First things first, Dragon Ball: Fighter Z is by far the most faithful, fulfilling and fascinating Dragonball game we’ve played to date. Anyone who gives the new fighter a go will come out with a beautiful mix of bewilderment and childish joy at what they just witnessed happening on screen. But what is that exactly? We got hands-on at Gamescom with the most up-to-date build of the game to answer that question for you.
Dragon Ball: Fighter Z is a frenetic, fast paced fighter that’s both complex and incredibly easy to get to grips with – the age-old adage of ‘Easy to learn, hard to master’ rings true here.
Based on the Dragonball Z series, the game includes plenty of characters to make fans happy; Goku, Gohan, Majin Buu, Krillin, Piccolo, Androids 16-18, Cell, Frieza, Vegeta and Future Trunks are all present and accounted for, with even more yet to be announced. Each character is completely unique, with their own move sets, fighting styles and traits. Fascinatingly, Androids 17 and 18 are one character together, meaning you’ll be playing two characters simultaneously – think Ice Climbers, but just deadlier. And with better hair.
Oh, and Krillin? He can throw Senzu Beans off screen to heal a chosen party member. Good guy Krillin, even when he’s the centre of attention he’s looking out for others.
Which leads me to: how does Dragon Ball: Fighter Z play? In a word? Miraculously. This game feels wonderful to play, thanks to the sublime work by Arc System Works (Guilty Gear, Blazblue), and presents a truly unique Dragon Ball game from the get-go. You’ll choose three characters to fight with from the start – swapping between them mid-battle being one of the most satisfying fighting game moments in recent memory – against the three your opponent chooses. From then, well, it’s hell broken loose on screen in the best way possible.
Pick your favourite fight from the anime series, and imagine what it would look like playing through an Xbox One or PlayStation 4, with you in control. That’s what Dragon Ball: Fighter Z gives you with each match. Keeping track of what’s happening on screen can get tricky with characters coming in from all angles, but that’s part of the fun. Catch your opponent out at any given time and you’ll have control of the match in a very short period. Unleashing a character’s Ultimate Z Move with a quick button combo is up there with my gaming moments of 2017. Goku transforming in to Super Saiyan 3 and unleashing the world’s largest Kamehameha is a sight to behold.
Speaking of ultimate power, during Gamescom Bandai Namco announced the inclusion of SSGSS Goku and SSGSS Vegeta. Both characters will be standalone entries to the roster, and will be unlocked earlier by pre-ordering the game. These two present an incredible force within the game, being the only two able to use all seven Ki (energy) bars at one time to unleash devastating special moves on their opponents.
What’re We Saiyan?
Dragon Ball: Fighter Z is an incredibly promising and utterly bonkers fighting game, and one that’s already making strides in the fighting scene – the first tournament took place here at Gamescom! If it continues to deliver on everything we’ve seen up to now, we could be looking at the best Dragonball game in a long, long time.
Dragon Ball: Fighter Z is scheduled for a February 2018 release, for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.