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February 2019

Dragon Ball FighterZ

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Action
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
Developer: Arc System Works
Release Date: Jan. 26, 2018


PS4/XOne/PC Multiplayer Preview - 'Dragon Ball FighterZ'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on Sept. 25, 2017 @ 12:30 a.m. PDT

Dragon Ball FighterZ is a dream collaboration and takes the anime-based fighting games in a bold new direction by combining classic 2D fighting game dynamics with the Dragon Ball universe.

Pre-order Dragon Ball FighterZ

Dragon Ball FighterZ was easily one of the surprise hits of E3 2017. Developed by Arc System Works, creators of Guilty Gear and Persona Arena, it's easily one of the most visually striking fighting games. Using the same 3D-modeled-to-look-2D effect as the latest Guilty Gear game, it's the closest you'll get to a playable Dragon Ball anime. The great visuals wouldn't stand up without good gameplay, and fortunately, our latest hands-on time with Dragon Ball FighterZ shows a lot of promise in that area, too.

Not too much has changed in the core 3v3 gameplay since our demo in June. The largest change is the addition of a number of new characters that are popular Dragon Ball favorites. We participated in a multiplayer beta that allowed players to take on opponents via online play. We created a team and then joined a multiplayer lobby, where we'd be matched up against other players.

Eternal underdog Krillin is the first of the new characters we tried. He's an all-around fighter who relies on being supporting and tricky. He has the usual mix of beams and melee attacks in addition to his trademark Destructo Disc skill, which makes him a solid combatant at any distance. He's the smallest character in the game thus far, which means he's lacking in range on his punches and kicks, but he's also harder to hit. Perhaps the coolest skill in his arsenal is his ability to toss out random items, including precious healing Senzu Beans.

Android 18 is my favorite of the new fighters. She's a mix of two characters: Android 18 and her brother, Android 17. Android 18 is a standard fighter with a variety of ranged and melee attacks. What makes her stand out is that she can summon her brother for various attacks, so she can attack or defend from unusual angles. My favorite use is to summon him to defend against enemy assist attacks. Android 17 and 18 are an interesting pair, since they fight in tandem despite being a single character.

Also joining the fight is Android 16, who fills the big, beefy grappler role. He depends on being up close and in your face in order to be most effective. He has some ranged attacks, but he's best when he can get his hands on his foe. He seems the hardest of the lot to play so far due to the game's reliance on ranged moves and fast movement. His strongest move is a self-destruct, which can obliterate any enemy but leaves him with only a sliver of health afterward.

Fan favorite Piccolo is probably the most technical character. He has the ability to stretch his limbs to attack from surprisingly far distances, and a variety of his beam attacks can hit from unexpected angles or do a ton of damage. From my experience, it seems like Piccolo is built around making sure the opponent has no way of knowing which way your attacks are going to come from.

The last of the new characters in the beta is Trunks, the swordsman from the future. Trunks is a character who's built around speed and rushing down your opponent. He has a lot of ways to close in on the enemy and excels when he's in range to chop them up with his swords and grabs. His overall damage isn't the highest in the game, but he makes up for it with his ability to keep chaining together attacks and forcing the opponent to remain on the defensive or risk getting chopped to pieces.

This subset of characters doesn't represent the entire playable cast of the game to date. Thus far, we know that there will be at least four more playable characters: Super Saiyan Blue Goku, Vegeta, and the Earthling duo of Teinshinhan and Yamcha. A new original character named Android 21 has been announced, but information is scarce about whether she's playable or just a story character.

The cast is shaping up nicely. Each character feels distinctive and accurate to the original show and manga. Most, if not all, of the character's moves are taken frame-for-frame from either a comic panel or an anime scene. Each style fits the character's personality, and fans will welcome the effort put into capturing the feel of Dragon Ball.

The multiplayer beta gave more of a sense of how Dragon Ball FighterZ will play. We can now see that it isn't just Goku and Vegeta getting the star treatment. Every character is being given the same care, regardless of whether they're a hero, villain or supporting character. There's still a while to go before Dragon Ball FighterZ is finished, but it's shaping up to be one of the best Dragon Ball games ever made. The game is expected to ship in February 2018.

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