Review cover Dragon Ball FighterZ (PlayStation 4)
Official GBAtemp Review

Product Information:

  • Release Date (NA): January 26, 2018
  • Release Date (EU): January 26, 2018
  • Publisher: Bandai Namco
  • Developer: Arc System Works
  • Genres: 2D Fighting
  • Also For: Computer

Game Features:

Single player
Local Multiplayer
Online Multiplayer
Co-operative
Arc System Works collaborates with Bandai Namco in order to make what might just be one of the greatest Dragon Ball games of all time.

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The Dragon Ball franchise is hardly a newcomer when it comes to video game adaptations. Various developers have created multitudes of Dragon Ball games ranging from classic RPGs, to action games, and of course, to fighting games. Once again, Arc System Works tries their hand at making a 2D fighter, three years after the release of their last Dragon Ball game--the negatively received Extreme Butoden for Nintendo 3DS. Their latest title, Dragon Ball FighterZ is the culmination of the company's attempt at redeeming themselves and the tired series. There has been a lot of attention on this game, ever since its reveal, and this time, it's not just Dragon Ball fans that are interested. This might be the first time that a Dragon Ball title has garnered mainstream attention, to the point of a demo of it even appearing at the fighting game event, EVO. The question is, though, did it live up to the hype?

To go even further beyond!

Dragon Ball FighterZ kicks things off in style by showcasing a majority of its 24 character roster in a flashy gameplay trailer, giving players a quick look at what awaits them. From there, you'll be directed towards the lobby, which is basically the hub for the different modes you can play. These are all standard inclusions for the genre, such as Story Mode, Local/Online Play, Practice, and Arcade. The story mode has a fair bit of content to it, and it actually tells a new story, instead of re-telling the events of Dragon Ball for the hundredth time. In it, the Z Fighters must take on a new threat, as clones of themselves have appeared across the world, and are wreaking havoc. It's up to you to figure out what's going on, and stop it, while discovering the mystery of a new character; Android 21. 

The full roster includes various characters from both Dragon Ball Z, and Dragon Ball Super. Series mainstays like Goku, Vegeta, Teen and Adult Gohan, Piccolo, Gotenks, Krillin, and Future Trunks are all here, along with villains like Frieza, Cell, Majin and Kid Buu, Androids 16, 17, and 18. There's even unexpected contenders like Tien, Nappa, Yamcha, and Captain Ginyu, and of course, the DBS representatives such as Super Saiyan Blue Goku and Vegeta, Goku Black, Beerus, and Hit. Lastly, we have the "secret" final character of Android 21, who is unlocked upon completing the story mode. There's a solid variety in the cast chosen here, and as a pleasant surprise, each character has specific movesets and all feel unique to play as. 

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Ka-me-ha-me-hamazing

As far as the gameplay goes, if you've ever played an Arc System Works title in the past, such as BlazBlue, Guilty Gear, or Persona 4: Arena, you'll feel right at home with the controls, to an extent. For those that haven't, Dragon Ball FighterZ is fairly easy to learn. Pressing one of each of the four face buttons on the controller would result in either a light, medium, or heavy attack, as well as a ranged or support move. Mashing the medium attack button will lead you into an auto combo, but you'll need more than that to hold your ground in a fight. Quarter-circle motions with a face button pressed after will allow you to use special attacks, which covers the basics of attacking. People that are looking for a more complex fighting system will be delighted to know that FighterZ is no slouch on the hardcore fighting game side of things. There's tons of combos, cancels, chases, and a whole host of difficult-to-pull-off attacks, which can leave your enemies stunned and reeling. 

Every attack, from Kamehamehas, to a regular punch, feels incredibly satisfying to use. There's a great weight to the characters, and it makes the game all the more fun when you're watching opponents get launched across the screen after a powerful attack. Things get all the more ridiculous when you use ultimate attacks and watch the pure destructive force of your moves decimate the battlefield around you. 

