Dragon Ball FighterZ has the potential to steal MvC’s thunder
Dragon Ball FighterZ is quite possibly one of the most infuriating fighters I’ve played, not because its controls are bad or the mechanics are weak, but because I’m so bloody bad at it. My first few matches lasted mere seconds, and each of them had me getting my ass kicked. I tried my hardest to slip in a cheeky combo, but it was no use. I was dominated, chewed up, spat out, beaten down, destroyed; whatever you want to call it, I was embarrassed. I hated it.
I hated the way it gave me nothing for the way I’d just been decimated, and I was somehow supposed to learn from the flogging I’d received. Thing is, when you do begin to get it, and the combos start to sink in, it can be one hell of a thrill. The first match I won had me swearing forcefully at the screen – at my opponent, as if it was all his fault that everything leading up to that victory was down to him. This temporary high was subsequently drowned out by more losses, and once again, I began to hate it again.
When I put the controller down after the beta, I felt like I needed a good lie down, or a few hits of whisky – something to calm my nerves because holy hell, that was punishing – Dragon Ball FighterZ is a joyride sat on a razorblade doused in fire. It’s a fighter that requires only the best in the world, and unless you’re willing to learn every nuance in its combat system, you may very well give up fast.
Whilst it has your typical fighter tropes, it elevates it all and thrusts you into a button mashing heart attack, fusing blistering combos with speed and madness, swallowed up in a miasma of colour. It’s a bold and beautiful game, and the style nails the DBZ aesthetic, all down to the pre-battle animations. It’s a shame it all happens so fast because of the fantastic detail put into each battle and location, but there is a mode where you can watch plenty of fighting without the stress of participating. Watching these fights unfold are stunning; it is something ArcSoft do very well, as previous games like Guilty Gear Xrd can attest to..
The main hub in the closed beta was rather baron, letting you wander around, but other than a couple of avenues there was little else to do. You could go and find an opponent to fight in Arena Match, or watch previous battles from the closed beta in Replay Mode. Outside of these, you were able to change the character you wander around as in the hub. You’ll start off as Goku, but this can be altered, as can the team you get to fight as in battle.
In Arena Match, you’ll wait patiently for an opponent to get paired with you, and once one’s been found, it’s all systems go. As mentioned, you’ll have a team of fighters made up of three characters from canon, such as Vegeta, Piccolo, and Android 18, and after a short anime cut scene, the battle will commence.
You’ve got a light, medium, and heavy attack, as well as a special, and these will help shape your offence, as well as Super moves to provide devastating results, and using Ki and Sparkling Blasts will also cause more damage if used correctly. You’ve got quite a range of moves, regardless of who you choose, and you’re also free to switch between characters mid battle.
Managing to fire off a succession of combos will leave your opponent helpless, and terribly frustrated (like pretty much every battle I had!), but learning the flow of each one takes time, and if you don’t get the chance to do so against online opponents, it’ll start to get on your nerves. When the servers were playing up, you could try out against a CPU opponent, so fighting wasn’t as intense and you were given a chance to sharpen your skills.
There are people playing Dragon Ball FighterZ that have already mastered many of the fighters, and it’s daunting for a new fighter. The worst fight I had came at the hands of Cell; he destroyed each of my three fighters with his power, using combos I’d not even seen before, even when I had played with him previously. There’s no training mode so far, but hopefully when the game gets to open beta there’ll be more support for those who don’t tend to learn on the fly.
As hard and fast as it was, I loved it. Dragon Ball FighterZ is a great fighter, not just for fans of the anime. Its controls are tight, and the layered combat gives you plenty of options in battle. I’m looking forward to seeing more of this in the future, and I’m equally excited to learn the mechanics more so that next time, I’m ready for the oncoming storm.