“The fight is over quickly. I do not win. I barely get any attacks in”
Failing to go pro in Dragon Ball FighterZ
Spurred on by the excitement of this year’s EVO, I have developed the urge to play a fighting game. Tekken 7 and Street Fighter V both had competitive, nail-biting finals, but it was tag-team battling of Dragon Ball FighterZ that proved the star of the show. Seemingly overwhelming at first, after watching a few rounds I was drawn to its fast pace, audacious special moves, and exciting turnarounds. I download it and immediately head to the training area. I’m delighted to discover how easy it is to control. There are a few specific combos for each character, but you can go a long way just spamming light or medium attack to unleash a flurry of blows and a magical hand laser. Special moves are all activated in the same way, too, each causing whatever character you’re playing to strike a pose and let loose a glowing ranged attack for massive damage.
Before long, I’ve got a handle on the basics and so I start following the lobby’s checklist tour of everything the game offers. I attempt a few AI fights, take a shot at arcade mode, and even make a start on the story. So far, I’ve not come up against much resistance. I’m yet to lose a battle. I’ve barely even had to block an AI attack.
If anything, my biggest problem is figuring out what the hell is going on. Not in battle—that’s understandable enough. My questions run deeper. Why does 80% of the roster look the same? Why are some people gray? Why are some people small, weird, pink troll things? I have never watched Dragon Ball, and FighterZ has not prepared for that possibility. The story even starts with a character possessed by a spirit not from the show’s world. And yet nobody uses this obvious conceit as an excuse to explain what the hell is going on.
Having sampled the singleplayer, I guess it’s time to head online. I rarely enjoy one-vs-one online competition, but so far this has all been pretty simple. Maybe I’ll even do well. I hit the casual playlist and queue up. I pick three random characters and prepare to battle.
The fight is over quickly. I do not win. I barely get any attacks in. I manage to whittle down maybe half the health bar of one of my opponent’s characters. In exchange, I am utterly destroyed. My opponent is able to sustain their combos far beyond what I thought was possible. They also possess the ability to block my attacks, which I’m starting to realize might be useful. Thoroughly shamed, I deny the requested rematch and return to the lobby.
While I won’t be attending EVO 2019, I am at least enjoying myself. But I don’t plan on venturing back online any time soon. Instead, I head back into the story mode, where the AI seems content to give me an easy time—at least for now. And so I return to my many questions about this confusing show. Who or what is Cell? Why are half of these people androids? Is that cat actually a god?
Thoroughly shamed, I deny the requested rematch and return to the lobby
You mean these people aren’t all the same person?
Often, the screen is 60% explosion.
THIS MONTH Didn’t play well with others. ALSO PLAYED NFL2019, DeadCells