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PSX SEA 17: Dragon Ball FighterZ Feels Good In The Casual Gamer’s Hands


While we will never can agree on how to pronounce the game’s name, almost everyone could agree that Dragon Ball FighterZ is really good. It’s a good looking game that heavily imitates the manga panels and animations from the anime, thanks to developers Arc System Works experience working on the Guilty Gear series- a bone-fide anime fighter. And after getting some time with the game on the show floor at PSX SEA 2017, as well as longer sessions behind closed doors, I can safely say that it also feels really good for a casual player to jump in and play.

The big problem with anime fighters is twofold- one is the appeal of anime. For most Western folks it’s a turn-off, but that isn’t much of an issue here in Southeast Asia. The other is the deeply confusing mechanics. A good breakdown of this can be seen in the first few seconds of this video by Core-A Gaming explaining the gimmick of one particular character in Persona 4 Ultimax, which was also developed by Arc Sys.

But Dragon Ball FighterZ won’t bombard you with gimmicks and one-off mechanics like that. For the six characters that were in this particular build that is. All the characters were pretty straightforward to play and there are many universal moves. Special moves like fireballs have a dedicated button. There’s a dedicated button that homes toward your opponent and if the hit connects, launches both of you into the air. Characters like Frieza can vanish- teleport to the other side of the screen for mix-ups (tricking the opponent to guard one way and then the other). You can do the trademark ki charge which charges your special meter by pressing two buttons. There’s also auto-combos for new players which outputs one bread-and-butter combo.

Pulling off special moves feel much more lenient- I could pull it off consistently even though I couldn’t in Capcom games like Street Fighter V. Both the demo stations on the show floor and in the behind closed doors sessions were using PS4 controllers- for casual players the game still feels good with just a pad.¬†Even just randomly button mashing feels good.

If you’ve played any other Arc Sys fighters, you will feel right at home after a few matches.

I noticed that up close, the graphics can get a bit pixelated. Otherwise, it looks fantastic in motion, locking in 60 fps except for cinematic moments. The stages are dynamic as well, pieces of the floor tiles in the tournament stage will crumple as the matches go on. Some round-ending moves will even change the environment outright. I didn’t get see a super that destroyed the Planet Namek stage, but there were similar changes to the other stage as well.

If you haven’t played a 3V3 fighting game like the Marvel VS Capcom series, character switching and pulling off assists might take a while to figure out, but it’s not something out of the ordinary. It’s a tap to call an assist and a hold to switch.

This build, based on the one showed in E3 last few months, left me very optimistic about the game. Though one thing I worry right now is how would they make each character stand out on their own mechanics-wise. I would actually like to see a few gimmick characters rather having too much characters of the same archetype. That said, Arc System Works have built a solid foundation for a really good fighting game as well as a really good Dragon Ball game for fans of the manga and anime series. Hopefully, Dragon Ball FighterZ will be the game that brings more casual players into fighting games.

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