Wednesday, October 3

Review: Dragon Ball FighterZ [Nintendo Switch eShop]

There’s something remarkable about modern gaming for me, where every once in awhile I’ll take a long look at the visuals in front of me and realize that I’m actively playing a game, these aren’t just cinematics. While I normally think of these sorts of things while playing 3D-rendered games of various kinds like Breath of the Wild or many others, nothing for me has ever made the impression on me that DragonBall FighterZ has as I try to process the fact that I’m actively playing a bonkers anime. That it all works without any significant performance issues on a system I can pack up and take with me just adds another layer of sweetness to the picture.

Let me say very clearly that I’ve never been a Dragon Ball Z fan, so I won’t be able to comment on any of the nuance for the characters themselves. That said, everything I can see and hear in the game looks and feels polished so I’d be astonished if it weren’t very near spot on. The voice acting all sounds good but by far it is the crazy-ass visuals that steal the show. While Mortal Kombat’s Fatalities have their certain flair some of the absolutely over-the-top attacks in FighterZ blow them away in terms of presentation and excitement.

Since we’ve had a string of pretty casual-friendly fighters the next most critical area of concern would be in the area of controls and how the fighting system itself works. Though it is by far more complex than the likes of some recent titles the good news is that though the fighters have their own individual feels the core movements are identical and very friendly to working up some base combos without too much effort. The 3 vs 3 style of battles will allow you to pair up a couple different styles if you’re looking for versatility, though if you prefer to stick to a formula you can certainly go with a more similar roster. People who invest more time into mastery will likely find that there’s plenty of technique to work on as well as I’ve seen some pretty impressive juggle combos get rolling from people with a bit more experience.

Aside from the standard local multiplayer there’s a pretty massive Story mode you can work through, which feels appropriately strange and will have you controlling a variety of fighters in a number of different groupings so you can develop some core competency as you move through. The fact that you’ll need to pay an additional cost to unlock all 30 fighters is a bit of an annoyance but the core roster of 24 is certainly generous and offers a load of variety. Online support is included and though it’s a bit intimidating determining which mode you’ll want to try out, once you find a match on a general level performance seemed to be smooth in the handful of matches I got into with some seriously tough competitors.

Overall, if you’re a Dragon Ball fan I can’t imagine you’ve not already bought FighterZ as it absolutely looks like the anime through and through and offers a ton of content and fan service. Fighting fans who’ve been on the fence through a few of the recent releases could opt for another choice like Blade Strangers, but I’d say the more experienced you are with fighting games the more likely FighterZ will be the one that satisfies that genre itch the best. Though it’s not flawless in its execution it’s simply on another level and is the best fighting game I’ve played on the system.

Score: 9

  • Absolutely jaw-dropping visuals
  • Sports a pretty complex and yet friendly move and combo system
  • Online play performs well

  • An added cost to unlock the full roster is a bit annoying
  • The online lobby is a bit intimidating at first