Xbox version tested
Something has always appealed to me about Dragonball Z. I quite like the anime art style and watching super beings power up and kick the beans out of each other really seems to tick a number of boxes. I am by no means a Dragonball expert though, I could tell you Goku is the main protagonist, he has a son called Gohan, there’s a green chap called Piccolo (who I think he didn’t see eye to eye with initially?) another Sayian called Vegetta, who seems to hate Goku, yet is in his corner.
From what I have seen of the anime, there seems like a hell of a lot of a build up to any fight action. Whoever is having the showdown, the characters seem to face off for about four episodes, there seems to be a lot of “peacocking”, grunting, powering up and some side character seems to end up being the sacrificial lamb and takes a punch to the stomach and folds like a piece of paper.
Eventually when the action starts up things seem to get interesting. The characters loaded with special moves really go at each other, hitting each other into anything and through anything. Flying about hitting each other at remarkable speeds, then when one looks beaten they charge up and seemingly come back from certain defeat by finding a second wind and another source of power. Such as glowing more, going peroxide blonde and transforming into a super Sayian.
Thankfully the game misses out the build-up and focuses on capturing the fight action, and does it perfectly. The fantastic visuals are all in a beautiful cell-shaded style, which is a great fit for any anime themed game as you feel like you are interacting with the show, and it is only added to by the destructible environments. The character selection is pretty generous 24 characters and the likenesses are spot on. Even for someone like me who is not completely familiar with the show and all the characters
The combat operates on a 2D plain and plays out very similarly to a Capcom fighter, in particular the Marvel vs. Capcom series, also containing a tag element to add a bit more strategy and get you more familiar with the character roster, as you would expect you can tag another member of your team in as you choose, or use them to give you a helping hand from time to time.
The special moves are structured in the same manner or button presses as a Capcom Fighter, with the usual joystick rolls and button combinations. The game features aerial combos, again these could have been lifted straight out of the show and are incredibly satisfying when pulled off, and look cool as you beat the hell out of an opponent in midair.
There is a bit of an argument it can be a little too accessible to pull off combos it the game, but I feel it is a welcome to new players and makes the combat seem a bit more “Dragonball”. There is also something satisfying in charging your character up as they start to glow, I am not sure what, but there was for me anyway. You will be pulling off a kamehameha in no time.
If I had one gripe, and it is a pretty small one, it is the bloody same annoying music before each fight, I don’t know if it is from the show, but it just irks me. But I can look beyond that with the quality that is on offer in this game.
One other aspect I was impressed with was the world hub of the game, where you wander around as what I can only describe as a kind of cutesy Funko version of a Dragonball character. It is quite a small area but quite a pleasant experience as you look for your game mode, bump into other players or spend some of your hard earned credits on some unlockable items.
I thoroughly recommend this game. I had heard nothing but good things before I had picked it up, and it proved to be a wise decision. It is accessible to players new to fighting games and the content is really a good representation of the series for fans. There is enough skill required to keep you coming back to master it too. After playing Fighters such as Mortal Kombat and Marvel vs. Capcom over the past year or so, I reckon Dragonball FighterZ has been my favourite. It really is the muts nuts, or should that be the Dragon’s balls?
Beard Score: 8/10
(or 9/10 if you’re a big anime or Dragonball fan)
Xbox One Essentials:
Platform: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Steam
Release Date: 26/01/2018
No. of Players: 1-8
Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO
Download link: Microsoft Store