Dragon Ball FighterZ (Game Review)

The long-awaited Dragon Ball FighterZ is finally here! Dragon Ball FighterZ is a 3v3 2D fighting game that manages to capture the thrills and hectic battles of the fantastic Dragon Ball Z anime. The game’s roster includes 24 characters, allowing you to build your own dream team and take down anyone that stands in your way.

After the success of the story modes in NetherRealm Studios’ latest Injustice and Mortal Kombat releases, fans were wondering if FighterZ’ would follow suit and make us feel like a part of the anime. This tale starts as clones of Earth’s greatest heroes and villains show up. Sadly, the Z FighterZ have mysteriously had their powers weakened, just as the world needs them most. Thankfully, you, the player, is thrown into Goku’s body, allowing some of his power to be awakened. You then set off to save your allies and discover why there are so many miserable clones wandering around.

Overall, the story took me a little more than 10 hours to finish and while the main part of the narrative kept me entertained, there was a little too much padding and repetition. However, it must be said that the villain, Android 21, is a wonderful and much-welcomed addition to the Dragon Ball universe.

Outside of the story mode, you have online and offline multiplayer, as well as access to an arcade mode. This mode has six courses for you to challenge, three normal, three hard. Each course has a different route for you to take, with the difficulty scaling to how well you do on each fight. So, if you S Rank a battle, you’ll fight a much harder opponent next. It’s a fun system and adds a bit of variety for players that have little interest in playing online.

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Arc System Works, the creators of Blazblue and Guilty Gear, are masters of 2D fighting games and pairing them together with a franchise like Dragon Ball really is a match made in heaven. The game is fast, smooth and makes you feel like you really do have total control of each character’s devastating power. This is definitely a fighting game aimed at newbies to the genre, which is great for fans that want to be able to enjoy the story without having to worry about pulling off long combos. That said, if you want to challenge other players online, you’re going to need more than the auto-combos to take your foes down, mastering your favourite character’s moves will be key.

The game features characters old and new from Dragon Ball’s long history. It would’ve been nice to see a few more familiar faces in the roster, but this is a solid starting point. Of course, the game does have some newcomers on the way via DLC, so that’s something to look forward to.

DBFZ looks and sounds incredible with each character, level and soundtrack working in harmony to bring you the very best Dragon Ball experience. As usual both the English and Japanese cast do a tremendous job in bringing the characters to life. The developers could’ve looked at how well the game played and how visually pleasing it is and left it there, but they went the extra mile and added in plenty of little extras. Whether it’s the great banter between certain characters or references to previous events within the series, it’s all appreciated.

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So, after months of waiting, does Dragon Ball FighterZ live up to the hype? Without a doubt! Whether you’re a fan of 2D fighters, a fan of Dragon Ball ­— or both — this is a game that you won’t want to miss out on.

Dragon Ball Z FighterZ is out January 26th from Bandai Namco Entertainment UK on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.