If you love the old Dragon Ball Z tournament fighters, Dragon Ball FighterZ is the game for you.
To me Dragon Ball FighterZ feels like a throw back to the Dragon Ball Z tournament fighters on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), takes us back to simpler times with fighting games but updated for the modern era. Developed by Arc System Works, this game borrows elements from games like Guilty Gear and BlazBlue and combines them into a high-paced and action packed 2D fighting game.
Arc System Works games are some of the most intuitive fighting games I’ve ever played. If you have any experience in fighting games from the last 25 years, you can pick it up and know how to play in an instant: The basic special move sets are the quarter-circle square or triangle, diagonal-down-forward square or triangle, just mashing the square button for quick combos. This allows for all sorts of gameplay options for players of all levels and learning the system doesn’t take much effort. That’s not to say there isn’t a learning curve, but anyone can learn the basics in a matter of minutes and enjoy the play experience against the computer. And for seasoned players of tournament fighters there is a ton of complexity behind the scenes.
What stands out about the demo is the selection of character, though. While more playable characters will likely be added in the final build of the game, the selection in the demo was limited to the most recognizable characters. These included characters like our hero Son Goku, Vegeta, Krillin, Freeza, Piccolo, Android 18 and a few others. Each of the characters has a unique play style for the simple combo sets, but Goku was by far the easiest to play right off the bat. (It’s no surprise either, considering he’s the hero of the anime and manga series.)
But, picking different characters really didn’t mean having to learn a whole new move set list. This makes characters like Freeza and Android 18 have their own special appeal in so far as having similar attack inputs with vastly different results.
Like the selection of character, the stages featured in the demo are from recognizable locations in the anime series too. We have our Cell Game stage, Planet Namek, the rocky field Goku and Vegeta fought in during the Saiyan arc, one of the sprawling cities, and the World Martial Arts Tournament arena. These are some of the most iconic locations in the series and to be able to play in them adds to the atmosphere of the game. Plus, seeing them in 2D is a real treat because it’s been quite some time since they were last shown this way. It’s a little touch to the aesthetic of the game and it goes a long way in bringing out the spirit of Dragon Ball Z.
The best point about the game for an old school Japanese gamer like me is how it feels like a throwback to the SNES Dragon Ball Z: Super Butōden and other games in this ilk. As in, it’s a 2 dimensional fighter. For fans of the old school gameplay style in the Dragon Ball Z fighting games this makes the game extremely nostalgic to play. It’s also a new experience for younger fans as well since many of the modern Dragon Ball Z games have been in 3D; from the character models to the battle fields. So, Dragon Ball FighterZ has something both old and new fans can look forward to experiencing.
Dragon Ball FighterZ is definitely a fun new addition to the Dragon Ball Z library of games. Be warned, though, it’s also highly addictive.