The new Dragon Ball FighterZ is a fan’s dream

From as long as I can remember I have been a Dragon Ball enthusiast.

Akira Toriyama’s legendary series has had me purchase the majority of DBZ fighting games since the PS2’s Dragon Ball Z Budokai. Over the years I’ve gotten my fair share of highs such as Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 3, and lows like Super Dragon Ball Z or Burst Limit. With the upcoming release of Dragon Ball FighterZ I can’t help but feel on edge for what is perhaps the most ambitious game in the long line of titles.

Arc System Works is attempting to create the Dragon Ball game fans have long been waiting for but will they succeed in Evil Containment Waving the essence of what makes Dragon Ball the masterpiece it is?  Let’s pat our crotches to find out.

The most notable draw of this game is the combat that seeks to place the DBZ fighting genre on the map with both casual and hardcore gamers alike. It’s incredibly fast-paced, although characters remain grounded and don’t allow for the series’ famous ki blast clashes; it still maintains the level of intensity you want from a Dragon Ball game. The added depth in gameplay is a first for the series but will guarantee players keep coming back for years to come.

“Arc System Works is attempting to create the Dragon Ball game fans have long been waiting for …”

What may have many fans divided is the new 3v3 mechanic that comes with its pros and cons.

“True Saiyans fight alone” but on the bright side the likes of Tien, Yamcha, and Krillin, when paired with say Cell and Trunks, will finally get a chance to battle on an even playing field with Goku and Vegeta. Everything will take place on a 2D field for the first time in years. Although the large-scale planet destroying combat the series is known for has been brought down to a more intimate level, for the sake of this change, I think experimentation will do the game well. How I see it, Xenoverse will take care of the 3D plane while FighterZ has 2D covered.

The game looks gorgeous with full 3D models and detailed environments. Presentation is key in replicating the series charm. Special moves, intros, poses, and move sets seem to have been given careful consideration in paying homages fans will appreciate. However, the decision to make transformations move specific, fails to remain faithful to the source material. Necessary freedoms must be taken to make a stellar fighting game but I can’t help but miss the transformation feature that has been available since some of the earliest Dragon Ball games. I’d like to be able to play as black-haired Goku and yet it only seems like I’ll have access to Super Saiyan and SSGSS at one time or another with no mid-battle escalation. This decision is an unfortunate step backwards that I hope the game makes up for in other areas.

Playing through the original canon story loses its appeal after the hundredth or so time. FighterZ is bringing a new original story to the mix and from what I’ve seen so far, it looks good.

We have a new badass female villain in Android 21, designed by creator Akira Toriyama, who is set up to be the main antagonist across three arcs of a not so simple story mode that has you traversing a map and levelling up characters as opposed to traditional cutscene, fight, cutscene, fight, etc. What-if scenarios and stories like Xenoverse’s stray from the canon but keep fans excited with a world where you don’t know what’ll happen next. I only hope they bring many more characters on board and are willing to explore early Dragon Ball, the films, and even some GT inspired storylines.

Dragon Ball is the greatest shonen series of all time and finally its fighting games are going to be taken seriously. Arc System Works is on track to usher in a new era of DBZ games and I can’t possibly relate how hyped I am for the release on January 26th. Until then, stay Cooler.

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