Head Shots

Why Dragon Ball FighterZ may not be your cup of tea

Arc System Works
Dragon Ball FighterZ logo
Dragon Ball FighterZ logo

Dragon Ball FighterZ is the newest addition to the Dragon Ball family of games. After the massive success of Dragon Ball Xenoverse, Bandai Namco have partnered up with Arc System Works to bring us a new 2.5D classic Dragon Ball fighting game.

Dragon Ball FighterZ is a game that won over 20 awards at the last year's E3. In fact, people loved it so much that they even pronounced it the "best anime game ever made". And, to be honest, we can definitely see why - the game looks jawdroppingly gorgeous with its genuine DBZ art style.

If somebody were to walk into your room while you were playing the game, they would genuinely think that you're watching an actual episode of the anime. That's how good the visuals are. And it's not just the art style that's captivating - Dragon Ball FighterZ manages to convey the overall atmosphere of a Dragon Ball fight almost flawlessly. Arc System Works and Bandai Namco have really gone out of their way to create a visually perfect Dragon Ball game.

Bandai Namco EntertainmentCell firing a Kamehameha wave.Dragon Ball FighterZ looks absolutely stunning.

However, it is a well known fact that fancy visuals are not the key factors of what makes a game good, let alone great. That being said, the one thing that we do not like in Dragon Ball FighterZ is the gameplay itself. Don't get us wrong, when we said that this game conveys the true feel of a Dragon Ball fight - we meant it, but something just feels... off. Its gameplay style is very similar to that of Street Fighter and Guilty Gear, which is in no way a bad thing for said games, but this gameplay style with Dragon Ball? We don't think so.

If we go back in time and look at Dragon Ball Z Budokai 3 - the game that every Dragon Ball fan knows and adores, we'll find that it looks strikingly similar to Dragon Ball FighterZ at the first glance, but this game felt much different. It played like a "proper" Dragon Ball game. To be fair, we're being very subjective with this, but we just cannot escape the feeling that the ever-dynamic tempo of Dragon Ball fights is being somewhat held back by the new game's style.

Bandai Namco EntertainmentVegeta deflecting Goku's ki blasts.Dragon Ball Z Budokai 3

An array of punches and kicks being thrown, auras shining and ki blasts bringing your screen to life really have to be seen to be believed how good they look. However, therein lies another problem that we have with the game: it is far too easy to spam ki blasts. Your ki energy refills automatically as you land or take blows from your opponent, and super ki blasts - such as the Kamehameha wave - are very easy to execute. This might sound great in theory, but in practice, things are much different.

Firing ki blasts and performing special moves without breaking a sweat sounds like a fun time, until you realise that there's a good number of gamers out there who are just waiting to abuse this feature like there's no freaking tomorrow. We fell victim to a bunch of different players who simply pressed the X button fifty times in one match in order to win, which leads us to believe that this will be the biggest flaw of this game.

It is acceptable to make ki blasts be performed easily for the sake of staying true to the anime, but it's a completely different thing not to introduce any type of ki blasting limit and thus open the doors wide open to the world of spamming.

Bandai Namco EntertainmentIn-game screenshot showing ki blasts being fired by Goku.Although ki blasts can be deflected relatively easily, they're still too easy to spam.

Even though we know that the game is currently in its beta state, and we like the way Bandai Namco have been announcing new fighters joining the game, we really don't feel like it's a big deal that Gohan, for example, has joined the roster. Every DBZ fan knows who Gohan is and just how important he is for every Dragon Ball game, so we really don't think that his joining of the game should be anything special. If anything, it should be a given.

Bandai Namco EntertainmentDragon Ball FighterZ in-game screenshot showing Gohan.Dragon Ball FighterZ: Gohan (Adult)

So, Guilty Gear-like gameplay in a Dragon Ball game, extremely likely spamming of ki blasts and a very small roster of characters. These are the things that we personally don't like about Dragon Ball FighterZ, but if these things don't bother you, then there's not a shadow of a doubt that you'll find this game to be an absolute masterpiece. And speaking of small rosters, we really hope that we don't end up having to pay to play as some of our favourite characters. Although it seems that the Ultimate Edition of the game has already started breathing life into this fear.

Bandai Namco EntertainmentDragon Ball FighterZ Ultimate EditionDragon Ball FighterZ Ultimate Edition features

Dragon Ball FighterZ is a breathtakingly beautiful looking game, but it walks on very thin ice with ankle weights made of spammers and some core gameplay flaws. That's why we cannot agree that it is the best Dragon Ball game ever made.