With one of the most popular anime's out there to still be getting more and more games made based on it, I have to say that this is among the top three Dragonball Z games ever made. Dragonball FighterZ by Bandai Namco brings a series of action packed moments, fan favorite easter egg moments, and epic combos with cool controls. There are of course the couple things I would suggest to be changed, but lets dive in to the specifics and see just why this game is an easy top tier DBZ title.
Avoiding the typical style of letting players venture through and conquer the various Saga's from the anime series, they took a different approach. Creating a new story to fit the scenario of the game, you will go through three different versions of the same story and each will have their own unique characters to play as.
You are a "Link" which was created by the Red Ribbon Army in order to coincide with the many warriors from the DBZ series. This "Link" is the explanation of why you are in control of what characters, why you can only fight with one character at a time, and what is happening in the universe. All warriors have lost their powers and, in most cases, have been knocked out from their dramatic lose of energy. Although they can regain consciousness once saved, they will still be weak without the help of you - the Link.
You will be tasked with fighting as many cloned versions of the warriors we all know and love in order to power up your fighters so that you can successfully defeat Android 21. 21 is a mixture of all the enemies you know, featuring the tail and purple energy of Frieza, the absorption of power through the ability to eat the fallen warriors (and clones) after they have been defeated like Buu, and the massive regeneration ability partnered with the backstory of being developed in a lab to be the ultimate warrior like Cell.
Unfortunately, I found the story to be overall mediocre and the best arc was the last one; Android 21 Arc. The gameplay here is incredibly easy and you shouldn't expect much of a challenge until the very end of the last arc. It's great for getting to know majority of the characters and how they play, since the enemies are practically on easy mode with no way to change that. The best part in completing the story mode is unlocking Android 21 as a usable character, but I personally would of preferred to just play through the classic Saga's from the series.
Getting to choose between three different characters to play as is the best part of this game. I always had trouble trying to decide who I wanted to use, since many characters have some awesome fighting styles, but now I don't have to. There is even multiple presets so that you can put together a few teams of choice to easily change between as you are in between fights.
The combinations that are able to be completed in the game look incredibly complicated, but in reality are rather simple. This game is button smasher approved, but that doesn't mean you will have the upper hand by doing so. It is a great balance between skill, strategy, and luck that make the action packed fights equal for all players.
Every character has their own specials and different strength attacks. The easy to find moves are the level 1 and level 3 super moves. The different in these two attacks is how much health is removed, but for certain characters they could lead to an even bigger attack. An example of this is Teen Gohan. His level 1 attack is a Kamehameha wave that is shot diagonally upwards and his level 3 attack is the iconic Kamehameha wave from the end of the Cell saga. However, if you have your ki gauge up to 5 bars and do a level 3 attack, continue to hold down the trigger button and he will do a secondary push (like he did in the anime to finish off Cell) to do a bit more damage while consuming more energy. I can't confirm that every character has a level 5 move, but I have found a few out for the characters I like to use and think that there is likely a way to do a level 5 attack with each character.
Being able to switch between characters is great for both health regeneration and strategy changing. Sometimes the opponent can figure out what you are going to do after fighting your for a short time, so you will need to change it up in order to get the upper hand. That's not all having the extra characters is good for though. If you do a level 1 attack with any of your characters and hold down the character switch button during the attack, it will switch to that character while they are joining you for another level 1 attack of their own. You can do this with the full squad and get a major attack going from the whole team in order to overpower and annihilate your foe.
The best part of the gameplay is when you match up two characters in an iconic setting. The most obvious of the group of easter egg scenes that are in the game is Teen Gohan verse Cell in the Cell Games Arena. Starting the match with both Teen Gohan and Cell as the leads on the team will trigger the cut scene that shows the moment that Teen Gohan reached SSJ2, but only if in the correct arena. These easter eggs are hidden throughout the game and are a lot of fun to find, so test your DBZ knowledge and see what special cut scenes you can find.
Overall, you need to keep an eye on your health and how much can be regenerated from switching out, work on raising the energy in your ki gauge and using it moderately, and find the team that best suits your fighting style. You will likely need to at least try out all the characters before settling, but doing so is a great way to use up all your presets with useful teams.
Graphics and Sounds
Every part of the game looks like it is straight out of the anime. When there is a cutscene going on, the animations flow well and have proper pausing that doesn't disrupt from the art style regardless how long it takes you to click the button for the next scene. The fighting sections look amazing with all the different moves and fighting styles matching the style from the show. Easy to say, it is like fighting inside of the actual anime!
The music that played for each scene also was very reminiscent of the anime and very fitting for the game. When you are in the lobby, there is an upbeat eccentric rock music style playing that is fitting to get you pumped up while you wait to match up with somebody. The music for the fight scenes themselves can be changed based on player preference, but they all sounded like the same type of music that played during the countless epic fights from the show.
Thanks to the arcade mode, local matchmaking, and online game play, this game is full of reasons to come back and play. You will never be the best fighter, even after you win a tournament, so you will always have room for improvement. The story mode isn't really set up to be played through more than once, due to how easy it is, but literally every other part of the game will make you want to come back for more!
What Could Be Better
I would of liked there to have been a difficulty option for the story mode. It felt like a chore going through the entire 8+ hour story line and spent more time just practicing how to use characters and creating combination attacks than even giving a glimpse of a worry that I might lose the fight.
There was also some connectivity issues within the online servers, but I believe that they are working on patching up some of the issues as I am writing this review. Although, it would of been nice to be able to select what lobby I join when I log on instead of it automatically loading me into a random one and then having to leave that lobby to get to the lobby menu. There should also be a party up system to match up with your friends that doesn't require you to be in the same lobby, but rather made it easier for you to instantly transmit yourself to their lobby and location.
Dragonball FighterZ is a ton of fun and will offer hours of entertainment for both solo and party players. Whether you are looking to conquer the very difficult arcade made with an S rank or climb to the top of the charts on the online leader board, this is one of those games that will never have a true end. Enthralling gameplay, mediocre story, exciting combo's, and amazing graphics pull this game together to easily be a top choice in the Dragonball Z gaming collection.