Dragon Ball FighterZ

A game that captures the intensity of the series itself. A masterpiece. 

By Urian Brown February 07, 2018

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Dragon Ball FighterZ (pronounced “fighters”) is a very different Dragon Ball game than what we're used to. Produced by Arc System Works and Bandai Namco Entertainment, I think Dragon Ball FighterZ is the best Dragon Ball fighting game made to date, even better than Ultimate Battle 22!

Dragon Ball FighterZ (not pronounced “fighter zee”) is a 2D fighting game where each player fights one-on-one using a team of three of their favorite Dragon Ball characters. Characters can assist or tag into the action with the press of a button, and knowing how to use that effectively will help you win matches. Winning is simple: just defeat the opponent's team until they have no one else left to fight. But if you've played games like Budokai and Xenoverse, then forget everything. FighterZ uses a brand new system. The game is fast, hard and beautiful. A constant 60 frames per second ensures that the action is speedy and precise, and it doesn't pay to button mash if you want to win; you'll need to acquaint yourself with each character and test their individual strengths if you want to triumph. 

And oh my goodness is FighterZ beautiful. The art direction by Arc System Works is excellent, making the game's graphics look really close to the anime. You can also change the voice-over language between the Japanese and the English dubs, although the subtitled dialogue remains the same.

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Dragon Ball FighterZ (not pronounced “fighter zed”) has 21 characters in its starting roster, with 24 characters total.The story is an original scenario that pits the Dragon Ball heroes and villains against their clones as mysterious waves sap their powers to the point where everyone is on equal terms of power, which explains why Yamcha can hold his own against Super Saiyans. The game's chief villain is Android 21, an original character designed by series creator Akira Toriyama. 

Playing through story mode will take several hours, depending on how many battles you want to partake in, and the banter between the characters is fun. However, while the presentation is novel (it's set up to look like a board game where you move your team around in spaces in a map until you get to the boss), it feels a little like padding by the end. There's also a more traditional arcade mode, where you fight a gauntlet of opponents until you win the game. Winning nets you Zeni, which you can spend to buy knick-knacks at the lobby, where much of your idle time will take place.

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Dragon Ball FighterZ (not pronounced “fighter zetto”) hosts all of its modes in an interactive lobby, where you control a chibi avatar of your favorite Dragon Ball character and direct him/her to the mode of your choice. The game automatically connects you online when you start, so it's kind of cute seeing a lot of chibis run around the lobby. If you want a more traditional lobby experience, you can “warp” to a destination (mode) and do what you wanna do. 

Winning fights and completing quests earns you Zeni, which you can spend at the shop and purchase additional lobby characters, variant colors for the characters, titles and preset message stickers (think LINE messenger stickers) for chat. Each item costs 1,000 Zeni and the items you get are random. Z Coins, however, can be collected and be used to buy specific items you want, but they're harder to obtain than Zeni. As cool and whimsical as the lobby is, it might take some time to connect online. And if you can't connect to one because it's full, there are several others you can try to log into. Thankfully, there's also an offline lobby where you can enjoy local multiplayer, story mode and arcade mode. 

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Multiplayer is the heart and soul of any fighting game and FighterZ both excels and falls short when it comes to this. When fighting someone at home, the matches are fast, frenetic and fun. When fighting someone online, however, there can be hiccups. But FighterZ is still a newish game and one that's wildly popular so there are some kinks to be worked out. No doubt things will get smoother in the future. 

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Dragon Ball FighterZ (not pronounced “Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite”) is a great looking, great sounding and a great playing game that appeals to core fighting game fans as well as anime fans. FighterZ is accessible enough for beginners to learn how to land combos and try out their favorite moves, and it's fine-tuned enough for pros to have some heated matches. And recently, Dragon Ball FighterZ has been chosen as one of the eight games that will be showcased in the EVO 2018 fighting game tournament. Can the Kamehameha defeat the Hadoken? Maybe that's an idea for a future game...

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Hint: Didn't pre-order the game? The only other way to unlock Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan Goku and Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan Vegeta is to clear the arcade mode. Winning the Hyperbolic Time Chamber run on Hard with an A rank or higher unlocks SSGSS Goku and winning the Extreme Gravity Spaceship run on Hard with an A rank or higher unlocks SSGSS Vegeta. Good luck!

by Ray n.