Dragon Ball FighterZ Review

Long time fan Jason Rocha fly’s away from his time with Dragon Ball FighterZ full of SPARKING!

Dragon Ball FighterZ ushers in a new era for Dragon Ball games. Appealing to both the casual and hardcore, the newcomers and long-time fans, it’s the first of its kind to shed the stigma of “anime fighter”. With a streamlined combat system that holds up under competitive play, it secures Dragon Ball’s place among the rank and file franchises of the fighting game genre. The game understands what makes Dragon Ball the worldwide phenomenon it is, beautiful simplicity.

And enough high-quality fan-service to make a Jiren smile.

Dragon Ball FighterZ Review

Taking a departure from the large 3-D environments of past games, the 2-D Dragon ball FighterZ integrates high speed with intense destructive power carried with every blow and Ki blast. Combat balances accessibility and complexity in a way I’ve never seen before in any fighting game. Anymore simple and fights would be too easy, any harder and casuals would be scared away. Whether I was playing against my inexperienced brothers or friends, after only a short while they understood the controls enough to put up a worthy challenge, without them even realizing it.

At the same time, my many hours were filled with discovery after discovery as I learned new tactics through repeated play. I learned to extend my air combos, timing for parries, that assists can compensate for my vulnerable frames, all in the midst of combat. Move lists are short and unique to each character, complemented by different mechanics that work to suit your individual style. Whether you prefer to burn away meter on vanish attacks or would rather save up and stack super attacks, there is enough variation to make every match feel new and refreshing.

Instead of rehashing past sagas FighterZ comes complete with an original story following the mysterious Android 21 and her army of clones. You will fight alongside heroes and villains via the “link” system as you struggle to defend the Earth and cosmos. Departing from the typical fight, cutscene, fight, model adopted by games of the genre, FighterZ operates on a world board that allows players to skip most unwanted fights or alternatively hone their skills fighting clones. Within a dwindling amount of turns, players’ objective is to traverse the map and defeat a particular boss character, or characters ala the 3v3, while leveling up and staving off total defeat of the party.

What makes the story mode truly exceptional is the character interaction cutscenes littered throughout.

Dragon Ball FighterZ Review

Certain teams trigger cutscenes where players get to see fan-favorites interact in often hilarious and entertaining fashion. From a fan perspective, these scenes avoid pure unabashed pandering and at no point was it taken to ridiculous or annoying levels. They actually work brilliantly on a practical level. Aside from practice and leveling up, they give players a reason to explore the map while incentivizing roster experimentation. Your favorites may be Gohan or Vegeta but after some rounds with Krillin and Captain Ginyu, two you may not have bothered with before, you realize what they have to offer. These interactions offer a break from battles and are relatively easy to find with a little will power.

The game goes about explaining its design in clever and at times confusing ways. Most will enjoy Android 21 and the story revolving around her, while the only drawback will be an unsatisfying conclusion and pace. I engaged in many battles that could have been skipped, but I felt it was worth it for the practice. Clone battles allow players a chance to learn the intricacies of combat and master characters, therefore, the pacing is really up to the individual.

Online is where you will get the biggest bang for your buck and FighterZ delivers nothing out of the ordinary. The modes have some unique gimmicks, but all is familiar.

From the main lobby you are given multiple avenues to fight other players. World Match is your standard online matchmaking, Local is versus, and Ring and Arena matches let you compete against others in the same lobby. They all have their own little twists on standard fights, but it all is pretty much the same. There’s nothing wrong with that, given this is a fighting game, but it all could be so much more compelling if there were real rewards for long-term play like alternate outfits and other satisfying unlockables.

Dragon Ball FighterZ Review Conclusion

Those familiar with the source material will absolutely love what FighterZ has to offer, from Easter eggs to unparalleled graphics, it’s a true step forward for the franchise. The uninitiated however, still have an excellent fighting game to sink hours into.

4/5

We tested Dragon Ball FighterZ after purchasing a retail copy for the Playstation 4, it’s also out now for Xbox One and PC. 

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