One of the more surprising announcements of last year’s E3 was a small fighting game called Dragon Ball FighterZ.
Its gorgeous anime graphics, and its fast and interesting looking action had it immediately jump to the front of many most anticipated lists including my own. Now having spent a couple of days with the Beta, the question is, is it worth the hype?
The Beta gave me access to the tutorial and online fights. Tutorials can hit a big sore spot for me if they aren’t built well for beginners, and Dragon Ball FighterZ absolutely does, at first. One weird design choice is, if you defeat your opponent before completing the list of tasks, for example if you keep missing the end of a combo, and do so until you opponent is defeated, the tutorial ends showing partial completion. Trying again puts you in the start of that tutorial.
Overall the tutorial was great, which is important as you have some serious moves to master to get the hang of Dragon Ball FighterZ. The controls have the usual use of D pad for movement, and the other face buttons for light attack, and strong attack. This is stock standard and it allows the use of simple combos, through to some truly complex stuff.
The thing you need to master is the shoulder buttons which will make a huge difference, as you use these to toggle between characters and to use super attacks. You can take three fighters into a match, meaning you need to get the hang of transitioning between them. When you have a damaged character, who has moved out of combat, they can regain some health which is crucial, as well as mix up your attacks.
Transitions can either be simple, through to ones during attacks, or your allies popping in to help with an attack. If you are getting pummelled, then these moves can make a world of difference. Aside from that my other favourite element of the fights are super attacks. Powering up power bars will give you the ability to land super attacks such as Krillin’s destructo disc or Gohan doing Kamehaha with Goku’s spirit helping. These attacks can be devastating and include something else that makes Dragon Ball FighterZ interesting, the animation.
Super attacks and transitions can trigger animation where the fight moves from the side on view of the fight, to show characters from different angles. These happen somewhat regularly and allows the fights to be reminiscent of the TV show. This is what elevates the game from another great side on fighter, to something special for 2018.
There were snags, especially in the opening hours of the early access Beta where there were network issues. This had me a little apprehensive but once the servers weren’t under maintenance I found the game worked a dream. Matchmaking was fast once I realised you needed to watch the screen and accept a match when it pops up, which makes a whole lot of sense to rule out idle players.
The Beta didn’t give access to offline modes such as the story, which I am intrigued to see. With access to online, where I had my rear end promptly handed to me regularly, I got a feel for the gameplay, and I am impressed thus far.