A return to form? DragonBall FighterZ är ett fighterspel i klassiskt 2,5D-format. Ett lyckat sådant.
Developed by Arc System Works and published by Bandai Namco DragonBall FighterZ is a return to the classical age of 2.5D fighters with over the top stylised graphics and excellent gameplay to boot. DragonBall FighterZ is perhaps one of the best games released throughout the entire series. Players step into the classic DragonBall characters as well as some newer ones in a beautifully crafted three vs. three arena style combat that invokes pure nostalgia from the anime series.
DragonBall FighterZ makes use of an inbuilt lobby system that is used for offline and online play; players are given a Chibi-styled avatar to navigate this lobby which includes several modes for the aspiring player. DragonBall FighterZ comes with a very well designed practice mode that teaches players how to play each character, teaching them how there unique abilities work and even teaching them how to combo abilities and skills together for a flashy result.
Now I’ll talk briefly about something that has recently been a trend in current fighting games which is the auto combo system, this is a system that allows players newer to this style of game to play on a somewhat even level to more veteran players. This not only makes the game much easier to learn and play as a whole but also gently eases players into how the overall game plays. Some may argue that auto combos dumb down the game to much, discouraging players from actually learning how to chain complex timed button presses to maximize overall combo damage, however I truly believe that DragonBall FighterZ uses this system perfectly and would argue that of all recent fighting games released DragonBall benefits the most from this change. The over abundance of lighting effects from special moves and supers coupled with the fast pace nature of this game make it very hard to keep up with what’s going on the screen, in a multiplayer focused game auto combos promote a degree of fairness between newer and veteran players that I find most suitable to a series that has an ever growing fan base.
Now onto the story mode, DragonBall FighterZ takes a new approach when it comes to telling a story. Rather than leaning back and repeating events from the anime itself DragonBall FighterZ creates its own story featuring you, yes you the player as a disembodied soul inhabiting the body of our heroes, this is an interesting twist that features several fourth wall breaks making it seem like the characters are actually interacting with the player themselves.
Story mode is broken up into three arcs that each has a varying degree of difficulty, each with interesting differences between each other. Personally I find the story mode to be the weakest inclusion to this game when compared to the arcade and multiplayer mode; while I’m a fan of the anime series I can’t help but feel that this story was a little rushed from the poor animation work in cut scenes. To the bland node to node style of mapping with a turn limit that will never run out even if you hit every node twice. The entire first arc of the game was genuinely boring, consisting of characters “rescuing” each other and simply repeating back to them exactly the same context the player has heard several times beforehand. It became incredibly tedious during the first couple of hours as the AI presented no challenge at all, frequently darting around the screen not even attempting to land a blow, this thoroughly disappointed me and I quite honestly came close to quitting a few times. However once the AI ranked up to a more challenging degree (around the level 20 mark) the story mode became a lot more enjoyable with the final arc being a true test of endurance. Overall as stated while I think the story mode is the weak link in this game it doesn’t take away from the amazing combat and beautiful graphics that put this game ahead of the completion.
Along with this the lobby includes an Arcade mode that has an interesting progression system, players are able to choose from varying degrees of difficulty be it the shorter three match choice or the several matches in a row style of gameplay. DragonBall uses a unique arcade progression system rewarding players for obtaining high performance rankings during their matches, this system determines the route as well as the difficulty the player faces as they progress through the arcade rewarding players with Zeni which can be used to purchase new titles/avatars for use or even new characters should they be able to reach the top most route. This is a mode that has a ton of replay ability attempting to get that perfect run in order to unlock a character or just maximize the amount of Zeni per match is a very welcome feature to this style of game.
Arc System Works certainly has an impressive resume when it comes to 2.5D fighters both responsible for the Guilty Gear and Blazblue series of games. DragonBall FighterZ’s multiplayer really shows the improvements they’ve made along their journey. While I’m not a fan of the lobby system as mentioned above it does make for a more confined playing area, along with a greater player interaction between players.
Along with the story and arcade mode Multiplayer adds in the World tournament stage which is effectively ranked and casual mode play, the parameters for finding another player are very well devised allowing you to play against someone of a similar, lower or even higher rank than yourself with the addition of an online leader board players can truly see how well they stack up against the rest of the world. Along with this the addition of an Arena mode where you can actively spectate matches between players in the same lobby is a very nice touch that few fighting games make use of correctly now. Overall the multiplayer aspect of this title is amazing and boasts one of the best network systems for one of the most smooth online experiences of recent memory
In conclusion DragonBall FighterZ is one of the most polished DragonBall games to come out in recent months. The story mode while somewhat tedious at points and not as well presented as it could have been brings something new to the series that is a welcome change from the classic Budokai games of which this game reflects very well. The over the top combos and expertly crafted graphics really pushes the boundaries of what 2.5D can do one more powerful game platforms. The roster is somewhat limited compared to other games in the series which is a disappointment but the characters included have all been lovely designed and perfectly express their anime counterparts. Overall this game is a must have for fans who will be amazed by the new style that Arc System Works has progressed in.
- Beautiful anime inspired graphics
- Very fluid combo system
- Interesting change of style
- Rather fragmented and poor story
- Choppy frame rate during cut scenes
- Limited roster when compared to previous games