Dragon Ball FighterZ – Beta Preview
PS4, Xbox One, PC
The anime fighting genre is a curious beast, trying to meet fan expectations regarding power levels, special attacks and story arcs whilst also providing a balanced play experience. Some, like One Piece: Burning Blood forego a certain amount of balance to keep canon intact while others, like Dragon Ball FighterZ envision a scenario where Yamcha, often a target for derision due to his hopelessness compared to the rest of the Z warriors can defeat Cell and SSGSS Goku while barely breaking a sweat.
Before it apparently crashed, burned (and was extended) I managed to sink a few hours into the Beta of Dragon Ball FighterZ, which gave access to a handful of the online modes as well as a brief series of training missions. Honing my skills in the latter, I proceeded to the online area with an unearned sense of confidence and was soundly thrashed multiple times. While I clearly have no place talking about the mechanics in any depth, despite retiring very much defeated Dragon Ball FighterZ was still enjoyable to play with easy to learn controls that unfold with experience to provide a wider range of options with which to destroy the untalented like myself.
Visually, the game hews incredibly close to the character designs of Akira Toriyama which are rendered beautifully. Animations are smooth and unique attacks are instantly recognisable making for colourful, frenzied but fluid matches. As with most licensed fighting games, it will be fans of Dragon Ball itself that get the most enjoyment out of this title, with cutscene callbacks to particular parts of the ongoing story a new addition that is sure to please.
Despite some later connectivity issues, I had a good time with what I did get to play of Dragon Ball FighterZ. My only hope is that the full version features a more robust training mode as the AI in the Beta version wasn’t particularly challenging and made for a rude awakening once I went up against other players.
Dragon Ball FighterZ is published by Bandai Namco and will be available on the 26th of January for PS4, Xbox One and PC.