Dragon Ball FighterZ Xbox One X Review

Dragon Ball FighterZ isn't only one of the best Dragon Ball games ever made but a competitive fighter that can rival the best in the genre

By Grayshadow, Posted 29 Jan 2018

The Dragon Ball series has had many video game adaptations but capturing the fast thrilling pace of the anime and manga isn't easy. Fortunately, Arc System Works has successfully captured the quick destructive flare of Dragon Ball into 3-on-3 2D battles that feature beginner-friendy combat mechanics and with a rich competitive fighting system. Dragon Ball FighterZ explosive action and a rich combat system provide a faithful adaption of the franchise it's based on.

Dragon Ball FighterZ,Arc System Works,NoobFeed,Bandai Namco,

At first glance, Dragon Ball FighterZ looks intimidating. The use of nuclear size explosions and teleporting-style fighting creates a deceptive sense of complicity, instead, the game features a simple and easy to learn move list. There are light, medium, heavy, and special attack prompt along with an assist trigger and easy movement controls. Those in need of help, the tutorial is packed with basic lessons on basic controls to move complicated attacks. 

The 3v3 tag-team fighting feels familiar to Marvel vs. Capcom 3 but FighterZ is distinctly Dragon Ball. Characters can vanish in a second before appearing behind their opponent and attack, toss balls of energy, and unleash punches and kicks so fast all you see is a set of color. You feel incredibly powerful and the ease to unleash that fury only takes a couple of button inputs. It may be simple to pull off the moves but properly executing them within an intense battle quickly becomes a battle of wits as you try to anticipate your opponent's movements.

The roster of 24 characters stretches from all corners of the Dragon Ball universe including iconic warriors such as Goku and Vegeta to new arrives such as Hit. Arc System Work has ensured that each character is balanced to ensure easy to learn moves but enough depth that each one has their own distinct fighting style. For example, Lord Beerus can summon Orbs of Destruction that can be used as a barrier or fired towards the opponent and Captain Ginyu can call on the Ginyu Force to perform unique attacks for each member. Each character has been diligently crafted to ensure their moves resemble the source material.

Dragon Ball FighterZ,Arc System Works,NoobFeed,Bandai Namco,

The 3D look is complemented with the 2D cel animation to create characteristic details. The screen is constantly filled with vibrant colors and special effects, especially when using a super attack. If done properly you can unleash a torrent of energy that destroys the entire landscape in a beautiful hue of color and debris. 

The 12-hour single-player campaign involves 3 separate character arcs. It focuses on an invasion of mysterious clones and the introduction of a brand new, and canon, character named Android 21. She starts off as a level-headed scientist but falls victim to sinister behavior. Each character features voice actors from both the English Funimation Dub and the original Japanese voice work. Regardless of which you choose each scene is wonderfully choreographed and feels like watching an episode of Dragon Ball Super. Similar to Injustice 2 if the cutscenes were put together they would make a great saga within Dragon Ball Super.

The campaign progression operates differently from the rest of the game. Fighters gain levels as they are used, granting more health but this leads to an issue. Since only active fighters earn experience the other benched fighters won't earn any levels. This encourages you to constantly use the same team or be at a disadvantage. You can supplement your fighters with special skills that increase attack, defense, handicap enemies and boost experience and Zenny earned. However, providing an experience sharing system would've allowed for more experimentation. 

Dragon Ball FighterZ,Arc System Works,NoobFeed,Bandai Namco,

The campaign has an RTS element to the action. Clones will actively attack places of interest and it's up to you to fight them. This can become repetitive as you'll fight the same clones over and over again. However, seeing the pre-battle cutscenes was well worth the repeated battles since you'll see characters that would never normally ever interact with one another do so. Seeing Cell speak down to Nappa or Goku flirt was some of the best highlights in the entire game. Optional dialogue is available since you can build your own team during much of the campaign.

If you really want to test yourself against the AI Arc System Works has included a densely packed Arcade mode. You are charged with defeating themed fighters and graded base on your performance. Base on that grade you're placed on a specific path that goes either high, middle, or low. The difference in the paths determines the difficulty of your opponent, giving players a constant stream of similar skilled AI opponents to improve with.

The lobby is perhaps the most interesting part of Dragon Ball FighterZ, allowing you to walk around as a chibi avatar of a Dragon Ball character in different colors. You can communicate with other players through emotes and stickers that feature screen grabs form the anime. If you want to spectate a match, players can easily view upcoming matches from the arena. If cannot find a specific point in the lobby Arc System Works has included a helpful menu to teleport instantly to your desired location.

Dragon Ball FighterZ,Arc System Works,NoobFeed,Bandai Namco,

Unlike other games which lock performance enhancing content in loot boxes, forcing players to pay in order to gain a fighting chance, Dragon Ball FighterZ loot boxes are all cosmetics. In-game currency is given at a generous rate and if you earn enough duplicates you're given access to an item you don't own but you can't decide which. By the end of the campaign and 1 hour into Arcade mode, I already earned a significant amount of items but I would've liked exclusive cosmetic items for playing my favorite characters.

If you want to test yourself on the online battlefield Dragon Ball FighterZ features a fully realized online competitive arena. Players can choose to fight either in ranked or unranked matches and rarely did I get matched up with a player above my skill. Thankfully, most likely due to the extensive betas, in the 100 matches, I played I rarely encountered an online connectivity issue.

Dragon Ball FighterZ is a distinct and complex fighter that not only adheres to Dragon Ball and fighting game competitors but those seeking an intense action-filled adventure. It captures the essence of what makes this series great with a booming roster of characters, beautiful animation, and a simple to grasp yet complicated fighting system. Dragon Ball FighterZ isn't only one of the best Dragon Ball games ever made but a competitive fighter that can rival the best in the genre.

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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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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