E3 Hands-On: Dragonball Fighter Z Impresses

The gamers Christmas AKA E3 has come to a close. Plenty of highly desirable titles made their presence known during the E3 stretch. Some were expected while others came from the left field altogether. Microsoft’s press conference created some waves with titles like Anthem, Crackdown 3 and Shadows of War. However, no one anticipated the trailer for Bandai Namco’s Dragonball Fighter Z, which caused quite the stir and for good reason.

Releasing early 2018 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, DBFZ  will include multiple VO options including JP and EN. The game will run at 1080p with 60fps across all platforms as well.

Playing off the original title, DBFZ features 3v3 fights similar to the Marvel vs Capcom series. Because of the game’s visuals, people quickly took notice of how closely this game resembles the DBZ anime. Those fluid animations using 3D models gives DBFZ plenty of eye candy. DBFZ features all kinds of flashy attacks and extreme colors found throughout the anime. Plus, the icing on this cake would be that Arc System is the developer behind this fighter powerhouse.

Frieza and Goku Clash


Arc System has plenty of experience crafting 2D fighters such as the Guilty Gear and Blazblue series, so there is little cause for concern. Indeed, this title is definitely in the hands of skilled developers. Guilty Gear and Blazblue games normally include a decent roster for players to sift through. As of right now, the current roster for DBFZ holds only six fighters with more on the way.

On the hero side, we have main protagonist Goku, his son Gohan, and enemy-turned-ally Vegeta. Looking towards the villains, galactic tyrant Frieza, perfect android Cell, and carefree Majin Buu will also join the fray. Again, this is not the full roster as more fighters will trickle out closer to launch. *Update* Trunks is now a part of the roster.

Can I be a Z-Warrior now?

I was able to get hands-on time with this game and it did not disappoint. Fights are wild and frenzied with explosions and flashes occurring every few seconds. During my first demo, I had no clue as to what was happening. Slowly, I started to grasp what commands buttons were mapped to and how to pull off certain combos. It goes without saying that training will be mandatory. These 3v3 clashes aren’t just for show either; strategic team builds is important to counterbalance opponents.

The art mirrors the anime well


For example, Frieza mostly utilizes long ranged attacks to harass opponents, while Cell is a well round fighter who can engage in close-quarters and ranged combat. Most importantly, it’s best to find a fighter who fit whatever fight style works best. For myself, I enjoyed picking Vegeta, Goku, and Cell.

During my demo, I was able to pull off a few core mechanics needed to understand what this game had to offer. Performing Z-Assists, which is the act of calling in a teammate to provide cover or additional damage, was easy enough to grasp. Whenever one of my fighters lost too much health, swapping out via the Z-Change method allowed another fighter to take over. For those familiar with any Marvel vs Capcom title, this process is quite easy to grasp. And what I liked the most besides how much the visuals pull me in is the resemblance of fights in the game compared to the original battles in the anime.

Any action done in a DBZ fight seems like it can occur in DBFZ. Giving opponents a rapid-fire combo on the ground before bouncing them off the wall and into an uppercut can lead into insane aerial combos. Aerial combos are the bread and butter in DBFZ simply because that’s how combos extend for additional damage. Put simply, the fights are a beauty to watch as well as partake in.

Gohan ready for battle

It’s not about style but skill

Unfortunately, when it comes to transformations, certain properties could not make the cut. Basically, some transformations can not happen without first pulling off specific moves. Even when a transformation is achieved, its durability is limited.

On top of that, transformations are strictly cosmetic, which means no buff occurs during the transformation period. Playing as Golden Frieza does not automatically equal a win against Super Saiyan Gohan. While this does allow skill to prevail over power levels, it would have been nice to see a small boost of power, speed, or health during this time.

And though it’s painful to have to wait until early 2018 to get our hands on DBFZ, a beta will arrive this summer. A closed beta to be exact and sadly, no date on when said beta was told at E3. We’ll just have to sit tight and wait for further information towards that end.

Over the entire course of E3, awards were slowly building up at the demo cabinet; we were just one of many who awarded DBFZ a best of E3 award. Dragonball Fighter Z launches on PS4, XB1, and PC in early 2018, and it couldn’t come any sooner.

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