Dragon Ball FighterZ
the action is fast and spectacular enough that it’s still entertaining as a button mash
Developer Arc SyStem WorkS • P ublisher BAndAi nAmco entertAinment • P rice $ 59.99 • A vAilAble At SteAm, retAil bandainamcoent.com.au
Arc System Works aren’t known for doing licensed games, but Dragon Ball definitely fits in their wheelhouse. The developer behind the beloved Guilty Gear and BlazBlue fighting games has a history of creating spectacular, beautiful games with deep fighting mechanics and over the top spectacle. Dragon Ball FighterZ is definitely beautiful and over the top, with more crazy bullshit per second than pretty much any other fighting game on the market, and whilst the fighting engine is simplified when compared to the developer’s flagship titles it still manages to deliver a satisfying and deep experience good for beginners and pros alike.
The story of the long running Dragon Ball comics and animated series is nigh impenetrable unless you’re in for the long haul, but knowledge of the source material isn’t necessary to enjoy the many charms of the game. Unlike most fighting games, all of the characters in Dragon Ball FighterZ have the same input commands, making switching from one character to another in the three on three fighting, or learning a new character much simpler than having to learn a full new command system. Quarter circle forward plus the special attack button performs the iconic Kamehameha for Goku, but the same input delivers a Homing Energy Blast from Piccolo, Connoisseur Cut from Android 21, Sweeping Breath from Majin Buu or “Next time, you’ll die” from Frieza.
The fighting engine is based around four buttons and directional commands – so far so traditional. The directional commands are straightforward and either consist of a single direction or a quarter circle backwards or forwards. More complicated movements like dragon punches, half circles, 360s or charge moves are used. Light, Medium, Heavy and Special attacks can be comboed together, from simple auto combos on the light and medium attacks to more intricate mix-up combos. Many attacks are auto homing, sending the character careening across the screen to pummel the opponent. It may sound overly simplistic, and matches between casual opponents often seem to devolve into light and heavy button mashing contests until one can pull off a level three super move to dish out some very serious damage and prompt some Earth-shattering animations. Even so, the action is fast and spectacular enough that it’s still hugely entertaining as a button mash. Get some skilled opponents facing each other, however, and it’s a far more nuanced game, with moves and counter moves, combo breaks and some truly spectacular action.
This is by far the best Dragon Ball game to date, but more importantly, it’s also a fantastic fighting game that is easy to approach but rewards serious play. The story mode makes for an excellent introduction to the mechanics, and online play, though a little clunky thanks to the lobby system, adds a massive amount of replayability.