Whenever you go into a fight, you have to choose a team of three characters, as FighterZ is a team-fighter. You can swap out to your characters by holding the left bumper or trigger, or, you can simply tap the button in order to have that character quickly jump into the fray next to you, in order to use an assist attack. Knowing when to swap in or use your assists is a huge part of the gameplay, and it lends a lot to battles by giving them an extra layer of strategy. This mechanic really sets FighterZ apart from other fighting games, as you constantly have to not only control your main character, but also make sure to keep on top of your assists as soon as they recharge, while watching out for the enemies' counters. It feels impossible at first, but the more you play, the more natural it becomes, and it becomes much easier to handle. However, mastering this gameplay is something that will take hours upon hours to perfect. The game is easily accessible to newcomers, but also complex enough to please competitive fighting game fanatics. 

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If you've ever seen an episode of Dragon Ball Z, the graphical detail on display here will no doubt be impressive. Not only does the game accurately recreate the look and feel of the series, it also goes the extra mile by lavishing detail upon each attack combo the characters use. A majority of character's moves, even down to basic punches and stances are taken straight from the anime and manga. It's a detail only dedicated Dragon Ball veterans will notice, but it really shows just how much attention Arc System Works put into this, and seeing those familiar attacks will no doubt put a smile on any fan's face. 

Though Dragon Ball FighterZ is a visual spectacle, the audio falls a bit short in some regards. Musical tracks sound generic, and while both sub and dub options are available, the subtitles tend to be wildly different from the spoken dub lines. It can be awkwardly jarring, but its not a huge issue. Select music tracks from the anime are available for purchase as DLC a month after launch, on March 1, 2018.

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Dragon Ball FighterZ proves itself to be one of the best Dragon Ball games yet, with great attention to detail and a fantastic fighting system. Not only will this be a standout title to DBZ fans, but for the first time, a Dragon Ball title might just be great enough to reach wider audiences. From veterans to newcomers to the series, FighterZ offers an experience well worth checking out if you love fighting games. Shenron has truly granted a perfect Dragon Ball game.

Verdict

What We Liked ...
  • Incredible visuals
  • Fighting system is incredibly fun and varied
  • Great amount of unique characters to play as
What We Didn't Like ...
  • Loading screens seem to lag occasionally
  • The subtitles hardly ever match the dub audio
9
Gameplay
Fast-paced, frenetic, fluid, and fun, FighterZ captures exactly what people love about the anime. The amount of action that goes on is almost hard to keep up with, as there's so many layers to the combat system. For the first time in a Dragon Ball game, each character feels distinctly different from each other.
10
Presentation
The visuals are absolutely perfect for this game. Characters look exactly on model, and the art-style captures the look of the anime. You could take a screenshot and easily mistake it from a still from the show.
8
Lasting Appeal
Easy to play, difficult to master, as are most fighting games. The story mode is typical fare for a fighter, and all the other basics from the genre are here as well. The content on display is enough to satisfy most, and if you're left wanting more, fighting online will definitely keep you occupied.
9
out of 10

Overall

Dragon Ball Z is a video game franchise that has many beloved entries, from the Legacy of Goku series, to the Budokai and Tenkaichi games. However, these games have always been targeted to its niche fanbase. Dragon Ball FighterZ is different; it's a fighting game that everyone, including veteran DBZ fans and newcomers alike, can enjoy wholeheartedly.
hope that Bamco won't turn this franchise into one-release per year title like Assassin's creed or COD.

p.s. does it support cross-plat play like SFV?? ps4 vs pc??
 
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Sounds like they got some people in and got them to really think about what they were doing for this one. Wonder if I will look back in 10 years and this will be a turning point.
 
@leon315 DBZ has kind have been a 1 per year series, in general, but with Arc Sys having so much already on their plates, I doubt they'd even do 1 of these per year. I wouldn't know if it supports crossplay, as all review codes were for PS4 only.

@FAST6191 I hope its a turning point. This is the first time one of these licensed title anime titles has had a super well received fighting game release, afaik.
 
