“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.

GO -who?

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

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