Back in September 2017, Shelley Waltar of the Geeks Under Grace Podcast and I had the opportunity to attend PAX West 2017. We played so many great video games and talked to many developers, publishers, and PR contacts in what was a long, yet rewarding weekend for us and Geeks Under Grace. With press passes, we had access to the show floor an hour earlier than everyone else. With that time, we quickly made some connections and appointments, but one of the first games we played was Dragon Ball FighterZ. Since then, I have been waiting for release even more, and now it is upon us along with the beta going live in just under two weeks before its official release date on the 26th of January.
Yes, there was a major issue on the first day the beta went live. A large number of people were having trouble getting into the server and were greeted by network error messages. I ran into that same message myself, but eventually got in for a few matches that night; I logged off and attempted to return that same night only to be greeted with that message once again. Although I was able to get in on day two and most of the issues were largely solved, I did get dropped from the server on occasion. Still, my experience in battle was smooth despite that. I was able to finish the entire tutorial and get in plenty of matches online.
I learned so much after finishing the tutorial, because I resorted to button mashing on that first night I logged in. The phrase “easy to pick up, but tough to master” rings true here. The button layout and combos are simple enough for anyone to learn, but depth comes from switching characters and balancing Ki for stronger attacks. This is a game from Arc System Works, which means that all the parries and guard cancel mechanics are here too—but even those are simple enough to grasp the concept.
Dragon Ball FigherZ doesn’t directly rip off any fighting game in particular, its easy to see the influences and yet it stands on its own. Everything we love about Dragon Ball Z has been injected into this video game—especially in the mechanics. Blasts and Super attacks actually have their own buttons instead of requiring extensive combos, which makes it easy to pull off your favorite signature move. Vanishing attacks where the character appears behind their opponent comes straight out of the show along with the option to charge up your ki rather and building it up in battle.
I can usually hold my own in the newer Mortal Kombat and Injustice games, but I get wrecked in 2-D fighters 99% of the time. Right after recording the Quickscope video, I found myself actually winning some matches. 2-D fighting games are naturally fast paced, but in high levels of play, its hard to keep up with anything that is going on. Dragon Ball FighterZ has a flow of combat I can follow, and I feel that it is the most fast-paced fighting game in the genre at the moment. Whether I’m getting wrecked or holding my own, I get a sense of adrenaline that I have never felt while playing any other fighting game. This may be the one that I try to consistently take online when it comes out.
The visuals speak for themselves. Watching the battle intros and victories is uncanny because of how accurate they are compared to the show. When looking at a screenshot, you can tell its a video game, but looks like a scene right out of the show at the same time. Things get even more interesting when you see the game motion; there are multiple occasions where the visuals are brought to the forefront during battle—and that visual fidelity hardly ever gets lost if at all. The real visual treat are the destructive environments in which whole stages can be destroyed similar to what ends up happening to planet Namek or the Cell Games arena in the show. Getting screenshots of these stunning visuals was difficult during battle.
All in one evening I spent some quality time with the Dragon Ball FighterZ beta, largely due to the fact that I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get into a lobby just as easily the next day. The beta gave us a decent amount of characters to test the waters, and a decent variety of arenas to battle in. The beta will likely be over by the time anyone gets to read this, but I hope those who jumped in were able to enjoy it as much as I did. This preview and the Quickscope video above is only one half of my coverage on Dragon Ball FighterZ; expect one more Quickscope that will showcase the full game on the night of its release and a full written review sometime after.