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Hands-on review: Dragon Ball FighterZ is awesome like a Super Saiyan God
Fri, 26th Jan 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Dragon Ball video games have been released almost annually now for the last decade or so, although they've mostly been 3D fighters. Dragon Ball FighterZ is different because it's a 2D fighter in the same vein as Capcom's Street Fighter and Marvel vs Capcom series.

The Marvel vs Capcom series is the closest cousin of Dragon Ball FighterZ mainly because both of them offer intense and fast paced tag team style battles. Don't worry DBZ fans though because the controls in FighterZ have been simplified so even non fighting game fans can still have a chance to win.

Originally, 2D fighting games were hard for casual gamers because it was hard to execute combos and special moves. You had to do ridiculous things like rotate the analogue sticks in awkward directions and press more than one button to do cool stuff.

Recently though, game developers have made things easier for noobs and it's safe for me to say that Dragon Ball FighterZ is the most accessible fighting game I have ever played in recent memory. It's much easier to play than Street Fighter V and even Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite.

This is because every character in the game basically has the same control scheme making it easy to remember all of their moves. For example, a Kamehameha is only done by rotating the left stick forward and pressing one other button. This control method is also used for other characters such as Vegeta's Final Flash and more.  The actual combos and strikes are also very casual friendly because mashing the Square (X), Triangle (Y) and X (A) buttons can make you execute multi-hit combos that can go up to 30 or 50 strikes easily! The only fighting game franchise I was previously able to do cool combos was the Dead or Alive series. Now Dragon Ball FighterZ joins that list because I can juggle opponents for a very long time in this game.  That said, the simplified controls are not going to please some hardcore fighting game fans. My brother is an expert in Tekken, but he finds the controls in Dragon Ball FighterZ to be too easy and not engaging enough for him. I don't mind the control scheme myself, although I understand why some gamers will be disappointed by its button mashing friendly approach.

One small problem that this game currently suffers is that the fighters aren't all balanced. Goku in my opinion is overpowered because he can teleport, shoot Kamehameha waves in the air and has several super moves.

On the flip side of that, you have a character like Captain Ginyu who only has a small number of moves and is pretty much the most useless fighter on the roster so far. The rest of the fighters are in the middle of the spectrum, although more fighters are useful than others.

It's only a small gripe, but I hope future patches are able to balance out the roster to make fighting matches feel fairer. The thing I love most about Tekken 7 is its balanced roster as every fighter feels important. Dragon Ball FighterZ sadly shows favouritism to the major characters only.  Speaking of characters, there is a cool roster that includes good guys and bad guys from Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super. There's your usual Saiyans like Goku, Gohan and Vegeta plus newer names like Beerus, Goku Black and Hit added here too.  That said, some people might be disappointed that the roster is small compared to the Xenoverse series. Some characters only make cameo appearances and aren't actually playable like Android 17, Zamasu and most of the Ginyu Force.

The gameplay is still fun despite its friendly approach, but the game truly shines thanks to its excellent graphics. I think I said this before during my hands-on beta article as I feel this game has the best looking 2D anime graphics of all time. The animation style is bright and colourful and it even has better special effects that the recent Dragon Ball Super anime itself.

All of the special moves are recreated perfectly using the same camera angles and animations from the TV shows. The moves I love the most are Teen Gohan's Kamehameha, Cell's Kamehameha and Trunks' sword attacks. Special attacks are also doable mainly because you can replenish your super meters quite quickly in this game.

The game modes in Dragon Ball FighterZ is quite generous as you can do a lot of things in this game that will keep you occupied for hours. There's an arcade mode, offline battles, online battles and a lengthy story mode separated in three arcs. 

My time online was limited, but what I have played so far it was very enjoyable. The fact that the controls are easy means even casual players will have a chance against other players around the world.  However, my favourite feature of the entire game is the Story Mode. The story is taken from three different perspectives and features an original plot that takes place sometime after the Resurrection F saga from Dragon Ball Super.

Unlike Tekken 7, the Story mode in this game is quite long but in a good way. There's lots of characters for you to choose from and awesome looking cutscenes for you to watch as well. Each arc will take several hours to complete so it's longer than most other fighting games.

The only flaw in the Story Mode is that it sometimes can get repetitive. This is because you have to usually face the same combination of clone bad guys. Despite this flaw, Dragon Ball FighterZ's Story Mode is great to play from beginning to end.

Overall, Dragon Ball FighterZ is an excellent fighting game that is accessible and very fun to play. The Story mode is excellent and it features one of the best 2D graphics I have ever seen. If you love Dragon Ball Z and video games, this is one title that you must play ASAP.

Verdict: 8.5/10