Dragon Ball FighterZ (Review) Nintendo Switch – Best Fighter on Switch?

Dragon Ball FighterZ (Review) Nintendo Switch – Best Fighter on Switch?
Review Score:

It was just a matter of time before Nintendo Switch gamers received their own version of Dragon Ball FighterZ, an incredible 2.5 D versus fighter that was developed by Arc System Works and published by Namco-Bandai. Some time ago, Switch users also received their own release of Xenoverse 2, which is a open-world 3D brawler that managed to bring the content of the major consoles to Nintendo’s handheld.

The Nintendo Switch version of Dragon Ball FighterZ is no different. Like its console counterparts, it contains all the fighters, backgrounds and music that made it an instant classic on launch. Aside from the graphics (which did see a slight reduction in resolution), the game plays just as good as its console system counterparts. 

Dragon Ball FighterZ is played online via an interactive lobby, so a subscription to Nintendo’s online service is required to play. After designing a chibi-size DBZ avatar, the player can move around the lobby and visit numerous NPCs to participate in various game modes. At the lobby’s gates – where the player first enters – is an Information Reception NPC who provides all the latest news on Dragon Ball FighterZ. Once the player enters the lobby, there are a plethora of choices available to them. For example: the Story Reception NPC is where the player can participate in the original Dragon Ball FighterZ storyline. The premise of Story Mode is to move around the provided map; defeat enemies; help any available allies; and advance the story.

If the player would rather skip Story Mode and play online, they can visit the World Match Reception NPC to participate in either Casual or Ranked matches via Nintendo’s online network. There is also a Rankings Reception NPC where the player can view the ranking of top-tier competitors. If the player manages to become a top ranking fighter, their rank will appear in one of the two following lists: Overall BP Rankings and Monthly Win Rankings. The Overall BP rankings are determined by the Battle Points the player earns from participating in online Ranked Matches. The Monthly Win Rankings system, on the other hand, determines the player’s rank by calculating the number of victories won during a single month. The only way to maintain this rank is to compete online consistently; month after month. Otherwise, the player will lose both their rank and any ‘rewards’ they’ve earned from prior battles.

The Replay Reception NPC is where the player can view a replay channel that contains some of the best fights on Nintendo’s Network. The player is encouraged to view these replays to help them learn more about the game, and maybe even learn a thing or two about the competition.

The player must create a team consisting of three fighters before playing online. This is achieved by visiting the World Match NPC, highlighting ‘Edit/Select Team’ from the World Match menu, and then pressing X button. In the Edit Team menu, the player can choose between five different ‘team’ slots (which contain default teams generated by the game) to edit. From there, the player can select from a beefy roster comprised of twenty-three fighters, which include fan favorites such as Goku, Frieza, Trunks and Vegeta, to name just a few.

Like its console counterparts, the Switch version of DBFZ has some of the best fighting ever seen in a modern, 2.5D competitive fighter. Each match begins with a heart-pumping, in-game cinema that shows the first two fighters flying in and clashing arms, kicking up large trails of dust. These Dramatic Intros (as they’re called) do a great job of connecting each fight, as they integrate seamlessly into the action. Like Marvel vs Capcom, the player and their opponent can attack each other at breakneck speeds. The combo system accommodates novices and veterans alike, where rapidly tapping an attack button (i.e. Weak Punch, Strong Punch, Weak Kick and Strong Kick) will produce a series of combos. There are plenty of manual combos to learn as well.

In addition, the player can juggle their opponent by holding down on the Left Analog Stick and then pressing one of the fierce attack buttons. This provides a brief window of opportunity to land a few additional blows, and then end with a finisher for maximum damage. Veteran players can easily combo into a juggle; land a couple of hard blows; and then end with a Dramatic Finish (which is a special cinematic pulled straight from the anime).

DBFZ uses a team mechanic similar to Marvel vs Capcom and the King of Fighters. For example: When a fighter is injured or close to death, the player can press the Right Shoulder button to swap characters. The injured fighter will heal while not in use. Moreover, it is possible to have teammates ‘assist’ during battle by just tapping (and not holding) the same button. This gives the player an opportunity to inflict twice the amount of damage, but only if they can catch their opponent off guard. If this attack is blocked, the player (and any team members assisting) will sustain a tremendous amount of damage.

Despite some of the known issues that affect Nintendo’s Online network, DBFZ still provides a solid experience across the board, which makes competing online enjoyable. During the course of this review, twenty online matches were played with only two being hampered by input lag. While input lag is frustrating, both matches were still playable. But with issues aside, DBFZ has a large, active community that is always looking for competition. This guarantees shorter wait times between matches. In most cases, it takes less than 30 seconds to find a competitor.

The graphics did receive a noticeable downgrade when ported to Switch, but they’re not terrible by any stretch of the imagination. In portable mode, DBFZ runs at a solid 50fps in 720p. The frame rate drops slightly during cinemas, sometimes dipping to 40fps. This doesn’t affect the game’s overall performance or the gameplay itself. When docked, the game looks stunning. The slightly lower 900p resolution is noticeable, but again – this is only a minor complaint. The colors are vibrant and the in-game animation is smooth.

Dragon Ball FighterZ is the ultimate 2D fighting game for Nintendo Switch. It provides a solid fighting engine; a great story; and plenty of features to keep gamers of all ages busy. Plus, the game is a testament to Arc System Work’s ability to take a franchise like Dragon Ball Z, and turn it into a ‘balls to the wall’ 2D fighter that is worthy of the attention it receives. As far as 2D fighters are concerned, Dragon Ball FighterZ is currently the best fighter on Switch, sans Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It’s definitely a great time to be a Nintendo Switch gamer.

Mike Pittaro
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Arc System Works
Publisher: Bandai-Namco
ESRB: T (Teen)
Price: $59.99

Dragonball FighterZ Official Website:
https://www.bandainamcoent.com/games/dragon-ball-fighterz

Review Score
Graphics
The graphics did receive a noticeable downgrade when ported to Switch, but they’re not terrible by any stretch of the imagination.
Sound
The voice acting and sound effects enhance the experience.
Gameplay
Quite simply, the best gameplay of any 2.5D fighter.
Overall
Dragon Ball FighterZ is currently the best fighter on Switch, sans Super Smash Bros Ultimate.
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