Dragon Ball Fighterz – Great Show, Pretty Good Game

Ibrahim Kaba, Staff Writer

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The Japanese animated show Dragon Ball Z made itself a staple of pop culture with it’s manly screams, flurry of strikes, and over the top power ups. All of these enjoyable aspects that made the show popular with American children and adolescents in the 90s and 2000s are present in the new 2.5D fighting game Dragon Ball Fighterz.

The game, developed by Japanese developer Arc System Works, has everyone’s favorite Dragon Ball characters rendered in 3D fighting on a 2D plane.  The game features the signature characters of the Dragon Ball franchise – Goku, Vegeta, Frieza –  and allows players to go head-to-head in teams of three from a roster with twenty five Dragon Ball characters.

As a fan of the Dragon Ball franchise, I can honestly say that Fighterz is the Dragon Ball game in its faithful recreation of the anime through its pristine presentation and fighting mechanics imitating the anime. Arc System Works to produce the distinctive anime aesthetic the franchise is famous for used the Unreal Engine 4, but translating it on to 3D models. The line work, vibrant colors, and signature spiky hair are on par with the show (even exceeding in some aspects).

Another crucial component in Dragon Ball Fighterz presentation is the sound design. Both Japanese and English voice actors lent their voices for new in-game lines to please fans of either style. Fighterz goes further by ensuring every action done in the game has the corresponding sound effect found in the anime.

Fighting in Fighterz is easily accessible  for newcomers, an amazing accomplishment by Arc System Works in a genre traditionally hard to newcomers. Repeatedly pressing either the light, medium, or heavy attack buttons will initiate an auto-combo doing the hard work of execution for the player. Manual combos yield more damage, rewarding players who can execute difficult inputs.

The story mode provides what many fans wanted: comedic interactions between Dragon ball characters, but it fails to provide compelling game play. The player works through three story arcs: the Super Warrior Arc, the Enemy Arc, and the Android Arc, with each arc placing different characters in the leading role. In order to progress through the story, a branching map must be cleared of a boss. This is where the game falters as defeating a boss requires players to repeatedly fight clone versions of Dragon Ball characters quickly becomes tiresome as this loop is done over twenty times in a single arc with no variation. The cutscene that comes from defeating the boss is what makes the story worthwhile, but what a lengthy process to get there.

Dragon Ball Fighterz is a must have for any Dragon Ball fan and a great entry point for newcomers in the fighting game genre. I recommend either purchasing a new  copy for $60 or waiting for a sale, it is worth it.


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Dragon Ball Fighterz – Great Show, Pretty Good Game