Dragonball Fighterz takes a different approach from its previous Xenoverse titles by bringing all the heroes and villains of the Dragon ball universe into a an outright fighter genre based game.
You can choose from 21 well known characters from the Dragonball universe to fight with a selection of 13 arena stages to fight within.
Graphically it is hard to distinguish between an anime episode and the game as all characters are detailed with such accuracy, on top of this the visual effects of your super moves is blinding as your screen lights up with huge energy attacks which can obliterate you opponent in seconds.
The game visuals do switch from the lovely drawn characters within game fights to when you are in the gateway lobby which are replaced with your avatars which have a small body with disproportionate heads which can be customised as your game progresses by unlocking more variations of characters.
This is combined with accurate sounds not just with connecting hits with your fighter and each character’s unique super move but its the voice overs of the characters used during the cutscenes and throughout the game are spot on.
As you get into the game you join a lobby with your chosen avatar, this lobby is like a mini world where the game is broken down into areas that you can walk around and explore this consists of areas for practice, local play, story, arcade and world stage which is basically multiplayer. On top of that you have an arena smack bang in the middle of the lobby area where you can join to play or be a spectator, this is ideal for sharpening your skills or see how other players play before taking your fighter to the world stage.
Whatever mode you select, how does it match up to other, more established games, well unlike the Xenoverse games you are restricted to a 2D plain of gameplay which is expected, as it puts you into a similar realm of games like street fighter and fatal fury. Most noticeably is the customisation aspect of the game as you can create a team of up to 3 fighters which can be customised with features like costume colour and even player skills to improve your defence, attack or health regeneration. These player skills can aslo reward you with extra credits called Zeni on completion of a battle.
With 3 fighters on your team this allows for link play where you can tag in a team mate to help you damage an opponent, for me i mainly went with Goku(Super Saiyan), Piccolo and Krillin as my main characters, but you can create up to 10 different team variations which allow you to learn how each fighter is matches up and how they work with other characters.
Player control of your fighter is streamlined with simplified moves that can be pulled of with very little effort and at times can be achieved by extensive button bashing, even some of your super power moves and combos are quite easy to pull of for most of your characters, the key is all about linking one combo into another to maximise the damage on your opponents.
If timed correctly a fighters move can create a destructive finish this can be achieved with a strong attack which when connects with an enemy on low health sees him flying through the air at high speed into a volcano, mountain or building causing massive destruction.
The Story mode provides a never seen before scenario featuring Android 21, a brand new character whose creation was supervised by Akira Toriyama himself(the artist behind the anime series of Dragonball Z), the story feels like an anime series with an extensive campaign as each chapter is played out in a grid format which has various locations, these locations have tutorial battles where you have to complete certain moves before completing the battle. You do get out right battles where you can get stuck in and button bash like crazy if you want, but there is still more variation in these fights with rescue battles where you have to fight to rescue one of your allies while you can get random battles that will appear with stronger opponent’s before you head onto the final boss fight for that chapter, the only downside is that the more you play the odd battle does become a bit repetitive.
It’s not as easy as it sounds as you have a limited amount of moves to complete all fights before the final boss fight, but the grid changes with the more moves you make by increasing your opponents difficulty level or adding more fights to the chapter.
Arcade mode has 3 tiers of progression with a 3, 5 or a 7 stage event but there are more difficult tiers that are unlocked as you progress. The fights are a bit tougher than in story mode as the AI seem more aggressive and pull of more varied moves to outsmart you.
Local play can be a single battle against one opponent or be played with up to 16 players which can be done solo against the AI or other players if you want to start up a tournament.
Practice Mode as with any fighting game allows you to perfect your moves, combos etc, but there is a tutorial and a combo challenge for each character within this mode which gives it a bit more depth than what i have seen in previous fighting games.
The shop allows you to buy Z-capsules, these provide you with items for the customization of your avatar or your lobby profile, but these items are completely random and you can’t really pick and choose what you get.
As with any game how does the Multiplayer shape up as you can compete in Ranked or casual matches against other players throughout the world. One good aspect of this is it is region specific where most matches will be on european servers. Even though casual matches are a bit easier than ranked matches you can only earn battle points (BP) in the ranked games, the more BP you earn the quicker you move up the rankings, but be warned this is very competitive and has highly skilled fighters that will obliterate any novice player matched against them.
There is so much more in the game with online rankings to see how you match up to your friend and other players throughout the world, you can chat and send stamps to other players in the lobby. Stamps are basically emojis where you can customise them for certain action like a greeting and so on.
For me Dragonball Fighterz is a great game, i am a fan of anime and even though i don’t really follow the Dragonball anime series i have been a fan of the games and i am more used to fighting games like Dead or Alive, the transition was easy to really get into this game.
There is plenty of depth and a lot to offer in the game for the novice fighter right up to the die hard competitive fighter.