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I was thinking more broadly as a systems focused design rather than iterative (see why mario kart is a very flawed game but as everybody takes it as the gold standard and you get copy of of a copy, as opposed to "fun kart game, go").
 
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@Sonic Angel Knight 3v3 with side characters' supports even crapcom copied it from SNK which was originally introduce in Kings of fighters since 99 until 2013.
Well okay, so they did have 3 vs 3 battles in King of fighters, but none of them actually allow you to tag them in at will, it was basically you lose then you get the next character, so is basically a "TEAM BATTLE" not "TAG BATTLE"

Tag allows you to use all of your characters in single match, like Marvel vs capcom. Team battle just picks a team and when you lose, the next one is chosen to fight in place.
 
"steal that 3 vs 3 tag battle format capcom started with marvel."

a) I would generally say steal all the mechanics you like if it gives me a good game in the end.
b) The concept goes back a lot further than that, possibly even to being able to select a new character on continues.
 
Fighterzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

I really love what they did with the aesthetic. Looks like 2D anime even when the characters are 3D.
 
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With this I'll potentially have a whopping total of 4 PS4 games, which is a large library for me. I haven't been following the DLC/Season Pass shit, but I feel like the total cost of those would add at least $30 to an already $60. Ugh, such is the state of video games. But to show how pathetic a DB fan I am, I bought Xenoverse 2 for PC and only played 10 minutes of it, on top of that buying a season pass. So, I may end up doing the same thing but I gravitate more towards pure fighting games as the PS4 game I put the most hours into has been Mortal Kombat X. So this will be the Dragon Ball game for me, I own one GBA title, more like found it on the floor a couple years ago, but never played it, I don't even remember the name, Legacy of Goku I think, it's somewhere around here. Other than that, never owned a Dragon Ball game, so this will be the unofficial first.

Part of me wishes this game fails so it would somehow amount to more episodes of Dragon Ball Super, now knowing it's going on at least a hiatus, I'm just gutted. Then again I'd have this to play and hold me over until the next movie comes out. I don't like reading reviews generally, but I made an exception here and I'm not disappointed.
 
The game is REALLY awesome (judging from the open beta), but I'd really like to have more attack options, as some characters have a limited moveset.

@Sonic Angel Knight 3v3 with side characters' supports even crapcom copied it from SNK which was originally introduce in Kings of fighters since 99 until 2013.

I'm just guessing you don't know that Capcom uses assist attacks since X-Men Vs. Street Fighter, released in '96. Just saying.
 
With this I'll potentially have a whopping total of 4 PS4 games, which is a large library for me. I haven't been following the DLC/Season Pass shit, but I feel like the total cost of those would add at least $30 to an already $60. Ugh, such is the state of video games. But to show how pathetic a DB fan I am, I bought Xenoverse 2 for PC and only played 10 minutes of it, on top of that buying a season pass. So, I may end up doing the same thing but I gravitate more towards pure fighting games as the PS4 game I put the most hours into has been Mortal Kombat X. So this will be the Dragon Ball game for me, I own one GBA title, more like found it on the floor a couple years ago, but never played it, I don't even remember the name, Legacy of Goku I think, it's somewhere around here. Other than that, never owned a Dragon Ball game, so this will be the unofficial first.

Part of me wishes this game fails so it would somehow amount to more episodes of Dragon Ball Super, now knowing it's going on at least a hiatus, I'm just gutted. Then again I'd have this to play and hold me over until the next movie comes out. I don't like reading reviews generally, but I made an exception here and I'm not disappointed.
Don't DBXV2 DLC is a scam
 
I was so hyped for this. It's absolutely beautiful. But after playing it, I don't think it's something I can get into. I wish they would get away from this xenoverse online style gameplay.
 
