Wednesday, 24 January 2018 11:35

REVIEW: Dragon Ball FighterZ (Xbox One)

Written by Brett Hale
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I can’t say i've ever spent anytime in my younger days watching Dragon Ball Z. Surprisingly, my first experience with the franchise wasn’t until 2016 when I reviewed Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, and I didn’t mind that game but the newest edition for Dragon ball Z is nothing but pure fighting with a story mode as well. I can officially say I started my New Year with one hell of an awesome game to review.

Dragon Ball FighterZ boasts 21 playable characters right from the start with characters such as Goku, Piccolo, Vegeta, Majin Buu and Krillin. There are 13 arenas to battle in all of which look very much alive. Something passed on from games such as Injustice 1 and 2 is the fact you can hit enemies off the battle ground into another and continuing the fight. The game caters for both offline and online play.

Bandai Namco published and Arc System Works developed with both doing an amazing job of making Dragon Ball FighterZ perfect in every aspect. I’m not much of an online player when it comes to the fighting genre, there’s way too many players who either do the same move over and over or that have way too much time on there hands and play 24/7 and annihilate me.

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This is a game that's learnt a thing or two from the Marvel Vs Capcom games, well gameplay wise at least, this game is a 3v3 tag sort of game. You’ll control them one at a time simply tagging others in at anytime unless they lose all health than they aren’t much help. If you lose some health you tag them out to allow their health to regenerate enough that you can bring them back into the fight. You don’t even need to tag them in to help you out, they can perform assists with a press of a button which can get you out of trouble if you are having a difficult time.

One thing missing is a difficulty choice, it's odd at first but not really needed largely due to how the game works to create an even playing field. Instead of playing with (example) easy, normal or hard it's all based upon a level with some modes. While some modes don't have a difficulty setting, fighters don’t feel like their unbeatable, I only lost 3 or 4 fights in the time I’d spent playing. Now, not having a difficulty setting for the overall game is fine but when you complete each of the story modes it will display in the games stats that it was completed on a normal difficulty. Though once you complete each of the arcade modes you’ll unlock versions of those that can be done on a harder difficulty.

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Gameplay is a little different depending on the mode you play. Story mode is broken up into three parts and this is where you’ll level up the characters you play as. Now, if you lose enemies will level up instead of you. Simply earn XP to rank up characters and to have a better chance of winning because the deeper you get into the story arcs the higher level enemies you'll encounter. On the way you’ll acquire player skills which includes a skill that allows you to lower enemies levels, or to regain health from winning battles. There's a large list of them to acquire, I stuck with the same three as I felt that helped me the best. Each skill has roughly three levels that improve the players skill a fraction. Story mode has you up against proper characters as well as their clones that are a different colour from clothing and skin. What I enjoyed was how the story of the game is broken into three parts, first is the Super Warrior Arc followed by the Enemy Warrior Arc and the last being Android 21 Arc, each unlocks once you've complete them. The story mode it's filled with lots of cut-scenes that look amazing and tell an interesting story, of course if you want you can skip most cut-scenes.

How you move around from fight to fight is the same across all three arcs. You’ll have a number of moves you can take, simply fight all that are offered to you as the more battles you take part in the quicker you’ll level up characters. Note, if you do the boss battle before doing any or all other battles you’ll miss out on fighting those battles. Each arc has a number of chapters to go through with each taking a number of hours to complete. Yes, this is a 3v3 tag fighter but the story starts with just one of you fighting. You’ll need to complete fights that require you to rescue someone, once doing so they are then available for you to fight with.

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What’s the story about? Well, it includes all playable characters featured in the game, plus a n00b named Android 21, she was created for this game specifically and she’s one hellish bitch. Your purpose is to defeat all that stand in your way and to finally face Android 21 and put that bitch down. There is some comedic moments in cut-scenes and it's rather funny to play the game with Japanese language selected, but I switched to English eventually.

So, story mode is well worth the play-through which I enjoyed a lot, but there is more than just story mode to take a dab in. Arcade mode is my second favourite part of the game. It's a ladder style game, 3v3 fighting just as story mode had three arcs here there is three playable ladders. The first is called Snake Way than Extreme Gravity Spaceship and Hyper Time Chamber. Each plays the same with the only difference being is how many battles you need to win, Snake requires 3, Extreme 5 and Hyper you’ll need to win 7. The overall score from each is put together into an overall grade and than playing again it's all about beating your best grade. It doesn’t sound all too fun but it's enjoyable and earns you an achievement or trophy for completing each. Completing them also unlocks a hard mode for each and playing on hard causes a greater challenge. All enemies you face are predetermined, but you’ll follow a random path depending on a win or loss.

