If all goes to plan for Bandai Namco and Arc System Works, Dragon Ball FighterZ is going to be one of the leading fighting games of 2018, which is fantastic news for a license that has had consistent success but never broken out to a broad audience.
The Budokai and Xenoverse series have their fans, many of whom are there for the Dragon Ball aesthetic, but in FighterZ there’s a real opportunity to bring in newcomers and die-hard fighting game pros that aren’t necessarily hooked by the story and characters alone. With the game releasing later this week, Bandai Namco released a bombastic launch trailer that hits on the explosive action and pumping heavy metal that makes the game a faithful adaptation of the source material and a frenetic and fun fighting game.
Dragon Ball FighterZ is a 3-on-3 fighting game replete with a full singleplayer story campaign that introduces a new villain: Android 21.
“Let’s hurry up and get this started! Get ready to experience the next level of fighting games on January 26. Join Goku, Piccolo, Vegeta and the rest of the squad as they take on a mysterious new foe, Android 21. DRAGON BALL FighterZ launches on January 26 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC via Steam.”
The challenge of translating Dragon Ball into a fighter is capturing the blistering speed and dizzying camerawork the series built its reputation on, while still allowing players the chance to handle inputs and react to what’s all happening on screen. Like Sonic the Hedgehog, it needs to strike a fine balance between simulating something faster than the human eye without actually becoming too fast to register. Arc System Works is able to walk that line by making the basic mechanics surprisingly simple to operate, encouraging quick air juggles and non-stop combos, while still offering enough of a metagame for pros to learn how to control a match. Without much practice, everyone can punch and blast their way through a fight like a true Saiyan.
FighterZ actually had to host a second beta last week after the first one ran into network issues, likely due to unforeseen stress from enthusiastic fans. While it must have been frustrating for players trying to try their hand at the game early, the fervor is likely a promising sign.
Images: Bandai Namco