I was so hyped for this. It's absolutely beautiful. But after playing it, I don't think it's something I can get into. I wish they would get away from this xenoverse online style gameplay.
The lobby? You can play in offline mode, and just use R2 to choose options from the menu. Unless you mean you don't like the online play itself?
 
The lobby? You can play in offline mode, and just use R2 to choose options from the menu. Unless you mean you don't like the online play itself?
I'll have to try it again. I got to play once when the servers were actually up. I did a couple training runs and an online match. If I can play this local multiplayer i might get into it more. But from what I've seen, you have to play online to unlock stuff. Honestly, Im ok with online matches every once in a while, but I would enjoy it more if it were like the budokai games.
 
I'll have to try it again. I got to play once when the servers were actually up. I did a couple training runs and an online match. If I can play this local multiplayer i might get into it more. But from what I've seen, you have to play online to unlock stuff. Honestly, Im ok with online matches every once in a while, but I would enjoy it more if it were like the budokai games.
I played offline and did the arcade mode on hard, which unlocks SSB characters + story mode offline, to unlock Android 21. Local multi is also an option in the offline hub.
 
I played offline and did the arcade mode on hard, which unlocks SSB characters + story mode offline, to unlock Android 21. Local multi is also an option in the offline hub.
I'll give it another chance and explore a bit more. I started this game, got a look at the lobby/match making, and was like "great, another online game", and haven't touched it. Hopefully I'll find some time to try it out before the beta ends.
 
I will give there are online only RPGs, FPS games, racing games, skeleton clickers and the like but have there actually been companies foolish enough to an online only fighting game?
 
I will give there are online only RPGs, FPS games, racing games, skeleton clickers and the like but have there actually been companies foolish enough to an online only fighting game?
If I'm not mistaken, and I've only tried this game once, I'm pretty sure you have to have an online connection to even get the game to start. If there is a local campaign and multiplayer mode, it's not the main focus of this game. Like I said, I didn't even know it existed from what time I spent on it. I think games are gearing towards focusing on online play. I don't like that. I'm still a fan of couch coop/matchmaking.
 
Sorry for the double post, but I wanted to add that a friend of mine will bring her ps4 over so we can set them up side by side to play online games couch style.
 
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If I'm not mistaken, and I've only tried this game once, I'm pretty sure you have to have an online connection to even get the game to start. If there is a local campaign and multiplayer mode, it's not the main focus of this game. Like I said, I didn't even know it existed from what time I spent on it. I think games are gearing towards focusing on online play. I don't like that. I'm still a fan of couch coop/matchmaking.
I don't have PS+, nor did I have my PS4 plugged into Ethernet past the point of downloading the game. It does give a pesky few "hey you're not online go online." "Are you suuuure you don't want to be online" prompts, but everything outside of online play can be done without a connection. You can even do the ingame currency costume "lootboxes" for your online avatars without being connected. They're hard to find on the weird lobby map, but there's an auto teleport menu which takes you right to the single player and offline options. (Local fight/story/arcade)
 
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Never watched dragon ball except for like five episodes. And yet, I desperately need this game.

Well it's about a guy who becomes good from a brain injury as a kid and he fights people, some of them become his allies and friends, and that's it. Such good source material for a video game (I just love how the VAs for Goku and Vegeta simplify the whole story).
 
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I can't wait to pick this bad boy up on Friday and lab so much stuff at Saturday and Sunday. I absolutely love fighting games and Dragon Ball so this is perfect for me.
I also want to compete on local tourneys with DBFZ. Tourneys gonna be hype for this game!
 
Oh, I just replied leon315's post, don't worry. 8D
I know, just was trying to keep the conversation going. :P

To be honest, this isn't the first dragon ball z game with tag battles, supersonic warriors on GBA and NDS has them. Honestly when I heard arc system works was making a DBZ game, the one I heard was that one on the 3DS, Dragonball Z extreme butoden. I really felt bad when i tried it and how it played. But I'm more impressed with this one, though I kinda feel like they focused more on trying to give a easy access fight system for all to play. Is not bad or anything, just felt is a sacrifice compared to Guilty Gear Xrd or Blaz Blue games, doesn't have as many special move commands, no matter what character you play, they all perform the same. Quarter-circle-forward X/R1 and such, and the unique battle system rules like the instakill or the unique character moves like Ragna absorbing health, Rachel controlling weather, Tager using magnets.

