplayer. Special moves will require a little more input but again they don’t come closer to the complexity that is required in some of the more advanced fighting games.
The main character roster is limited to 21 fighters. It will be hard to find one that is not a fan favorite although there are many choices that seem to be strangely absent here, but perhaps they are being kept for the Season Pass. The character roster might seem like limited at first, but once you use each of them, it is easy to see why it was kept this way. Each character is designed to a specification that seems to fit their fighting style. Some of them are useful in aerial combat while others work well for projectile based attacks. They thing to learn here to utilize the character that works best in a situation instead of just sticking with your favorite fighter.
The battles are conducted on the basis of 3 vs. 3 fighters. It works like in the Marvel vs. Capcom series but with a more centralized approach to the controls. You will be able to switch through your 3 main fighters during battle easily which gives further incentive to use more of the fighters, unlike say, Street Fighter V or Tekken 7. Performing a combination of tag team moves is immensely satisfying if you can manage to chain them together. The animations are slick for the fighters although the game has a tendency to switch to a lower frame rate when it plays through a detailed animation, which can end up jarring at times next to the smooth 60 fps offered by the rest of the game.
Despite the forward thinking approach for the gameplay, it is disappointing to see that Arc System Works has implemented a lobby based system for multiplayer. This can be confusing in the start as the game lets you pick the region of your lobby and then you will have to deal with finding ones which aren’t full of players but have more than enough that you can enjoy multiplayer matches. The lobby system is actually nothing new for the developers as they have featured it in their Guilty Gear series, but the way it works here is rather different and feels like a step back from Guilty Gear Xrd. Your player character is represented in the form of a chibi avatar based on your choice of fighter. You will fight through a predetermined set of team that you can customize before battle. There is no character select screen like a traditional fighter, which is something that I would have loved to see for multiplayer matches.
The multiplayer might be disappointing for some because of its clunky nature and terrible execution but thankfully there is also plenty of single player content to go through here. There is a story mode here that offers a original scenario set in the Dragon Ball universe and lets the player go on a journey that can easily take them 10 to 15 hours. There are full animated cutscenes and special sequences that can be triggered, although the computer controller opponents here are rather braindead so winning the matches is relatively straightforward. Some of the later battles can be tougher and the game does offer a difficulty option, but it is hard to avoid the repetitive nature of the battles here. Aside from that, there is an Arcade mode if you want to test your skills since it has some actual difficulty unlike the story mode.
Dragon Ball FighterZ Review (Xbox One)
Game Reviewed on: Xbox One
Game description: Dragon Ball FighterZ is a 2.5D fighting game developed by Arc System Works and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows, based on the Dragon Ball franchise.
Dragon Ball FigtherZ is not only one of the best looking fighting game currently on market, it also offers easy to grasp but deep fighting mechanics. Simply put, it is one of the best Dragon Ball fighting game released this generation.