There’s no shortage of video games in existence that bear the license of Dragon Ball Z, and with the sustained popularity of that franchise, the series will continue to lend itself to new games. The newest Dragon Ball Z title to announce is a tournament fighter called Dragon Ball FighterZ. The source material does lend itself nicely to the fighting game format and while it would be easy and likely profitable to churn a bare bones fighter and use the Dragon Ball Z license to ensure commercial success, Dragon Ball FighterZ looks as though great care went into respecting the source material as well as creating a quality fighting game. In fact I dare say this title looks substantially better than another high profile 2D fighter shown at E3, one from a franchise in which I happen to enjoy the earlier entries, no less.
Upon initially viewing this title in action it is difficult not to be impressed with the visual presentation. If the animation and art quality of Dragon Ball FighterZ seem familiar it is because it is being developed by Arc System Works who are behind the Guilty Gear and BlazBlue titles, and top tier when it comes to 2D anime fighting visuals. Using what is being called Extreme Animation, Dragon Ball FighterZ runs at 1080P 60 FPS and can also support higher resolution on the PlayStation Pro and Xbox One X. The graphics are a blend of a 2D plane using 3D models with character animation movements having 24 frames per second. The end result is the characters look like three dimensional versions of their anime counterparts moving over video game backgrounds.
The gameplay is a blend of familiar features found in other titles. At its most basic level Dragon Ball FighterZ uses the same three on three format found in Marvel vs. Capcom games starting with its second entry. The player controls one character and has two other characters that they can tag team or call on to provide assistance in battle with various Z commands. The Z Assist is when one of the team briefly pops on screen to provide an attack for assistance. The Z Change is when the current character tags out and one of the other teammates enters the fight and is now controlled by the player, and the Ultimate Z Change is like the regular Z Change but with a power move thrown in. So basically anyone who has played Marvel vs. Capcom 2 or 3 will get the hang of this very quickly.
Six playable characters have been announced which are Goku, Gohan, Vegeta, Cell, Frieza, and Majin Buu. Each character has their own unique fighting style with some characters being more adept at close range while others would be wise to keep their distance. Like previous Dragon Ball Z games, the Ki Charge system will return for players that are able to retreat from harm’s way momentarily. Since this is a Dragon Ball Z game, combos are not limited to the ground. The Aerial Combo allows players to continue laying the smack down on their opponent as both parties are elevated off the ground, recreating the airborne bouts of fisticuffs fans of the anime have grown to expect from the series.
Dragon Ball FighterZ has no definite release date outside of 2018 when it will be available for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. A closed beta is scheduled for 2017, though both the platform and exact dates remain to be determined. Dragon Ball FighterZ supports English and Japanese voice overs and several other languages for subtitles. There is no confirmation yet on whether or not the final battle will be a 18 round fight between Goku and Frieza with a five minute time limit.