PeiPei’s Pennies ~ Dragon Ball FighterZ Review
Osu, nerds! Welcome to PeiPei’s Pennies, the part wherein I rant about the shiz I love despite the fact that nobody cares. We’re talking about my now favorite Dragon Ball FighterZ! (Hereon FighterZ) About a week plus after its release I wanted to talk about this game after being able to play around with it for as long as I have. Honestly, take this review with a grain of salt, for I am a huge Dragon Ball nerd. Like hardcore nerd. Dragon Ball was my gateway drug into the world of Nerd-dom, entirely! It has been the core of my being since childhood, the base for friendships, arguments, bonds, and life-style changes. To keep going would be a whole article in itself. I just want to be upfront and honest with you in this review so you know where some of this joyous rant and praise comes from. Along with that, I’ve also been a huge fighting game fan, since childhood. These two things together mean I’ve played most Dragon Ball games since they’ve been released in the West. That said, I hope this revelation also adds to the gravity of whether or not I actually praise something. Hopefully, you take that whatever I say with the fact that: if I complain, it’s out of the fact that I really dislike the aspect of the game itself or if I really love an aspect, it’s for good reason.
Ever since this game’s announcement, I have been wanting this thing in my hands! A Dragon Ball fighter that was made by Arc System Works, one of the best fighting developers in the biz, that’s a three-on-three style, with cell-shaded graphics?! Sign me up! I remember the fighting game community blowing up, the headlines (if you want to call them that) that a Dragon Ball game was taking home the medal for most talked about game, all the hilarious memes of FighterZ kicking Marvel vs Capcom Infinite’s ass! And I have been following this game ever since. Character Announcements, trailers, random crap I’ve hear on the internet, hopes and dreams for the game that I’ve had for myself! Reasons that, of course, I’ll explain but I wanted to give this little precursor to the whole things itself. Now unto the review itself!
Foist things foist- the gameplay. Is it fun? Yes, to a degree. There’s nothing that’s totally game-breaking or rage inducing but let’s put it this way, as much as I wanted an in-depth fighter, crazy, hard-to-master combos, it’s still a Dragon Ball game. That is to say, the game is extremely easy to learn but not in a bad way. It felt very much like Smash Bros. (not control-wise) but that once you learn the tricks and commands for one character, you can begin to apply that to the other characters, see what changes between them, and then begin to learn how to master each of the 24 different characters and their subtle nuances. The great thing about the roster, also, is that all the characters feel balanced! Usually with a Dragon Ball game like this, the strongest character in show is equally so in game. Nay nay, I could kick as much ass with a team of Yamcha, Krillin, and Tien if I so pleased. And it just feels good.
There are auto-combos, which I’d have rather not had but it’s not that noticeable of a quirk. Another quirk that comes with being a Dragon Ball is the amount of spammy-ness that happens while playing, luckily, I had no problem with it during fights with friends or through the story. Though, I could see it possibly becoming a hassle as time goes on in the online modes and people learn how to break the game. That said, the skill-level of the game, despite one’s beginner-like antics, scales quite drastically at moments to which those spam-tactis and auto-combos mean nothing. I love it both from a fan stand-point and from a player standpoint. There are, at time, moments wherein I could progress further depending on how good I was at the game and it felt great. I felt just like a master the further I progressed, yet felt utterly defeated after the difficulty spiked. It felt true-to-series in that I felt as though I needed to train more, to become stronger, to get better to progress. It felt as though I was right along with the series’ characters when it comes to that aspect. Despite the flashy looks and crazy on-screen shenanigans, FighterZ lends itself to be a great gateway drug for beginner fighting game players while showing enough diverse game mechanics among the hardcore fanbase. A great easy-to-learn but hard-to-master-type deals.
The music is great, in my opinion. It is very reminiscent to the old days of the North American release of Dragon Ball when they would license Screamo/Rock bands to play in the background. I know a lot of purist fans hated that but I loved it. I feel a sense of urgency and need when fighting and it’s great in regard to the actual gameplay aspect. The better I get at the game the more the music fits to the grandiose fights I have. I can’t wait until I obtain the Anime Music Pack and fight along with the iconic music from the series proper.
The graphics blow me away. The style, the color, the depth – all breathtaking for a fan of the franchise. The cell-shaded graphics are a painfully perfect fit for the series and its robust world. Coupled with the fact that the game is so dedicated to being faithful to the series, this is a masterfully-made game for the series. The attacks look phenomenal and the characters remain true to their source material in both aesthetic, design, and fighting style. The movement, attacks, and gestures are taken straight from both the Manga and Anime and it’s clear to see just how much work was put into making this game. It’s clear that the developers are fans and that this game was made for people just like them.
Fans will be able to explore a delightfully fresh story mode that is surprisingly long. Without spoiling anything, the Red Ribbon army is back, causin’ a ruckus, and it’s up to the series’ protagonists to stop it! Or villains, whatever. Point is, it’s nothing ground-breaking but it’s new and exciting for any fan and nothing stale for any new-comer, either. The story mode is just one of the many in-game treats the players get to enjoy, other things include Arcade Mode (my personal favorite so far), Training Mode, Local and Online battle lobbies all inside the cute little hub-world that you can go wander and emote your way with other players around you.
The game is not perfect by any means but it’s damn close, though, I can’t help but feel as though something is missing. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled in the past with other games but I wish the roster was a bit bigger. There are a lot of characters I wish made the game there are some missing staples that I’d have loved to see included: any iteration of Super Buu, the champ Mr. Satan himself, and/or any Dragon Ball GT character/form. But that’s a minor complaint to an otherwise fleshed-out game. And gameplay-wise there isn’t much I don’t like but there are certainly way things have been done better in prior fighter-games before. It’s reminiscent to me in that I can’t help but feel that games like Marvel vs Capcom 2 and 3 are still better fighters. I suppose I should be fair and say that this is the first game that this developer has produced and they can’t go all out. How else does one make money-making DLC or a money-making sequel? (Please make this happen, by the way, Arc System Works)
While mentioning DLC, I would like to briefly mention the aspect of the future of this game. This (hopefully) series that is “FighterZ” has so much potential! There is room for more exciting characters and the way that Super and the new Dragon Ball movie are going we’re going to have so much latent possibilities, whether it be sequel or DLC I’m excited for what’s to come. Especially considering that nothing from Dragon Ball or GT was taken as source material, there’s so much further that this can go.
This game has revolutionized the whole attitude toward Dragon Ball as a franchise and its authority as a fighting game. A real fighting game, like tournaments and stuff. People have wanted this for so long. I remember going to the store to preorder the game and the staff told me that, much to my sorrow, they were completely out of everything but the standard edition. Sad for me but amazing for the severity of this game. That’s never happened to me before! My YouTube has been blowing up the closer this game came to release, it grew increasingly harder to avoid spoilers for the game as time went by. The fighting game community has also been making a ruckus at the arrival of this game. This is next big thing, and deservedly so. FighterZ has shown us that this game Is the next form for Dragon Ball games, that all the games in the past aren’t the final form for the series, and that this game shows what it is to go Even. Further. Beyond!