GameOn: Dragon Ball FighterZ brings back the fighting spirit

Jason Savio

One of the all-time best fighting animes deserves a strong and worthy game to match it punch for punch, or, in this case, Kamehameha.

Dragon Ball FighterZ continues the Dragon Ball gaming franchise on the heels of a couple of lackluster releases and adds a much-needed power boost that will delight fans of the popular television show, as well as fighting game aficionados.

It’s worth mentioning right up front that Dragon Ball FighterZ is what you make it. It can easily become a typical button-masher if you’re lazy and never get it off the ground. But, if you take your time and go through the training option — however frustrating it can often be (more on this in a minute) — FighterZ becomes more about finesse and timing than straight up brawling. The controls aren’t too difficult to master for a fighting game, and you’ll find yourself enjoying the technique and the rewarding experience of laying the smackdown as a Saiyan badass. In order to do this, however, you’ll need some patience.

The training mode in FighterZ can at times be a laborious experience. Different aspects of the game are divided into separate training sessions, so you’ll have your defense, offense, special moves, etc. But you’ll be forced to go through each individual session from top to bottom, and if you can’t get one particular move down, you can’t progress. This may sound like small potatoes and a common part of many fighting games, but it needs to stop. If you can’t nail down a super dragon kick (that’s not really in the game), then your training session won’t proceed and you can’t learn the rest of what you need to know. To make matters worse, these training exercises will appear in the middle of fights during story mode, causing distractions while you try to put together a solid win and earn experience points. Why bother adding that into the main gameplay when there is already a separate training mode for it? It’s unnecessary and takes away from the story. And that story is something that will have you scratching your head, too.

(Important point: I actually really liked this game, even if right now it doesn’t seem like it. Just bear with me.)

The Old Red Ribbon Army from the early days of Dragon Ball is back, and that means there is also a new android to cause our favorite Z Fighters a major headache: The voluptuous Android 21. What’s really interesting — and weird — about the story mode is how the characters break down the fourth wall and talk directly to you. There is a lot of strange talk about a “soul” (you, the dear gamer) linking up with each fighter in an attempt to explain how you’re controlling them in the game. Goku will look straight at the screen and talk to you. It gets bizarre and awkward.

Despite those stumbles, FighterZ is a great fighting game. It brings back the classic back-and-forth, side-to-side style of the genre and includes an all-star lineup of characters from the series to play as: Super Saiyan Goku, Frieza, Super Saiyan Vegeta and more. Some of the new characters from the current television show and manga, Dragonball Super, are here as well.

You’ll put together a team of three fighters of your choosing and can take part in either the aforementioned story mode or arcade mode. The spirit of Dragon Ball Z runs strong in FighterZ, with a fast-paced and intense fighting experience that will have your blood pumping. You won’t be disappointed as there are plenty of colorful blasts and fits of over-the-top yelling to go around.

Dragon Ball FighterZ has come along at the perfect time. With Injustice 2 having lost steam and no new Mortal Kombats on the horizon, we were in need of something to get excited about. FighterZ delivers for loyal DBZ fans while still being fun and accessible to those who may not know what a Goku is.

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