Developed by Arc System Works and published by Bandai Namco, the latest video game set in the Dragon Ball universe is one of the most incredible looking Dragon Ball games I have ever played. Utilizing all their knowledge from previous franchises, the team have also built an insanely deep combat system which is great for newcomers – with basic auto attack combos – and also for veterans, who are able to launch combo assists with super attacks.
The story of Dragon Ball Fighterz is set during the super series of the show, with certain aspects that callback to Z. The game is completely non-canon and doesn’t fit into the main shows arcs, but one of the new characters introduced, android 21, is designed by Toriyama himself and fits in well with the rest of the cast.
Dragon Ball Fighterz has three different arcs, and the story takes several hours depending on your play-style, while the main story mode could possibly take up to 15-20 hours. If you rush and skip optional fights then the story would be incredible short, but I would recommend completing everything as your characters level up, with fights awarding capsules which can be used to increase your team’s stats.
You can equip up to three capsules at a time so can mix and match based on what you prefer, either multiple attack capsules or maybe some defence capsules. You can also gain access to ones that increase the battle timer and give more Zeni at the end of the match. However, from my playthroughs you don't really need the extra timer as matches are completed fast enough.
The main story starts off with you playing as Goku; you have taken over his body, then you find out that some science waves have suppressed the power of every strong person on the planet. You must seek them out and rescue them before the clones that have mysteriously appeared kill them, and as you save them they join your team.
As long as you have some minor knowledge of the Dragon Ball universe, the story will keep you gripped, but you don't need to be a hardcore fan to understand it as the narrative is completely unique. Dragon Ball Fighterz has fully voiced cut-scenes with impressive animation that sometimes rivals the TV show, but it would be nice for an option to skip through a bulk of dialog automatically as you have to press a button each time someone finishes a sentence.
You can also view a conversation log to view everything that was said so far. Once you have completed the main story line, you can restart the missions on hard mode which bumps up the challenge, and the game has a really fun story that has enough side missions to make replaying them feel worthwhile.
Dragon Ball Fighterz also has an arcade mode, which allows you to progress through fights in a semi-linear fashion based on how well you did in the previous fight; the higher the rank you achieved the harder the fights get. This gets incredibly tough, especially when you unlock the hard version of the arcade modes.
I have had a lot of trouble getting a good rank in these matches with the AI being smart enough to combo in super attacks and tagging in to keep your character pinned until your dead.
They also seem to have increased health, damage and defense as you continue up the ladder. If you get a good score, you go up the ladder but if you do badly, you go down which makes that fight easier. If you do average, it just stays around the same level. Some teams seem a lot tougher than others mainly because they work together with tags and supers a little better.
Dragon Ball Fighterz also has a local battle mode which can be 1v1 or played with up to 16 players in a tournament, or against 15 AI fighters. One feature I feel is missing is the function to spectate the AI fighters when they partake in matches.
The online features of Dragon Ball Fighterz include an arena battle, in which you can invite your friends for 3v3 matches – you can also have six player matches with certain modes with three characters on a team being controlled by a different person. World tournament is the ranked PVP mode with titles unlocked as you get Battle Points (bp), and winning streaks seem to help your chances of getting more bp.
The game has a frame rate counter allowing you to see how bad your latency is, and you can also set what type of connection you want so that only full bar matches will be found, though this can increase how long matches take to be found.
Overall, Dragon Ball Fighterz has amazing graphics and music, but lacks stages and it would of been nice to include an endless survival mode. If you are playing offline – unless you have friends who want to play – I would recommend waiting because even with the incredible story mode, the lack of options for offline play does hurt it a bit.
With the season pass including more characters I would love to see new stages based on iconic scenes such as the Kami lookout and Hyperbolic Time chamber. I also never found out what the Kame house or the city do in the lobby, even after the servers went live they seemed to have no real purpose? I am really confused at why they are even here.
Overall, Dragon Ball Fighterz is a blast and a solid entry in the series that fans are going love. It balances accessibility for newcomers with challenge for veteran players. Super cool graphics and an exhilarating soundtrack fit perfectly with some explosives moves to ensure that any fan of fighting games will have a lot of fun.