Every time a new stunning Dragon Ball game comes out, I dream of going back in time to visit my past self busy spending 99 mille lire notes, to get a slowed-down, stretched PAL copy of Dragon Ball Ultimate Battle 22 for PSX, and showing him what the future holds.This time I am bringing Dragon Ball FighterZ with me, and not coming back. Life was so much better, but Dragon Ball games were not.
There has been a lot of debate about reducing the skill gap in fighting games to attract new players, the death of arcade sticks and the rise of the self bloated ps4 controller user pro player. While there is a lot of truth here, some games did it in the wrong way (say Street Fighter V), while others, like Dragon Ball FighterZ are doing it right.
It is undeniable that bringing a fighting game to an alcohol fuelled sausage party night can prove somewhat difficult, resulting in a bunch of people mashing buttons with awful onscreen results, or just being not interested at all. Fighting games required dedication and an even field of contenders to become as good as they can be, and the single player online experience can be frustrating as well. Trying to figure out your character while fighting a n endless stream of flowchart Kens is hardly any fun, until you get good and can actually outplay them.
DragonBall FighterZ fixes it, by making every characters playable in a super easy way. If you can press a button and do a quarter circle you are pretty much set to go, but it still doesn’t make things dumb and keep it interesting for high level play. Sometimes playing it reminded me more of a game like Psychic Force than a tradition fighter. Despite giving the attacker an advantage, it still is nowhere as frustrating as being stunned by a Laura or Balrog rushdown, as you have the ability to comeback and dish out some real damage out of a correct reading. I have personally witnessed a group of friends more into PES or FIFA getting into the game easily, having a lot of fun and get addicted by improving slowly game after game. The Dragon Ball flavour certainly added to it.
This will happen quite often, with you being Freezer
It otherwise plays as your standard Blazblue/ Guilty Gear re-skin and I mean it as a good thing, with top level animations, flashes, big combos, counters and stuff . It’s just the learning curve that is soft and done right. It never feels dumb and give you the right tools to express your Ultra Instinct, then it’s up to you to bring it to next level. If you are still struggling to understand what it feels like, just imagine a Marvel vs Capcom 2 where you can pick any of the characters and make things that you want actually happen. I ‘ve read about objections about a Dragon Ball game that plays in a limited square with character stuck in corners that doesn’t really fit the Dragon Ball universe, I’ll give that some credit but it is still acceptable and works as intended as a classic fighting game.
There are a few things that could be improved, such as the rooster: too many Goku and Vegeta versions instead of unique characters and getting the additional DLC set will charge you almost as much as the game itself; the story mode is boring and easy and you need to go through it to unlock Android 21.
Netcode is actually quite good and excluding the occasional disconnection, it plays really smooth with the input lag displayed on screen and no weird rollbacks or other oddities. The level of detail put in the game is impressive as well, with animations taken straight from the manga and immediately recognisable, and a nice hub with cute character models, stamps, messages and plenty of options to set up a match.
Dragonball FighterZ is a great game whether you are a Dragon Ball fan or a fighting game enthusiast. If you are both, you’re practically in heaven.
+ great learning curve and combat system
+ it captures the feeling of Dragon Ball fights
– Rooster could be better
– Story mode is meh
IFSCORE: Ultra Instinct!