We’ve seen a different side of Dragon Ball for years, specifically on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One with XenoVerse 1 and 2. Lately though, there’s been an insane amount of buzz around what could be expected from Bandai Nacmo’s newest installment, Dragon Ball FighterZ. The wait is over and the battle awaits.
FighterZ kicks off in a hub that allows you to choose between training, story mode, multiplayer, leaderboards and more. The hub is also a fun way to also interact with others online whether it’s saying hello or challenging people to a fight. But let’s begin with the highly anticipated story.
A mysterious link has somehow inhabited Goku’s body and his consciousness is trapped within. As Bulma greets him, she quickly realizes she’s his only hope in regaining access to his body that’s been possessed thanks to the evil minded Red Ribbon Army. Android 16 arrives siding his allegiance sided with Red Ribbon and things only get worse from there. The bigger threats are other clones ruining Earth as lookalikes and dominating the original beings: Goku, Vageta, Freezia and so many more. It’s all up to the entity that’s inside to help regain control of Earth and stop the biggest threat in the history of Dragon Ball Z.
In each chapter of FighterZ you are placed in a random location where you must fight your way to boss battles. Along the way you can fight other villains in attempt to raise your skill level, earn special abilities and even unlock characters by rescuing them in various chapters. Be mindful though, you’re only allowed a set amount of turns on each chapter, so losing or wasting too many chances will become game over. In addition, after using players in so many battles their health will likely need to regenerate, forcing you to switch up in different matches.
The fighting system is magnificent, amazing, superb. The seamless action transitioning to unique cinematics and then tying in environmental and destructive finishes makes FighterZ one of the greatest fighting games in quite some time. It’s what Marvel v Capcom attempted but didn’t quite hit the mark. And for that reason alone, Dragon Ball is proving to be the number one go to for 2018.
To be fair button spamming is the key to performing combos, but it’s still requires timing as well. It was a blast partaking in so many heated battles, calling in a second player to help perform massive combos, charging my Ki Gauge to prepare to give my opponents hell and perform Special Moves that genuinely made me want to go back and watch DBZ anime all over again.
So many times FighterZ made me feel like I was watching an episode of Dragon Ball, placing me in the core of the story and pulling me back out to continue to embrace this beautiful experience. And visually, Dragon Ball FighterZ was extremely vibrant when needed, gloomy when unexpected and overall aesthetically pleasing to the eye with most amazing 2D graphics and cel-shaded animations to date.
My one disappointing note is the lack of action in regards to the A.I. difficulty as the entire story felt like one huge tutorial with little to no challenge (besides the final boss fight). Android 21’s fight proved to be the most formidable opponent, but aside from, the story’s build was somewhat of a lackluster. Gratefully that’s where the online multiplayer steps in and owns the show. It’s around finding the right match-up and achieving victory! Arcade equally offers a more challenging mode as well as you’re able to choose between high, middle or low difficulty, unlike in the story.
What do you get out of it all? You can earn Zeni and redeem Z Capsules unlocking charcters, special colors for outfits and more. While there’s isn’t over the top items available, it’s a breath of fresh air to unlock them without microtransactions taking a chunk of change from us.