What is Dragon Ball FighterZ?
Dragon Ball FighterZ is a fast-paced and flashy 3 on 3 tag team beat 'em up, starring all the biggest characters from the popular anime show, Dragon Ball Z. Punching, kicking and ki-blasting each other to victory, this is a fighting game that's easy enough to pick up and play, yet one that has enough depth to keep serious fighting game aficionados happy too. Aside from quick battles against friends, either locally or online, a pretty lengthy story mode gives you a more structured set of fights to play through, as you try to recover all of the Dragon Ball Z squad, who have been knocked out and weakened by some mysterious waves that have spread across the world. At the same time, an army of clones have marched their way around the planet, leaving chaos in their wake - and it's up to you, as a random floating ball of consciousness, to inhabit the bodies of the Dragon Ball characters and fight your way to saving the world.
How do you play Dragon Ball FighterZ?
While the game does have several different modes on offer, how you play them all boils down to the same few basics. Each of the face buttons on the controller (Square/Circle/Triangle/X on the Playstation 4, A/B/X/Y on the Xbox One) lets you pull off a different strength of attack, some strong, some weak and some in between. By mixing and matching the different attacks, in combination with various directional analogue stick movements, you can pull off all kinds of flashy combos, punching your opponent into the stratosphere, launching charged balls of energy their way or slamming them forcefully into the ground to damage them. While some fights are simply one on one brawls, the majority of battles see your team of three facing off against another, with the ability to tag in your pals when the going gets tough, or lend a hand with a special attack.
In terms of modes, Dragon Ball FighterZ does offer several single player modes to get stuck into. There's the aforementioned story mode, where elaborate cutscenes tie together a lengthy sequence of battles, as you rescue your conked out friends and try to get to the bottom of the mysterious clone appearances. For something a bit less story-driven, Arcade mode offers several back-to-back battles against enemy teams, as you try to earn a new high score - but if you'd rather kick back with a friend, there's the option for offline two player Vs Battles too. Online, the game offers a variety of modes to try your hand at, playing against random players from all over the world using the power of the internet - or you can play against your real life friends online too.
How easy is Dragon Ball FighterZ to pick up and play?
In terms of difficulty, Dragon Ball FighterZ does have a bit of a learning curve when you first start out, when figuring out what all the different buttons and combinations do - but a handy tutorial, both found in the 'Practice' area of the lobby (under 'Battle Tutorial'), and given to you by default when starting up Story Mode for the first time, make sure to show you the ropes. There's also a 'Combo Challenge' area under 'Practice', which lets you run through some more character-specific skills and combos, if you want to take things a bit deeper. However, it's also at least fairly possible to just button-mash your way through when playing against the computer, or a similarly unpractised friend - taking it online against folks who've put in some time to learn the ins and outs is a different story.
While the actual fighting portion of the game is fairly easy to get through with minimal reading, all the story segments are voiced in Japanese with English subtitles, which means that those who want to enjoy the kooky anime-episode-like story mode will need to be confident readers in order to follow what's going on. It's also worth bearing in mind that the tutorials are also delivered entirely through text.
- "Let's perform some simple attacks. Fire a barrage of Ki blasts at your opponent from across the stage, then move in close with a Super Dash and finish them off with a Super Combo!"
- "Uh, Goku? I dunno what's going on, but you better kick this imposter's bionic butt! Hold the phone. You know how to fight… right?"
- "I knew it. I'm as weak as a kitten. I won't be fighting like this. That's for sure. Maaaan."
On the whole, Dragon Ball FighterZ is pretty light on mature content, and is much more over-the-top cartoony than realistic. Players punch and kick each other, as well as pelting each other with brightly coloured energy balls, accompanied by bright flashes of light, impact sounds and cries of pain - the classic Batman 'pow' and 'whack' wouldn't exactly feel out of place either. There's no blood or gore, although some cutscenes do show characters being caught in explosions and 'vaporised' by energy beams. Mild suggestive material includes a female character in a low cut top exposing some cleavage, and some character descriptions or tags describe them as an 'Old Pervert' and 'Sexy and I Know It'. The words a*s and b*stard do crop up in the dialogue on occasion too.
Dragon Ball FighterZ is a game with a large online component, and in fact, the game's main menu is essentially one big online lobby, with stylised avatars representing real-life people playing the game at the same time as you. While your interactions with them inside the game are limited to a selection of harmless preset phrases and character stickers, as well as hopping into battles against them, the people you encounter may still be able to send you friend requests, messages and invitations to voice chat, depending on your console's privacy settings and parental controls.
Format Reviewed: Playstation 4