Dragon Ball FighterZ - PS4 Review


If you are looking for a Xenoverse-style of game, be warned that Dragon Ball FighterZ is a very different type of experience. The emphasis here is on more of a technical style of fighting with Arc System Works bringing their expertise to the table. The end result is a title that should satisfy both fighting and Dragon Ball fans alike.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the Xenoverse games, which this one gets compared to online quite a bit. We enjoyed both of them (you can read our reviews of Xenoverse and Xenoverse 2 if you like), but the style of combat is very different. It is more about space, taking place in 3D environments that have characters moving around more akin to the popular television shows and manga.

However, in terms of actual gameplay, Dragon Ball FighterZ reminds me a bit more of the Budokai games. This is a huge compliment from me, because those have long been my favorite Dragon Ball video games. Dragon Ball FighterZ is a 2.5D fighting game. There is only a single plane, and while there are some pretty flashy airborne elements to the combat, this is a much more ground-based game than Xenoverse.


The combat is an interesting blend of approachable gameplay with layers of deeper mechanics. Initially, I thought that FighterZ was going to be a simple button masher. The game's most basic of combos are performed by simply pressing the square or triangle buttons several times in rapid succession. Using Goku and rapidly mashing triangle will pull off a multi-hit combo that ends in a mid-air Kamehameha. It is flashy, fun and effective. This is more than enough to get through a lot of the story content and still pull off some really flashy, television show-like finishes.

However, when you start to play online, or on harder game modes like some of the more difficult arcade challenges, you have to start to use a lot more technique. Blocking, ranged attacks, more complicated combinations open up the gameplay to much deeper possibilities. It reminded me a great deal of another Arc System Works title that I sunk a ton of time into - Persona 4 Arena. I thoroughly enjoyed both games, and given their similarities to one another, I suppose that should not come as a surprise. While I am in comparison mode however, it is worth noting that you are assembling teams of characters - not unlike the Marvel vs. Capcom games. Characters who are not currently battling get to restore some hit points while waiting off-screen to be called in as part of a switch or team combo attack.


Outside of the polished combat, Dragon Ball FighterZ benefits from a plethora of modes. Story gives us an all-new tale told through a few different arcs that help to provide some different points of view while adding some RPG-like elements in leveling characters and unlocking new skills to be applied to the team. These can range from increasing health, damage, resistance and more. I still preferred the depth of Budokai 3, which allowed me to customize my characters to a greater degree, but Dragon Ball FighterZ still provides some pretty good progression.

Another progression technique is the 'shop' in the game, where you can purchase unlockable items of a largely cosmetic nature in exchange for fight earnings. This can be alternate skins for characters in the game or even your character avatar used to wander the lobby. Yes, there is a connected lobby that serves as a sort of virtual hub to connect the different online and offline gameplay modes. It is a cute enough idea, and it's not badly executed overall, but even more than a week out from its release, lobby disconnects that forced me to find a new one were not totally uncommon. Hopefully that gets smoothed out, but as far as quibbles go, it is a pretty minor one.


All in all Dragon Ball FighterZ provides a lot of different gameplay modes and characters that fans of the series should enjoy. Fighting fans will also appreciate the more technical execution than we usually see in Dragon Ball titles. The video and audio (including the American voice actors - thank you!) make this an authentic presentation. The story reflects the quirky humor that the series is so well known for as well, only adding to the game's authentic feel. There are a handful of technical quirks and I do wish a bit more RPG had gotten sprinkled into the overall progression elements, but Dragon Ball FighterZ is still a very well executed game.

Game Information

Platform:
PlayStation 4
Developer(s):
Arc System Works
Publisher(s):
Bandai Namco Games
Genre(s):
Action
Fighting
Mode(s):
Single Player
Multiplayer
Online Multiplayer
Other Platform(s):
PC
Xbox One

Source:
Purchased




Article by Nick
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