Everything you need to know about Dragon Ball FighterZ
One of the surprise announcements during Microsoft’s E3 press conference was Dragon Ball FighterZ, an anime-inspired fighting game from Arc System Works and Bandai Namco. We played an early version of this beautiful fighter, and it’s something that Dragon Ball Z fans are going to love. Here’s what you should know about Dragon Ball FighterZ
A 2.5D anime fighter
FighterZ will be the first Dragon Ball Z fighter to come along in quite a while to feature 2D fighting gameplay. To accomplish this and create a better-than-average fighting game, Bandai Namco teamed up with Arc System Works, makers of the Guilty Gear series and other anime-style 2D fighters.
Despite the 2D gameplay, FighterZ makes use of gorgeous 3D graphics that capture the style and spirit of creator Akira Toriyama’s beloved character designs. Bandai Namco calls this mixture of 2D gameplay with 3D graphics “2.5D gameplay,” a common term for the hybrid art and gameplay style. The game already runs beautifully on Xbox One (the hardware used to demo at E3), with 1080p and 60 frames per second (FPS) graphics. And when playing on the powerful Xbox One X, the resolution jumps up to native 4K. Bandai Namco couldn’t confirm additional enhancements at this time, but they’re certainly a possibility.
As far as characters go, the developers have been mostly quiet with regards to who we can expect to see populate the roster, but for now, we’ve got seven confirmed characters: Goku, Gohan, Vegeta, Frieza, Cell, Majin Buu, and the recently announced Future Trunks. As for how they play, Goku and Cell feel like the most well rounded, not particularly excelling or faltering in any areas. Gohan and Vegeta are straight-up aggressive rush down characters that excel at getting in your face with dizzying speed, and Frieza’s especially good from a distance with a bunch of long range attacks, including unblockable destructo discs. Then there’s Buu, who’s a comparatively slow-moving powerhouse.
Dragon Ball FighterZ also has a comeback mechanic very similar to X-Factor from Marvel vs Capcom 3 in the form of the Sparking Blast. Players can only use Sparking Blast once per match, and popping it will give a character an immediate boost in power in addition to regeneration of all of their blue life. It can be used in combos as a way to extend them and increase their damage, or it can be used defensively to get out of a bad situation.
Three key mechanics in FighterZ involve calling in partners for assists or to tag out.
- Z Assist: Call a teammate in mid-battle to attack and provide cover. Players can combo in and out of Z Assists from other moves.
- Z Change: Swap characters in and out during battle. Inactive characters can recover a portion of their life, just as in the Marvel vs. Capcom games.
- Ultimate Z Change: A Supermove executed by the entire team of three fighters.
This dragon is going to rock
There’s a lot we don’t know about Dragon Ball FighterZ yet, including the full character roster and what modes it will have. At any rate, it will offer single-player modes, local multiplayer, and online multiplayer for two players.
In my brief playtime at E3, I picked Gohan, Frieza, and Cell for my team – you can mix and match good and bad guys, thankfully. We battled on Planet Namek, which looked better than the actual anime in some ways. The skies feature moving clouds and atmospheric effects that really pop. And the characters speak for themselves – you’d almost think they were hand-drawn if not for the 3D effects whenever someone pulls off a powerful special move.
The mixture of 2D gameplay with occasional flashy 3D is not unlike the arena transitions and super moves of Injustice 2. The only element that didn’t impress during our demo was the music, which was simplistic and unexciting.
Dragon Ball FighterZ already plays quite well, and I expect that anime and fighting game fans will love it. There’s a good chance you’ll get to play it before release, too, as Bandai Namco promises a closed beta before release. The timing and platforms are still to be determined, but hopefully it will be easy to get in and throw some kamehamehas in glorious 2.5D!