DRAGONBALL FIGHTERZ REVIEW | E03 GAMING

Lewis Oman gives us a very detailed review of the new hit fighting game, Dragonball FighterZ.

 
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When we talk about fighting games we talk about the big names and heavy hitters of the industry; Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and Super Smash Bros. They're all amazing games, and I get psyched every time there's a new release. These games tend to dominate any fighting game tournament including; Evo, Apex and the Capcom Cup, but now a new game has entered the ring with intentions of being the next great tournament fighter. Yes, the hyped and often talked about Dragon Ball FighterZ is finally here! I couldn't be any more excited to play this title, and after, share my experiences with the game. It would seem, that any long-time fans of the series have finally gotten the Dragon Ball game they’ve been waiting for, with slick gameplay and even slicker visuals, FighterZ sets out to be the perfect game for fans of the series and fans of the fighting genre in general.

When the game was announced my first thoughts from all the screenshots and early gameplay was that it was trying to break out and not just be another...you know Dragon ball game. The previous games all played similar to each other and each release further dimmed my hopes of them ever rekindling the fire they had with the Tenkaichi series. From the very first play it's not trying to be another dragon ball z game, but an actual fighting game, a straight up Marvel Vs Capcom style fighting game. It's beautiful.

 
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The speed of the series has always been hard to replicate in the games. The battles split screen feature with a friend would be bothersome. Whether it had bad cameras angles, uninspired style or just lousy fight mechanics. The 2.5 D style here is a nice change. The benefit of always knowing where your enemy is keeps the game flowing quickly and beautifully. The days of massive maps and firing blindly into space are over, with FighterZ's fast-paced 3on3 style action. The character roster, albeit small in comparison to the other series entries, have a nice blend of series favorites with classic characters such as; SSJ2 Gohan, Future Trunks aaaand the always helpful Yamcha. For new fans, Hit and Goku black join the fight.  3on3 fighting may seem overwhelming with the amount of sheer action going on, but with a fairly simplistic move set the game has done a good job of making it easy for first-timers to pick it up and not be frustrated with the learning curve. A Hodken style input will have most of the characters pull off their true to the series special moves and with four simple attacks (XYBA) and different directions on the left stick will get your character performing specific attacks and motions that feel very DRAGON BALL. Auto-combos are activated simply by pressing (X) four times or (Y) 4 times, so button mashing is welcome but the combat system is deep enough that with some practice you'll find a separation between yourself and beginner players with unique moves such Dragons Rushes, vanishes, sparking blasts. With the addition to the four face buttons, those techniques will have you dealing massive amounts of damage and assists from your other two Characters provides many opportunities to mix up the action and keep the game interesting and above all, fun. The combat is where FighterZ truly shines with beautiful combos backed by superb animation. Each character has their own move set and unique special moves, though each character has similar button combinations they all handle in their own unique way and changing up teams and trying different looks is one of the games strong points. Another strong point of the game on display lies in the special moves with the developers getting all the right ones in the in my opinion. From Vegeta's bone-crushing final flash and  Gohan's classic father-son Kamehameha. These moves have produced some of the anime's most iconic moments.

 Aside from the controls and gameplay being top notch the animation, lighting and frame rate makes this easily the best-looking Dragon Ball game ever. Developer Arc System Works, known for Guilty Gear and The BlazBlue pull out all the stops to make a Dragon Ball game, look and play to its full potential.  Dragon Ball is so cool. It's the most recognizable anime and a pop culture staple in itself. Now with FighterZ, It's apparent the creators were fans of the series as well. The detail and depth of the presentation are astonishing, borrowing from pages of the Original Japanese Manga and scenes from the series to reenact many of the stills and scenes from the game. This is best displayed in the "Dramatic Finish KO" done by recreating a fight from the series, such as Goku kills Frieza on Namek. If done right you'll get a slick little Easter egg and another reason to love all the fan service that’s been put into the game.

 
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I don’t expect much for captivating stories from the Dragon Ball games. This one surprised me a bit, mostly with the addition of a new character in Android 21. She's wild, and a pure badass with one simple goal, turn the Z fighters into sweets. It's up to the usual suspects to try and stop her. The dialogue in Dragon Ball games are usually on point and FighterZ is no different. The series regulars reprising their iconic roles. Obvious effort went into the recording and writing processes and the "what if" conversations the characters are believable and funny. It may be a video game but the characters have good on-screen chemistry with one another which is what makes stories good and with the option to change your team up it gives you the chance to hear all the good-natured ribbing such as Vegeta talking smack on Gohan for being stronger when he was a teenager. While the fights between the various boss battles are pretty cut and dry, they do give you a chance to practice and familiarize yourself with the controls. Upon completion of the Hero arc I had only completed 67% of the story, so going back and clearing up the spaces you've missed opens up new stories and cutscenes and chances to unlock new characters. On top of the story, there's the surprisingly deep Arcade mode, various training tutorials, and combo challenges. The almighty Verses mode where you find out if you're actually good at the game I soon found my story mode dominance did not translate to online dominance and was handed loss after loss. From my online experience, it became apparent that there is a lot to learn in terms of combat. Strategic assist use is crucial. The options are limitless and it shows the true ceiling of mastery adept players can achieve. Lag wasn’t that apparent and the game runs fairly smooth online which was surprising due to the massive amount of online activity. The online lobby is a nice touch with the option of interacting with other players using emotes and stickers earned from completing various areas of the game.

In its first week, the game has sold over 2 million copies which bodes well with the possibility of DLC. With a strong body of work displayed upon release and a ton of replay value, FighterZ stands to be a fighter that will be played and talked about for quite some time. This game is refreshing and above all fun. The effort put in it shows in its crisp gameplay, amusing stories, modes, and maybe most important, the make-over the tired series needed.

 

Official trailer for Dragonball FighterZ, available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC