Let’s start with, “ I like this game a lot”, let’s also start with, “the story mode is such a damn chore”. What I mean by this is that Dragon Ball FighterZ has a story only so much as to have a reason to add a new character to the Dragon Ball mythos, the first arc of which serves as somewhat of an extended practice mode, because what it involves doesn’t really offer enough of a challenge, or any justifiable reason for it being as long as it is, and that’s just the first story campaign. The game has two others that are alternative takes on the games main plot, and none of them truly gives any sense of fulfillment. Quite frankly this game would have been served better if it had a generic linear campaign that one could find in any other fighting game.
Each chapter in the story mode consists of board game style maps, and a set amount if player turns. The player can move their token across the board using up a turn per move. Should they land on a spot with an enemy then a battle will ensue. Upon defeating these enemies the player gains health, exp, and new items to buff their characters, (which I hate, but I’ll get into that later). It’s also possible to gain new characters to use in the *story mode (Almost characters are unlocked for other modes). This whole process of battle characters on a grid based map seemed unnecessary, and the power-ups just didn’t have much appeal if any. They weren’t necessary for completing any of the three campaigns, and they didn’t serve any real purpose outside of them.
Now it does have some interesting parts to like the cut-scenes is which depend on your team configuration. These are very cool cut-scenes oozing with that fan-service love that fans for the Dragon Ball franchise should appreciate. I won’t spoil any of what’s to be had, but let’s just say that it’s nice to see unlikely matches of characters chatting.
As for the the story premise it involve a plot about a new Android, and a soul being linked to different characters in the series to help them fight. The whole thing was just uninteresting and dare I say boring. I liked the design for the new Android and with a few changes I could see myself enjoying it, but as it is I can’t. As progressed through the three story arcs I found myself feeling like it was all a chore, but I hung in because I felt like the revelation at the end about the soul and this new Android 21 would be worth it. Especially with the way the first arc ends.
My recommendation is to just skip all the story cut-scenes, and don’t do any of the optional battles, just do the ones you need to get to the boss. It should be easy to beat them no matter their level. When you complete all campaigns you’ll have access to Android 21 and that’s it. There’s nothing more to the game other than the multiplayer, which I didn’t get to play because it took too damn long to find an opponent.
Also speaking of unnecessary things. Why does this game have a hub map… it’s unnecessary. I always used the shortcut menus, and couldn’t find any value in it. It just seems like a waste of resources.
Note to the devs: Next time just use the time to make that trash to make a better story or put more characters in the game.
My grievances aside, I did enjoy the game. When you’re in a match the game is exceptional, because Arc System Works has got us covered, and I wouldn’t expect any less from the famed fighting game developer. Controls are slick and easy to learn. It’s actually the easiest fighting game I’ve played in years, although it can be quite technical depending on the skill of the players playing. Players who understand the intricacies of juggling, counting frames and all that other stuff will find that it is able to be a deep fighter, while the rest of us can just have fun feeling like we’re total bad arses with our one button half circle super moves, and basic easy combos that are easy to chain.
For this review I played the PC version of the game. Playing on the PC was as easy as plugging in a controller and pressing buttons. I used both my PS4 and Xbox One controllers with the game and both worked perfectly fine BY THEMSELVES. If you attempt to play with an Xbox and PS4 controller at the same time for local multiplayer the game assumes they’re both the same controller. I haven’t checked for a fix for this, but I’m hoping there is because this is a huge selling point for playing games like these on the PC. That being said, the on screen button layout are Xbox styled, but any gamer worth their achievement/trophy score should see no problem with this.
Other than that the game has quite a couple modes including the aforementioned story mode, arcade, practice, local battle, party match, and arena match. As mentioned before I couldn’t get into any of the online modes, because the waiting queues were too long for my liking so my experience is solely based on the offline modes, which all ran perfectly well for me. My personal favorites being the local battle and Arcade mode.
Visually this game is stunning. Colours are bright and almost indistinguishable from the anime it’s based on, especially in motion. The whole thing looks and sounds exactly like you’d expect a Dragon Ball episode to look and sound. Personally I chose the Japanese dub even though English is the default, because, well I don’t like Dragon Balls English dub, but the option is there if you somehow like that.
Dragon Ball FighterZ is a great game to have for when the mates come over. It’s an easy to pick up and play fighter filled with gorgeous visuals and a reasonably sized cast of great characters from different eras in the vastly popular Dragon Ball franchise. It’s only flaws being the lackluster plot and the unnecessary lobby system. Other than that it’s a great game that I think would fit nicely in almost any gamers collection.
The copy of Dragon Ball FighterZ used for this review was provided to us by it’s Publisher, Bandai Namco Entertainment.
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