For me, being an average fighter player, a game with an accessible combat scheme is paramount. On paper, Dragon Ball FighterZ is very simple, with commands requiring simple actions rather than acrobatic and complicated strings of button presses. Most actions require only a few buttons, including Supers, but button mashing isn’t an instant win in this. My first game saw me doing fairly well, as I stumbled over my fingers to determine what moves were, but this strategy soon hit a brick wall as my opponents learned (faster than I could) what specific combos were, how to execute Supers, and when best to tag in allies.
What I did learn with my subpar technique is that there are a ton of abilities and maneuvers that I had no idea would exist in a fighter. In one of my later fights, I pulled off a special attack while still on the ground after an onslaught, and my opponent, PSU’s Garri Bagdasarov, had a bit of a surprise and elated reaction to it (my swift and humbling defeat soon to follow). It wasn’t just here either, as we learned that double and triple Supers could be pulled by utilizing your team at just the right time.
Dragon Ball FighterZ itself is gorgeous, detail and animation mimicking the anime like no other DBZ game before it. What Aksys has done with its 2D delivery is bring the gaming side of this franchise back to its more formidable roots while still keeping it fresh and modern. Images and stills are great, but seeing everything take place in motion is stellar.
I was honestly expecting a simple menu screen between matches, but what FighterZ has in place is a series of lobbies that act as open waiting rooms where you can run around as a chibi version of your favorite in-game character to adjust your team make and interact with other lobby members. Surrounding the centric tournament grounds were a bunch of iconic locales from the Dragon Ball franchise, but during the beta they were all closed off. Assumably, these will be for either extra game modes or fighting venues, but for now they’re just bundles of anticipation.
Not everything was perfect, however. While the game itself looked pristine at all times, online play proved to be a bit of a mixed bag. At all times, there is a mentioned at the top of the screen what the delay is in input response, and this proved evident as I tried to stumble my way around learning my specials abilities and iron out my timing. There seemed to be a steady three-frame delay in every match, but I had some trouble in my limited time trying to acclimate to it. My fellow players seemed to have better luck with it, but the need to compensate for the server is there. Granted, it’s not a terrible delay, and it’ll almost certainly be assessed come next February when the game releases. If I had had more time, my learning style would have found its way past this slight hump.
I’m very guilty of not sticking with fighting games for very long, as the work put into mastering their mechanics neither pays off nor feels enjoyable. However, while I don’t know much of anything regarding what this game will provide for extra content, FighterZ has proven to me that the effort in tweaking moves and ironing out mistakes is as enjoyable as finally being able to pull all of these badass abilities off. The long and short of it is: I cannot wait for Dragon Ball FighterZ to hit shelves.