PAX West 2017: Dragon Ball FighterZ

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

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Dragon Ball FighterZ 5

Unfortunately I was unable to get a media appointment for Dragon Ball FighterZ. However, having played the game at every opportunity during my downtime, I feel like I’ve got enough time with it to at least put down my first impressions of it from PAX.

Dragon Ball FighterZ is a combination of mechanics from different fighting games; the homing dash resembles that found in Arcana Heart, the teammate-switching works similarly to the Marvel vs. Capcom games, the graphical style is generally the same as the Guilty Gear Xrd subseries, and the general flow of combat is similar to other Arc System Works fighters in general. That being said, the Dragon Rush that replaces throws is entirely new; visually it’s similar to Dust attacks from the Guilty Gear series, but they are unblockable, can be teched like a throw with any attack, and can be used as part or the end of a combo. The game is generally pretty simple; each character has two different auto-combos bound to the light and medium attack buttons, and the special inputs are simple and generally universal for every character.

Dragon Ball FighterZ 1

That being said, the developers seem to have put a clear effort into making the characters diverse, especially by the standards of other Dragon Ball games. Each character has their own distinct role in a team and situations where they excel, while not having the lack of accessibility and totally unique mechanics like in BlazBlue or Guilty Gear. It’s also common knowledge that this game looks fantastic. It uses the same graphical style as the Guilty Gear Xrd games, which looks like anime while still allowing for flashy, cinematic camera angles during introductions and super moves. Some of the level 3 supers in particular look fantastic, with camera angles panning around the characters and screen-filling ki blasts.

Dragon Ball FighterZ 2

Dragon Ball FighterZ attempts to widen the effective audience by being accessible to Dragon Ball fans who don’t play fighting games, while also being deep enough to appeal to veteran fighting game fans. This is shown well by the auto-combo system; while making the game easier to learn for inexperienced players, they are still viable for more serious players, able to function as the launching point for a longer, more damaging combos. As someone with some experience with Arc System Works games (my main poison being BlazBlue Centralfiction) I was able to pick the game up easily, only the character-switching and assist mechanics throwing me off. There’s still a lot of depth to it beyond the surface mechanics, and a lot of things that I will be able to understand better once I’ve had more sustained time with the game.

Dragon Ball FighterZ 3

Dragon Ball FighterZ is incredibly fun and exciting to both watch and play, and I loved the sadly brief times I was able to spend with it. There’s a lot of depth I still haven’t had the chance to explore yet, but it’s still enjoyable at a basic level. I’m sure that I’ll be playing lots more of this game when it releases in early 2018.

About Chris Melchin

Chris is a computer science student who has been gaming ever since he knew what to do with a Super Nintendo controller. Since then, he's owned every Nintendo console to be released. His favourite games include Xenoblade Chronicles, Persona 4 Golden, and Little Busters. He started watching anime in high school, and his favourite series is Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. He also writes Vocaloid music for his personal YouTube channel, and has a (slight) obsession with Megurine Luka.




  • Mr0303

    Very hyped for the game. While I really enjoyed the 3D DB titles due to the amount of characters most of them play pretty much the same. FighterZ (still the dumb name) will give the characters unique roles with gameplay. I can’t wait to get my hands on the game.

  • Panpopo

    Played with a friend at PAX. This game has tons of personality, is easy to pick up and play and is a lot of fun. Hope people enjoy it too when it is released.

  • Josh S.

    Though I never got into the DB series, I like the art and might pick this up.