Saving the Earth as the legendary Z Warriors
The Dragon Ball universe has been fan favorite since the 90s, starring the Z warriors and their epic journey to fend off evil forces threatening Earth time and time again. There have been literally dozens of video game adaptions depicting the heroic force of fighters, but not since the early millennium has the series been given the justice it so graciously deserves. Arc System Works is looking to change that with their upcoming 2D brawler, Dragon Ball FighterZ.
The fighting genre has been run and ruled by some of the same iconic titles since the birth of the brawling category. Mortal Kombats, Tekkens and Street Fighters still pump out some of the best fighters to date, leaving little room for new entries to gather the ground in the heated competition. Injustice 2 has done superbly, bringing the superhero universe of DC Comics into the zealous world of brawlers, but what about the anime titan Dragon Ball Z and their heroic adventures? It’s been revamped, replayed and redone in the gaming world for well over a decade now, and it seems to always have the same effect on long-time fans of the series: it never quite feels like a DBZ game.
A long-running series
Since the late 80s the Dragon Ball franchise has been appearing on gaming consoles around the world, most notably in its birth region of Japan. Early on the flock of Dragon Ball titles stayed east, occasionally releasing in specific regions of Europe, it wasn’t until the Playstation era began that the rest of the world began to see the popular manga in video game form. Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout released a localized version for North American residents, and with it ushered in a new fighter that brought all of the glitz, glam and action that all of the other popular fighters brought to the table as well.
The 2D fighting platform of the early days gave fans a sincere look of anime stylized brawling and exotic power ups/abilities. Though not aired in NA at the time, Final Bout brought a slew of GT characters to the table, gifting many young fans a look at what was coming for the future of the Dragon Ball series. The game allowed characters to become their favorite Z Warrior – or villain – and combine a series of fighting combos with intense special moves straight out of the anime, like Goku’s coveted Kamehameha blast. Not since the late 90s has the world seen such graciously crafted gaming in the Dragon Ball universe, though we crave for it more than ever.
Now, this isn’t to say the Budokai and Xenoverse series haven’t seen their fair share of success over the past decade and a half. In 2002, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai graced the world with a much-needed Dragon Ball title that brought a new, modern form of fighting to the genre. Not only did the die-hard fans receive their highly anticipated DBZ game, but developers Dimps and Bandai/Infogrames catered to the new wave of brawlers, taking advantage of the 3D fighting arena.
From then on we’ve seen countless releases starring the powerful warriors from the Dragon Ball universe done in 3D art style and none seem to have really outdone themselves form the last. Time and time again the same Dragon Ball stories are told in saturated formulas, while the fighting giants like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter have graciously turned back to the simple to learn, but a lifetime to master 2D fighting field of the retro days. Seeing this gaping hole in the series of Dragon Ball fighters, developers, Arc System Works, have decided to bring their popular and addictive 2D gameplay mechanics of Guilty Gear and Blaz Blue, to the manga giant of Dragon Ball Z.
A tag-team style of combat
Similar to the hit crossover fighting series, Marvel vs. Capcom, in Dragon Ball FighterZ players will control a team of 3 characters to battle with. Combining player swapping, team assists and combos at any moment in battle, players will aim to defeat all three characters in a team to become victorious. This tag team approach to combat is sure to provide players with plenty of ki blast shooting, quick combo action as some of the best fighters the series has to offer.
FighterZ centers around the revived Android 16 and his army of super androids focused on defeating the mighty Z Warriors. While playing through the main story campaign, players will guide the story through three different perspective arcs: Super Warriors Arc, Super Villains Arc and the Android Arc. This will give players the chance to run through characters from all sides of the spectrum, showing unique point of views across the foreboding story.
Awesome special skills and abilities
Pitting three players on three gives a good amount of length to the matches. All three characters must be defeated in order to win a round, and players swiftly interchange their characters based on the situation at hand. Quick combo attacks chaining the moves of each character together creates an awesome and diverse set of skills to unleash on your opponents. Aerial attacks are a huge focus in FighterZ, driving your opponent skyward, setting off combos back and forth much like the anime accomplished so frequently.
Through the Assist and Special abilities in FighterZ, the combo action fighting comes equipped with a lot of extras, most familiar to other Arc System Works titles. Using the assist button, players will call upon one of their allies to aid them in a unique skill. Both fighters are able to perform this skill, – at the same time, if need be – once the cool down meter has completed its refill. Every character only has one Assist move that differs from one character to the next.
The special meter in FighterZ sits at the lower left hand side of the screen, and this unique ability deals a massive amount of damage when all seven meters are filled. Standard fighting techniques will slowly raise the bar, but the power-up stance (we all know the famous DBZ power-up stance) will increase the special meter. While leaving you vulnerable to your opponents attacks, your allies (if any are still alive) can perform assist moves to fend off some of the heat. Performing these Ultimate Attacks once the special meter is filled with a specific number of bars, the character deals a massive amount of damage in an ultra flashy animations.
The fighting roster
The character roster is appearing to be stacked and full of the best warriors the series has seen. So far, the 20 characters that have been announced prior to FighterZ launch date are:
- Super Saiyan Goku
- Super Saiyan Vegeta
- Super Saiyan Teen Gohan
- Super Saiyan Future Trunks
- Frieza – Final Form
- Cell – Perfect Form
- Majin Buu
- Android 16
- Android 18
- SSGSS Goku
- SSGSS Vegeta
- Captain Ginyu
- Adult Gohan
- Kid Buu
With this line up and more to come, Dragon Ball FighterZ looks like the real deal of Dragon Ball brawlers. All characters come with specials, unique moves and combos, poses and assist skills. The characters stay in the form you select them as, so as far as we can see there is no standard form of Goku, Vegeta, Gohan, Trunks or other phase shifting characters like Frieza or Buu. While this might come as a downer to many who look forward to powering up from Goku to Super Saiyan Goku mid-match, there are still plenty of special abilities that show off your warrior in screaming, power-up fashion.
Coming at the beginning of the year, Dragon Ball FighterZ is looking like a superb addition to the popular anime fighting franchise. While many Dragon Ball games have been released for almost three decades, Arc System Works is on the road to deliver what could one of the best ones yet.
Find Dragon Ball FighterZ early next year, on January 26th worldwide, a week later on February 1st in japan, on the Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC.
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