Saturday, 13 October 2018 20:41

REVIEW: DragonBall FighterZ (Nintendo Switch)

Written by RiotArms
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Man I remember sitting down before school watching Cheez TV (Australian Kids Show) at 7 AM to watch DragonBall Z. Everyone remembers the sagas; Androids, Cell, Buu and so on. That show was like crack to me, following each episode with the utmost interest in my youthful eyes. Fast forward 2 decades and I still crack a mad smile when I see anything related to DBZ, the story, voice actors and the over the top characters the series shows.

Dragon Ball FighterZ was created by Arc System Works based in DBZ’s homeland of Japan. This veteran development studio gave us great heavyweight titles such as Double Dragon (I know right?!), Guilty Gear and BlazBlue just to name a few. Being the masters of 2D fighting games you can be assured that they pulled out all the stops developing DragonBall FighterZ. Publishers Bandai Namco are responsible for awesome series such as Sailor moon, Time crisis and Point Blank just to name a few recognizable names.

Not your typical fighting game, DragonBall FighterZ brings to the table a robust story mode, Arcade gameplay, multiplayer offerings and a smattering of extra features that we will go through. So let’s hop on our clouds and see what makes this game the fighting game of 2018.


Let’s rock the dragon!

Diving right into it team. One thing to note is this review was based on the OFFLINE world as ONLINE requires a Nintendo membership. This review will be concentrating on the single player gameplay. When you start you control a chibi avatar where you can navigate to different parts of the game. As mentioned before in my previous reviews I love games that perk your interest and get you to do things via quests and achievements. This brings a sense of direction to the player. Your first missions could include play arcade mode, go here, do this, do that. When performing these actions, you get Zenis which is the in game currency that you can use to redeem capsules which contain in game cosmetic items. More on this later.

First things first, lets hit the story mode. A lovely addition to this game is an in game tutorial incorporated into the story. What this does is gets the player to go through the story without breaking momentum, which is a nice addition. One thing to note with this is the fluidity of the game on the switch and the graphics. If you can see me right now I’m making the OK hand sign kissing my lips. The usage of the Unreal Engine and optimizing the game for Switch usage was done amazingly, with no input lag and frame tearing.

I’m going to come clean here, I’m not a big fan of fighting games except for Marvel VS Capcom. To my surprise this game has the same feels and the awesome concept: Tag teams. Without being stuck to one character that may be a heavy hitter, the player has the option to load out their players to their playstyle or to their opponent. Being a traditionalist, naturally I selected my childhood dream team: Goku, Vegeta and Gohan. Playing these characters brought me joy and a connection back to my youth. How you ask? Their quirks, mannerisms and actions were by the book canon and relatable. Signature moves and character movements were just as expected if you were watching the anime. Safe to say I was impressed with the gameplay this far. What pushed me to recommend this game even further is the attention to detail that Arc System Works put into the game. For example, if there is a match between Goku and Frieza on Namek, a cut scene will play before the battle showing Krillin being more or less pink misted (killed). Every DBZ fan knows that’s when Goku unlocked his Super Saiyan form at the lamentation of his best friend’s murder. Being true to fans is the one way to keep them hooked.

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The controls were responsive and easy to manipulate. If you are a button masher or a pro player; you will find no issues performing awesome moves and combos to knock the tar out of your opponent. If you get stuck there is a move list in the menus and combo listings to assist.

Any player will be pleased with the story mode’s telling, packed with immersive and long cut scenes which is sure to draw the player into the Xenoverse. Personally I felt the story mode was drawn out a lot however for those hardcore fans you will not be disappointed.

There are other game modes such as arcade modes, training room and multiplayer. I don’t want to drag it out however quickly touching on them; arcade mode allows you to battle in ladders with increasing difficulty. By beating the ladders, you will unlock characters to play.
The training room is what the name says; a place to practice your moves and combos on configurable computer players.

The multiplayer can be categorized into local and online. With local you can use each joycon and battle a mate however the controls do differ so watch out. There is something wholesome about kicking the snot out of your mate next to you; something that is lost with online gameplay. Online is where the fun begins. Each thing you do earns you Zenis and Zenis can be traded in for Capsules which contain additional chibis, titles and emotes. There is also a pay for Zenis option for those who cannot wait or dislike grinding. Communication is only via text and emotes however that’s all you really need in this community.


The Beat down

SFX and music were true to the anime; creating that unique attraction and connection with player to game. The sounds were all unique and crisp; really immersing you in the fight. All the signature moves down to the grunts made me think I was in the anime.

Graphics were superb. I watched some reviews of the game on PS4 and I couldn’t tell the difference between the switch port and the PS4 version. With over the top designs and animations down to the facial expressions of your beloved characters, you can appreciate the finer details this game has to offer.
The gameplay was easy to grasp and manipulate. For new players there is a tutorial in the story mode and even an easy mode which allows you to press buttons multiple times to execute devastating combos. The help was useful and easy to navigate. The tag team element is what stole the show for me. No longer stuck with 1 character; the player has the ability to unleash their either heavy hitters or nimble ninjas to take out the opponent. Drawing relatable game play from heavy weights such as Marvel Vs Capcom was a winning choice.

Game modes were plentiful and allows you explore the Dragon Ball FighterZ features. The story mode; although slightly grindy, was chock full of relatable dialog that will make you go “I REMEMBER THAT!”

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Riot’s Remarks

As mentioned, I’m not a fighter genre lover however this game had my interest but now has my attention. Easily being THE fighting game of 2018, I couldn’t recommend this game enough. Whether you are a DBZ lover, a fighting champ or just an anime lover, you will not be disappointed.

- Amazing story staying true to the anime
- Graphics were fluid and sharp
- Solid gameplay
- Variety of modes

- Story was a bit grindy
- Need Nintendo subscription to play online

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 4.5 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Platform: Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: Arc System Works
  • Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
  • Genre: Fighting