Dragon Ball FighterZ (Review) PC – Game of the Month

Dragon Ball FighterZ (Review) PC – Game of the Month
Review Score:

Dragon Ball Z fans have waited a very long time for a proper, 2D fighter to come along and do the franchise justice. The Xenoverse series did a great job of bringing free-roaming, 3D based combat to home consoles, but it still wasn’t the competitive fighter some people wanted. Dragon Ball FighterZ by Arc System Works is a 2.5D fighter that borrows the tag team game mechanics from the Marvel vs Capcom series. The only difference here is that DBFZ’s gameplay is ramped up, providing matches that are ten times faster than most fighting games.

The entire game is played online via an interactive lobby. Using a chibi-style 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 that provides all the latest details on Dragon Ball FighterZ. Once inside the lobby, the player has a lot of choices available to them.

For starters, the Story Reception NPC is where the player can participate in the original Dragon Ball FighterZ storyline. The object 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 compete online, they can visit the World Match Reception NPC to participate in either Casual or Ranked matches via the Steam 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.

As the name implies, the Replay Reception NPC is where the player can watch a replay channel that contains some of the best fights on the Steam 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 in the process.

The player must select a team consisting of three fighters before fighting online. There’s a ‘Team Edit’ function that can be accessed by speaking to the World Match NPC. This is accomplished by 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.

The fighting is some of the best 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.

The player can also 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).

When a fighter is close to death, the player can swap characters by pressing and holding the Left Shoulder button. The injured character will heal while not in use, much like the Marvel vs Capcom series. It’s also possible to have teammates ‘assist’ during battle by just tapping (and not holding) the same button. This allows the player to inflict large amounts of damage, as long as their opponent is caught off guard. If blocked, the player (and any team members assisting) will sustain a tremendous amount of damage.

As far as online matches are concerned, DBFZ provides a stable experience across the board, which makes competing online enjoyable. For example: during the course of twenty five online matches, only three were hampered by input lag. While frustrating, these matches were still playable. Moreover, DBFZ has a large, active community that is always looking for competition. This guarantees shorter wait times between matches. In most cases, it’s less than 30 seconds.

Dragon Ball FighterZ was reviewed on a PC equipped with an Intel Core I7-4785T Quad Core processor clocked at 3.0 Ghz; 8GB of Dual Channel DDR3L (clocked at 1600Mhz); and a Nividia Geforce GTX GPU with 2GB of DDR5. The game’s performance was incredibly smooth, regardless of how it was played (i.e. online or single-player). The in-game graphics were also set to ‘max’, which did little to affect the game’s overall performance. DBFZ was capable of pushing a steady 60FPS in 1080p, as well as 4K. Even when an online match lagged, the game never dipped below 50fps, which is surprising. But at the same time, it indicates that Arc System Works did a fantastic job on the game’s netcode.

Dragon Ball FighterZ is the ultimate 2D fighting game for PC. 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, this doesn’t happen very often.

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

Dragonball FighterZ Official Website:

Review Score
Mind-blowing 2D graphics that deliver gorgeous backgrounds and incredibly large, well animated sprites.
Ear-shattering explosions and ear-piercing screams abound.
The fighting is some of the best ever seen in a modern 2D Fighter.
Dragon Ball FighterZ is the ultimate 2D fighting game for PC.
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