Whether you’re a fan of fighting games or not, it’s been hard to ignore the launch of Dragon Ball FighterZ, with a beta weekend which attracted over 18,000 individual streams on Twitch. Even taking into account the beloved source material, it was overwhelmingly popular.
But it’s not such a surprise when you think about it. While the previous developer Dimps has always done admirable work on the Budokai and Xenoverse games in the past, it’s hard to imagine a more ideal developer for a Dragon Ball game than Arc System Works.
Arc, who largely cut their teeth on the Guilty Gear franchise and were responsible for the well-received Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butōden, have a knack for combining solid fighting game mechanics with an outstanding faux-2D visual technique which mimics anime perfectly.
And make no mistake: FighterZ is gorgeous. As a hardcore fan of the Japanese version of the franchise, the beta weekend was a (ki) blast of fun for me, let down only by some server issues and my own ineptitude at not finding the tutorial mode until near the end of the beta.
I haven’t had a chance to check out the final release of the game just yet, but from what I’m hearing in the fighting game community, FighterZ seems to be the best of both worlds, niggling lobby issues aside. On the one hand, it’s a legit, technical fighter that compares favourably to FGC legends like Marvel vs. Capcom 2. On the other, it’s appropriately flashy, accessible and full of loving references to the source material, pleasing fans of Dragon Ball whether they grew up with the manga or the anime. I can’t wait for the Anime Song Pack DLC and to listen to The Fearsome Ginyu Tokusentai or Solid State Scouter in game!