The fighting game scene has been a bit of a niche market for quite some time compared to the most popular genres out there. However, starting last year with the success of Injustice and Tekken we see more and more people jump into or back into fighting games. If any game can further increase this resurgence, it will be DRAGON BALL FighterZ.
- The graphics are just Cutscenes look like a Dragon Ball Super episode. The fights are spectacular as well, and the background even gets damaged by some moves. Using a lot of supers can be a bit overwhelming though, especially when watching other people play.
- The music is very fitting for a Dragon Ball game, and the sound effects are spot on. Scoring hits is all the more satisfying because of this.
- Story modes can be hit or miss with fighting games, but the one in FighterZ is decent enough, mainly due to the cut scenes and dialogues that can vary based on your team selection. The overall progression is definitely linear, but chapters play out on maps where you can move your team around as if it were a board game, choosing fights to engage and in what order before taking on the map’s boss fight.
- One thing that can hold fighting games back, at least for the more casual player, is how long it takes to become good at it. Most shooters you can feel competent within a day, for fighting games that can take months. FighterZ lessens this gap by the inclusion of auto combos. They are something everybody can use in a fight, but the damage will be less than doing a full manual combo. This makes the game more accessible to a large group of players, and you can still play your own style.
- FighterZ offers a pretty complete package, with training modes, including a half decent tutorial, story mode, arcade mode, online and local matchmaking there is quite a bit to keep you busy for a long time, even if you are not that keen on online matches.
- When matchmaking online is successful, the games mostly seem very lag free. I didn’t run into any slide shows that I occasionally have to struggle through in other fighting games.
- Checking out match replays is a nice touch, you can even watch recordings of developer battles from within the game client and maybe pick up a trick or two.
- I was pretty thrilled to see the inclusion of a local tournament, especially when I saw you could add CPU players as well, meaning if you are with 3 people you could still hold a mini-tournament complete with elimination brackets. It’s sadly not perfect. Other players can’t sign on with their Gamertag. The game also doesn’t know who is who so you will have to remember your player number. There were also some issues at times where only one player got to pick a team when going versus another human and the other player just got the same team composition. That last one is avoidable by selecting to choose fighters every match.
- While the game is reasonably beginner friendly, the pacing of the fights probably isn’t. When starting out you can likely handle the computer, but fighting against real people, it’s easy to quickly become overwhelmed by all the hits and effects on the screen, with your opponent seemingly teleporting all over the place. Being used to more deliberately paced fighting games myself, starting out was a bit of a culture shock. All I can say is, hang in there and keep practicing, you’ll start picking up on how to act and respond.
- At first sight, it might be a fun gimmick, and it offers some minor customizations for your avatar, but I really do not like the lobby system. I think I understand why the developers went with this, but for players, it adds more problems than it solves. Lobby connection issues abound, even after the first patches and it’s not uncommon to have to reconnect after changing activities. On busy nights it’s annoying to meet up with friends in-game as you want to be in the same lobby, but need to find one with enough room while everyone joins the exact same lobby.
- The tests leading up to the release had some very serious matchmaking and connection trouble, most of that was fixed when the game went live, but even now there are still lingering issues, mostly with ring matches. I have never managed to start and finish a ring match, though I have seen others do it.
DRAGON BALL FighterZ [Score: 9/10] is a beautiful game that plays really smoothly to boot. It captures the feeling of the anime quite well, and its semi-accessible approach for newcomers is refreshing. If you are a Dragon Ball fan but not so sure about getting into a fighting game, this is well worth a closer look. If you are into fighting games than you need to stop reading now and get this game.