Calling Dragon Ball FighterZ the best anime fighting game of all time is a bold statement that many people will disagree with, but let’s take a look at the reasons for this. DBFZ came out in 2017 when Street Fighter was still fraught with problems, and there was no Mortal Kobat 11 to enjoy. It came to fill a void, and its tight graphics, frenetic gameplay, and popularity amongst hardcore gamers and casual partakers made way for it to be a top title within the FGC.

Nowadays, Dragon Ball FighterZ is one of the top fighting games competitively, and there are a number of reasons for this. A cursory glance at any list of best anime fighters, you’ll always find DBFZ there, but never at the top, with Persona 4 Arena and Melty Blood typically ranked above it. But Dragon Ball Fighter Z deserves a lot more praise for what it has done within the fighting game genre. In this article, we’ll look at some of the stuff Dragon Ball brings to the table and why it can boldly be called the best anime fighting game of all time.

Source Material

Dragon Ball Fighterz, The Best Anime Fighter, Of All Time, Source Material

Dragon Ball is one of the most well-known and beloved anime ever. For many gamers, it was their entire childhood. While many people prattle on about the ‘Big 3’ of anime: One Piece, Naruto, and Bleach, Dragon Ball is the progenitor, the Chronos to their Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades.

So, in terms of visibility, few games within the anime genre can compare to Dragon Ball FighterZ. The sales numbers also support this as the 2020 sales records of DBFZ put the game at over 6 million copies sold, which is not a boast that any other anime fighter can state. This is partly because of the widespread appeal of DBFZ’s source material which many people are familiar with. Able to call upon a ridiculously large cast of their favorite characters, Dragon Ball doesn’t look like it will be slowing down any time soon.

Mechanics and Balance

Dragon Ball Fighterz, The Best Anime Fighter, Of All Time, Mechanics and Balance

Fighting games are hard to make. Developers need to ask several questions: who are their target audience? What kind of fighter do they want to create? What should each character be able to do against others? There are so many questions that need answers, and the pressure is real as all the answers have to be correct. Modern game developers have the advantage of patches which enables them to balance the game on the fly.

DBFZ has straddled the line between the hardcore fighting game experience and casual fun between friends. With the auto combo function, players who aren’t professionals can have a good time and still feel like they are doing something. Meanwhile, the more seasoned professionals also have all the complex combos that their hearts desire. This was an ingenious move and opened the game up to a whole new market. This is different from many of the other anime fighters out there, which are not only niche but also involve complicated systems that are hostile to newer players. This, of course, endears them to their individual communities, but a game that isn’t accessible to everyone will always have its problems, especially with sales. It is all well and good to have a game that caters to a staunch section of the fanbase that appreciates complex systems, but it can only take you so far, and Dragon Ball Fighter Z understood this and created something that everyone could enjoy.

Furthermore, DBFZ has also managed to pull off one of the most difficult things in a fighting game— balance. Many people have different opinions on the best-balanced fighting games out there, but you could mention games like Ultra Street Fighter IV and Killer Instinct in this category. DBFZ is another proud entry into the balance hall of fame with an array of character archetypes that are accessible to just about anyone. If you check out any DBFZ tier list, you will find that there is a nice spread between S and B tiers. What this means is that there are almost no players that are exclusively unplayable. This is great as the balance is usually a matter of great debate amongst gamers all over the world.


Dragon Ball Fighterz, The Best Anime Fighter, Of All Time, Niche

The FGC always has a tag game that is the main title of an era, and Dragon Ball FighterZ did well to ensure that they are the tag game of this generation. This is because the tag space is usually clear of congestion and competition, meaning that any decent game could be the top title in that category. Think of times past; you’ll realize that games like Marvel vs. Capcom and Street Fighter x Tekken did really well as tag games that many people played alongside their main games.

DBFZ came around at a time where there was no tag fighter (Marvel vs. Capcom Ultimate is not in this conversation) was around meaning that it came as the unopposed title within this niche. This is different from many other anime fighters who relied on 3D graphics and one-on-one fights to carry the game.

The Developers

Dragon Ball Fighterz, The Best Anime Fighter, Of All Time, The Developers

Arc System Works are arguably the masters of the fighting game genre. They have succeeded in creating some really amazing fighters, including the aforementioned Persona 4 Arena.  Sometimes, a game lives or dies at the hands of the developers. Arc System has an extensive history of making incredible fighting games, and with Dragon Ball FighterZ, they finished the assignment with aplomb. With great mechanics, awesome graphics, and very smart balance patches, DBFZ has cemented itself in FGC lore.

With the points above, you might disagree with the conclusion that Dragon Ball FighterZ is the best anime fighter out there, but if you only look at the bigger picture, you’ll get my point. Fighting games are all about bringing people together, and while the community is incredibly fragmented, it is also tight-knit. So, creating a fighter that appeals to a broad spectrum of the fanbase of fighting games, in general, is admirable.


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General Information

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher(s): Bandai Namco
Developer(s): Arc System Works
Genres: 2D Fighter
Themes: Fighter
Release Date: 2018-02

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