Title: Dragon Ball FighterZ
Platform: Xbox One, PC, and PS4 (reviewed)
Developer: Arc System Works
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Release date: January 26, 2018
tl;dr: Raw, unfiltered fan service for Dragon Ball fans!
Price: PC – $60/£45
PS4 – $60/£50
Xbox One: $60/£50
Family Focus: Click here for more information.

In 1984, a man named Akira Toriyama started his manga in Weekly Shonen Jump, called Dragon Ball. This series became so successful and popular, it gained momentum all around the world, and spawned many adaptations from anime to toys, and of course, games. The Dragon Ball franchise has spawned over 90 games on various different platforms, even including arcade cabinets, and now we have arrived at our latest title in the video game series; Dragon Ball FighterZ.

Dragon Ball FighterZ was announced at the Xbox E3 2017 Conference, and the high paced action sold me on the game instantaneously, backed up by the fact it was developed by Arc System Works, so I knew that the Dragon Ball name was going to be in good hands.

Unlike other games, Dragon Ball FighterZ has a lobby which is the main menu; you run to the different menu options. such as story mode, arcade, training, local play and online matches, the latter of which weren’t available during my time playing due to the server not being currently active. There were various areas on the lobby map that didn’t have anything in them, unless these will open when the servers go live when the game launches.

Either way, you can choose which character you want to run around the lobby with; from the selection you have, you can unlock more using the in-game currency which is earned after battle, to obtain capsules (lootboxes) to gain cosmetic items like the lobby avatars, titles, and colours for your online card. It’s unknown at this time if you will be able to purchase these capsules from the PlayStation Store, as there is an option in the capsule menu but it’s currently greyed out.

One of the things that stood out most in the lead up to the launch of Dragon Ball FighterZ was the brand new and unique story for the game, which was a breath of fresh air, as there are only so many times I can revisit the Frieza or Cell saga… For FighterZ, Akira Toriyama designed a new character known only as Android 21 and she was a researcher for the evil Red Ribbon Army! This was exciting news for Dragon Ball fans, we had new stories to experience alongside Goku and his friends.

The story starts out with the heroes of the world collapsing as these strange waves are transmitted across the planet; they can’t fight without the help of a linked soul, and that soul is you! It’s up to you to save the world, by taking control of Earth’s most powerful warriors to bring an end to the evil Android 21’s scheme to become the most powerful being in the universe.

The story mode is set into three different story arcs, giving the player different perspectives; you start off with the Super Warrior Arc (Hero), then the Enemy Warrior Arc, and finally, what I believe to be the true story, Android 21 Arc. In each arc, you fight your way through the clones of friends and enemy alike, with a party of up to three warriors as you level up and gain different items that can boost your money, experience after the battle, maximum health, attack, defense or you can have a steady recovery of health.

Not only do you experience cutscenes for the story (which are breathtaking, by the way) that look so much like the anime, but you can also experience special scenes if you group the right bunch of warriors; for example, if you get Goku and Vegeta in your team, they will have their usual rivalry of who is going to fight the opponent first, or Gotenks and Gohan discussing whether the Great Saiyamans poses are cool or lame… I agree with Gotenks, they are lame.

Arcade mode is a blast! There are three courses to fight your way through, and depending on your rank at the end of each fight, it decides which route you follow as you make your way through the stages. If you get a S rank, you will go up the ladder, instead of going across if you got an A rank. In simple terms, if you do well, the difficulty will increase, if you do averagely well, you will stick at the same difficulty, but if you climb the ladder and you perform badly, you will get a lower difficulty battle. After completing the arcade course you will unlock a hard mode version of the course you just cleared.

As for the other modes, you have local battle where you can battle your friends couch style, either as a versus battle, or you can create a tournament with your friends, go up against the AI, or why not both! You can also create scenes from the original manga if you choose the correct characters and select the correct stage, for example, choosing a party with Goku and another party with Frieza on the Planet Namek stage will recreate the birth of Super Saiyan Goku; you can check a clip below. (Source: IGN)

Finally, you have the tutorial menu, which you can practice with your favourite characters under different conditions, or maybe you want to learn the core mechanics of the game, whether it’s how to draw your partners into battle or charge up your energy to perform explosive ultra attacks. One more mode is the combo challenges that teach you combos to throw your opponents into a state of fear on the battlefield.

Overall, Dragon Ball FighterZ is the Dragon Ball game we fans have needed for a long time. I loved the Xenoverse games, but nothing has got me this excited since Dragon Ball Z Budokai 3; the fast paced combat, the amazing roster, kickass soundtrack, and the breathtaking story mode with its gorgeous cutscenes, and its exciting original story concept. This game isn’t just for Dragon Ball fans, as its an incredible fighting game which anyone can enjoy, but Dragon Ball fans will roll around in the glorious fan service. So, Cha-La-Head-Cha-La down to your favourite retailer to pre-order your copy today!

The Good

  • Amazing battle system for veterans and beginners alike.
  • Gorgeous cut scenes that feel just like the anime.
  • Fan service pouring out the wazoo.

The Bad

  • Grinding Zeni is a little tedious.
  • Difficult spikes unfairly with some characters in the story.
  • Possibility of loot boxes.

Family Focus

Dragon Ball FighterZ is rated T for Teen by ESRB and PEGI 12. The game contains mild fantasy violence and the ocassional curse words.

This review is based on a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review.