Dragon Ball FighterZ is the newest in a long line of Dragon Ball fighting games, though the first in quite some time to actually be done in a 2.5D Style. Developed by Arc System Works, the people behind Guilty Gear, Blazblue. Persona 4 Arena and even some older Dragon Ball fighting games. Crashing into our view at E3, DBFZ shocked many a fan with its new style and mechanics, gaining even more attention when gameplay and character roster was revealed. With so much disdain surrounding the recent Xenoverse, FighterZ hits the stage to take the series even further beyond!
I played the PS4 Beta, and such my preview is based on that build. It may feature problems or advantages the Xbox One version does not. Controls are also based on the PS4 Controller.
From interviews, articles, releases and the game itself, we don’t have a clear view on the story as of yet. Since the game looks to be pure action, we shouldn’t be expected a grandiose story or involved plot. What we have heard though, is that the game features a newly revived Android 16, who was killed in the Cell Saga of the show, alongside plenty of other Super Androids who aim to be the antagonists of the story mode.
The beta only had an Arena mode in it, so I cannot say for certain what other features the game may contain. While I cannot say for certain what the modes are, there does look to be quite a few of them, as the hub we played within had several branching paths that were blocked off, either for story missions or separate modes of play.
Each match had a time limit of 300 seconds, with most matches only lasting 2-4 minutes.
DBFZ plays like many other 2D fighting games, though I felt the most similarity with Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3. You choose a team of 3 fighters, along with deciding between 4 different colour schemes for each, to fight against an opposing team. X is for special attacks and Ki blasts, Square for light attacks, Triangle for medium attacks and Circle for heavy attacks. If you combine X and Square you will charge your Ki, Square and Triangle for Dragon Rush (or Supers), Triangle and Circle for vanishing behind enemies and finally Circle and X to super dash towards your opponent.
The trigger buttons are mostly for quick inputs and character change, L1 and L2 are to call in your 2 other members to use their own attack, or held down to swap into them. This can also be chained when you use a Super move, having your teammates use theirs at the same time. R1 is the quick button for Dragon Rush whereas R2 is for Super Dash. Combining R1 and R2 puts you into Sparking Blast, increasing damage and gives health regeneration. Sparking Blast is only once per battle and lasts longer if you have fewer teammates alive.
To activate certain supers you will need to input commands with the left analogue stick, utilizing quarter circles. For example, Level 1 Supers requires you to rotate down and then towards your enemy, whereas Level 3 Supers require you to go down and then away. These motions can also be used with your normal attacks, using different Ki blasts, charged melee attacks and other moves. Most of the command moves take a bar of your Ki meter, which is on the bottom of the screen, whereas the level of Supers depletes by that amount. You gain Ki by taking or dealing damage, or by charging, with a maximum of 7 Ki bars.
Overall thoughts and feelings
The music in the Beta was totally my style, feeling rather reminiscent of older DBZ tracks from the Faulconer team and the Freeza theme song in Resurrection of F, combining rock tunes and metal notes. Each stage has its own track, with each feeling rather fitting to the area as well as being similar to that of the shows depictions and other games. The sound design is also on point, from the amazing announcer voice to the blasts and explosions. It sounds clear and infuses your soul with the energy that is being hurled around on the battlefield.
The beta had quite a bit of trouble with connection and matchmaking, though not as bad as some other games during their betas or stress tests. It took between 10 seconds and a minute to get a match, though towards the final beta sessions I found that a lot of my matches were with people far away or with a bad connection. I was also disconnected from fights around 16 times, being kicked to the server select around 8 times. But this is to be expected while they test out everything, and in the overall time I played it didn’t take up too much of my time. As an apology they also allowed players to enter into trial matches against AI during down times or at the end of sessions.
My overall experience with the Beta was rather positive, I enjoyed the visual style, the soundtrack, the sound effects, the mechanics and the roster of characters. It did hamper my fun when I couldn’t find any way to train or test characters in a training mode, but thankfully I got past the rough start and learnt a few characters to play decently. The combos were smooth and it featured a good mix of defence, counters and chains.
I am very excited to get into Dragon Ball FighterZ when it finally releases, and as of now, I highly recommend keeping an eye on it, to fans of the series or just general fighting games.