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Local matches are for playing alone or with a friend on your console. Playing can happen two ways, a normal verses match or creating a tournament. Verses is pretty straight forward, select three fighters, select an arena and fight until someone wins. Tournament is a much longer game having 16 max players and is only two players at a time with a range of settings. When playing either local matches or even arcade those orange balls with stars on them come into play, you’ll see them bottom middle of screen.

Not having a difficulty choice might put some people off from purchasing this game in fear that it might be too hard. Being totally honest with you, I’m not the best at fighting games but I manage to average out my wins and losses versus CPU and family members. There were some battles towards the end of each story mode that had me a little frustrated but I got there much easier than I had anticipated, which brings me to the practice mode. Here you’ll learn all moves and combos, some of these are epic ones that will take you a few attempts at pulling them off in an actual match but totally doable. Practice mode has a detailed tutorial along with a sweet combo challenge mode and basic training that even skilled players could learn a thing or two from.

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The past few fighting games I’ve purchased have being Injustice 2, Tekken 7 and Marvel Vs Capcom Infinite, each had it's own style for their control layout. Tekken 7 being the most technical out of the bunch, but I can say happily that Dragon Ball FighterZ controls are very easy to master, there are a range of attacks to perform from simple light and heavy attacks, combos and lastly the super moves. On saying that, there really isn’t a huge amount of moves to do which is a bit of a downer.

Before I move onto visuals and sounds I want to clear up the whole in-game store. There are no micro-transactions in this title, all credits spent in store are earnt from battles, and the currency is called Zeni and there are two types of Z capsules that give you customising options. These are titles, lobby characters, colours and more. These are in the form of standard and premium Z Capsules. Standard Z Capsules are 1 for $1000 Zeni or 10 for $10,000 Zeni. A standard Z Capsule purchase will randomly give you premium coins to spend. 10 premium coins for 1 premium purchase or 11 coins for 10 premium items, how to earn that sweet Zeni is by completing battles and completing lobby quests in the games hub.

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Now, I reviewed on both Xbox One and Xbox One S to compare the difference with performance. Firstly, no matter what console you play on it's all 2D visuals with some 3D elements as well. I first played on my 1080p television wth the Xbox One S and it does seem to run at full 1080p resolution along with 60fps and it looks great. I was also aware that Dragon Ball FighterZ had Xbox One X enhancements, but what enhancements do you ask? Well sadly no HDR on either Xbox console, but playing on the Xbox One X on a 4K screen will allow you to play at 1800p and at 60fps and it's so damn sexy I wanted to kiss my tv! The clarity between the two is unmissable, it runs flawlessly without any screen tearing or stuttering on either Xbox console, and I’ve played hours upon hours of the game since having it. It truly puts Marvel Vs Capcom Infinite to shame in every aspect. 

The transitions of characters switching on screen flows nicely. All explosions and moves that involve on-screen effects just stand out in such an artistic way it's presented very well across the whole game. The whole game screams colour and the uncanniness of all characters match up with perfection to the cartoon series in a phenomenal way. Whilst in a battle you’ll have a great looking HUD which displays all characters health bars along with the battle time. The top of screen displays the combo hit counter and the bottom of screen shows the power move bar, which can be built up to 7 max. This will allow you to perform a massive combo move either alone or with your fellow team mates as well as letting you dart across screen appearing behind an enemy in the blink of an eye.

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As for the soundtrack and sounds, Dragon Ball FighterZ is a fast action fighting game and to make you all hyped up whilst playing the music throughout the game is fast and energetic with guitars. The cut-scenes on the other hand have softer anima sort of music. Voice work is tip top, either listen in Japanese or English and sounds of explosions and all the powerful moves sound superb, the game never missed a beat!

UPDATE: The online servers are officially online, but to be honest they may as well not be, i'll tell you why shortly. Playing Dragon Ball FighterZ online allows you to play with the world, but first you need to select your own region for the best connection. There are two online modes, World Match and Arena Match. Both are 3v3 modes as well as there being a rankings store where you can see how you compare to other players. I did however see this coming, the servers had issues that would sign me in and not long after I’d be signed out. This has since stopped and now it's literally a waiting game to play someone online no matter if it's World or Arena Match. So if you haven’t got much patience, your going to absolute hate the online part of this game, at least for the time being and hopefully things improve. 

The verdict is in. The jury finds this game guilty! Guilty of being one heck of an insane fighting game. Fans of Dragon Ball Z have waited a long ass time for a proper fighting game and 2018 is the year for them to rejoice. I can’t comment for the PS4 but on both Xbox One S and X the load times were super quick, even when running 1800p on the One X. This is a game all fighting genre fans will absolutely love.

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 5.0 / 5.0
  • Release Date: 26th January, 2018
  • Platform: PC, PS4, XBOX ONE
  • Developer: Arc System Works
  • Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
  • Genre: Multiplayer, Fighting