Bandai Namco and Arc System Works might have finally done it. Since the anime’s inception, Dragon Ball video games have lingered somewhere between the levels of outright awful and barely scraping at the gates of greatness. Each usually comes up shy of the promised land in some way, falling prey to common flaws and cheap design choices that plague most licensed games.
Not Dragon Ball FighterZ. I can say, without question, that this is the Dragon Ball fighting game that will take us to Valhalla and the one fans will fondly remember for years to come.
Arc System Works, of Guilty Gear and BlazBlue fame, is already on top of the fighting game world. The studio’s inclusion in this project has already pushed the game to gain hype into its release next year. Dragon Ball FighterZ trailers show the typical high-quality graphics that its fighting games are known for, and comparisons to the actual show feel justified. There is no better way to put this. Seeing this game in motion is almost like watching the show itself.
In fact, it sometimes looks even better.
Arc System Works’ patented touch on a Dragon Ball game just means it will be beautiful no matter what angle you see it from, and if you can believe it, playing feels just as nice as it looks. During my demo, my team of Krillin, Piccolo, and Android 16 linked together a barrage of ridiculous combos in the face of the arrogant Super Saiyans, and it made me feel totally awesome for how intuitive the game feels. The fluid animation and responsive controls give a certain flow to the game that just feels second to none on the market.
Fans have been tossing around comparisons to the Marvel vs Capcom series, and I’ll chip in to say that those are totally justified. Dragon Ball FighterZ emulates the mix of style and balance those games achieve, and with the ability to make a construct a team of three, the tag team approach still feels fresh as it did back in 2000. I’m still a sucker for Marvel vs Capcom 2’s sprites and soundtracks, but those wouldn’t fly in a new release in 2017. Dragon Ball FighterZ is smart to take a safe route with the music and the high-resolution character models.
Of course, the problem with Marvel vs Capcom 2 is that balance issues make it more of a slugfest than a finely tuned and finessed fighting game. One match is not enough time to test the balance of Dragon Ball FighterZ, so the vote is still out on that aspect of the game.
However, this is my favorite game at the show for the graphics and sensational feels of the fighting alone. This is definitely a game that should be on everyone’s radar. Fighting game fans, Dragon Ball fans, or even just gamers in general that are casual towards both.
Now, the only question that remains is “When is it coming to the Switch?” Bandai Namco said it is possible if people ask. Consider this my request, Bandai Namco! The game will be released for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in 2018.