By Elliott Gatica Music Editor
The fighting game genre seems to be heading into a new golden age with the successful releases of big names like “Injustice 2,” “Tekken 7,” Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition,” and future releases like “Soul Calibur 6” and “Blazblue Cross Tag Battle.” Now comes another contender in the growing list of great contemporary fighting games.
“Dragon Ball FighterZ” came out on Jan. 26, alongside another worthy titan in the gaming industry. Though its sales have been surpassed by “Monster Hunter: World,” the game is still a worthy buy.
This game was made by Arc System works, a developer known mostly for their fighters like the “Blazblue” and “Guilty Gear” series. While their games are not super popular, their track record with this type of game is nothing short of phenomenal.
“Dragon Ball FighterZ” is senseless fun, and is very easy for any DBZ fan to pick up a controller and dish it out.
While I have heard endless complaints about this game being “brain dead” and requiring no skill because of its auto combo system, I feel this will actually keep the player base alive for longer. Most fighting games don’t have this accessibility for casuals to stick around because in order to succeed in this genre, one needs to harness great muscle memory, know frame data, know combos and have other universal fighting game skills. While I do wish there was an option to disable it, I had to adapt and apply the aforementioned skills, which is the fine line that separates the “pros” and the “noobs.”
To add to the senseless fun, the visuals are almost as if I’m watching an actual episode of the Dragon Ball franchise. The music and exchanged dialogues feel so natural; and with the locales, it feels like some kind of throwback to the Budokai series (but without the obviously overpowered Super Saiyan 4 Gogeta potara transformation with the Ultimate Breaker move and such).
It’s a 3 on 3 fighter, much like the “Marvel Vs. Capcom” franchise. Most of its tag mechanics are also very similar to the MvC series, like having assists and tagging characters out to switch up the gameplay. It’s not even a surprise that a game like this already has “touch of death” combos with proper ally synergy and timing.
Talking about balance, the vanilla game seems to be more balanced than most games at their initial releases. And while there still are obviously advantageous characters, it boils down to how you utilize your strengths against your foe’s weaknesses.
The base game is great. It even offers a visual-novel style story mode. It’s an original story with traditional DBZ and DB Super characters.
Of course with any great game comes some faults. Though not any kind of deal breaker, they are most certainly nuisances. I know I’m not the only one who really dislikes this whole “always online” lobby/main menu hybrid. You’re a little chibi version of a Dragon Ball character in a lobby with up to 64 players per server. However, you may want to avoid full lobbies if you’re not utilizing online modes, or you will most likely be booted and have to connect again.
There isn’t a simple way to invite friends to online matches either; you have to coordinate with each other to connect to servers and find each other. The recent “Guilty Gear” games did these interactive lobbies right. It didn’t override the main menu; it was its own thing.
Problems aside, this game is still amazing. For those on the fence about it, I’d suggest waiting for a significant price drop or the eventual “complete edition” down the line. Regardless, I’d recommend this to those who want to pick up a new fighting game.
- Fun, flashy gameplay
- Great visuals, does the franchise justice
- Neat easter eggs in character dialogues
- Some characters have assist cameos (i.e. Android 17 appears in Android 18’s special moves)
- Awesome soundtrack
- Easy, accessible gameplay for players of all skill levels
- Original and immersive story mode, more for those visual novel fans
- Items in loot boxes (or capsules) are all for cosmetic purposes in online lobbies
- Prompts the user in the beginning to be logged in via internet connection
- *isn’t required, but feels unnecessary to have the full experience
- Story mode fights can feel repetitive (avoiding spoilers, so play the game or watch videos of it to see what I mean)
- The main menu is more of an interactive online lobby rather than your conventional menu
- Roster slightly lackluster, ⅛ of it is Goku in different forms
- The accessibility of the gameplay may be off putting to seasoned veterans of fighting games, making it a “button masher”
- Lobby booting problems