Also are there any in game transformations, fireball or combo struggles, like in The PS2 Budokai games? Can they even fly in the air? I just feel like is one of those decision where is all focused on hardcore fans of fighting games and missed some of the flashy stuff that makes Dragonball... Dragoball, most of the dramatic stuff is those story reenactment teams and defeat and specials, meaning the only time you see those dramatic tv show moments is based on what characters you pick.
 
I know, just was trying to keep the conversation going. :P

To be honest, this isn't the first dragon ball z game with tag battles, supersonic warriors on GBA and NDS has them. Honestly when I heard arc system works was making a DBZ game, the one I heard was that one on the 3DS, Dragonball Z extreme butoden. I really felt bad when i tried it and how it played. But I'm more impressed with this one, though I kinda feel like they focused more on trying to give a easy access fight system for all to play. Is not bad or anything, just felt is a sacrifice compared to Guilty Gear Xrd or Blaz Blue games, doesn't have as many special move commands, no matter what character you play, they all perform the same. Quarter-circle-forward X/R1 and such, and the unique battle system rules like the instakill or the unique character moves like Ragna absorbing health, Rachel controlling weather, Tager using magnets.

Also are there any in game transformations, fireball or combo struggles, like in The PS2 Budokai games? Can they even fly in the air? I just feel like is one of those decision where is all focused on hardcore fans of fighting games and missed some of the flashy stuff that makes Dragonball... Dragoball, most of the dramatic stuff is those story reenactment teams and defeat and specials, meaning the only time you see those dramatic tv show moments is based on what characters you pick.

Oh, talking about DB's tag battle games, it brings me back to DBZ Legends on my Saturn. 8D

Back to DB FighterZ, my opinion is exactly the same as yours. While the game is amazing, it's just too simple, it simply lacks all the "deepness" and variety Arc System's games usually have.

Well, besides that, I'm not a really big fan of the Budokai games, so I don't miss their mechanics but I can understand what you mean. I really think it could be more "robust", with more options. Maybe we will have to wait for DB FighterZ Rev.2/Extend (Sparking?). ;D
 
@leon315 DBZ has kind have been a 1 per year series, in general, but with Arc Sys having so much already on their plates, I doubt they'd even do 1 of these per year. I wouldn't know if it supports crossplay, as all review codes were for PS4 only.

@FAST6191 I hope its a turning point. This is the first time one of these licensed title anime titles has had a super well received fighting game release, afaik.

One of the things I am personally hoping for is companies making a deal with arc system to bring back other popular fighting game. Imagine if Capcom contacts them for the next marvel vs Capcom or rival schools reboot. or snk contacting them for the next king of fighters
 
I will give there are online only RPGs, FPS games, racing games, skeleton clickers and the like but have there actually been companies foolish enough to an online only fighting game?

Yes, Street Fighter V's original release was Online-Only - there was a training mode and some basic introductory scenes for each character, but no arcade mode, no scaleable computer AI.

Street Fighter V as a game is extremely fun and well-polished, but imagine dropping $60 on a game, only to find out that you need a $60/y subscription to PS+ just to play it! I don't know what you've heard about why the game bombed financially, but that was it. I know people online like to whine and moan about DLC and game balance, but the reality - the reason it was a commercial failure - was it released as Online-only.
 
Review cover
Product Information:
  • Release Date (NA): January 26, 2018
  • Release Date (EU): January 26, 2018
  • Publisher: Bandai Namco
  • Developer: Arc System Works
  • Genres: 2D Fighting
  • Also For: Computer
Game Features:
Single player
Local Multiplayer
Online Multiplayer
Co-operative

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