In a world filled with remakes, reboots and sequels, it’s pretty clear that nostalgia is a massive selling point in today’s market. Like millions of western kids growing up in the nineties and early noughties, part of my morning ritual was to sit down before school and watch the latest episode of Dragon Ball Z, which I then tried to re-enact on the oval at lunch. This weekend’s open beta test of the upcoming Dragon Ball FighterZ was the first chance I had to get my hands on the game and it instantly brought me back to a time when I was younger, chubbier and trying to go Super Saiyan by screaming behind the cricket nets for 10 minutes. Although the content of the beta was fairly limited, I absolutely loved my time with it. I’ve played other Dragon Ball fighting games in the past, but none of them grabbed me in the way that even this small taste did.
Thankfully, seven episodes worth of screaming is condensed into two seconds
As you can probably tell from the screenshots, the team at Arc System Works have absolutely nailed the style and flair of the series. The game looks and sounds phenomenal, immersing you completely in the high-intensity fights you know and love from the show. Even the little touches that the developers have included prove that DBFZ was made with fans in mind. For instance, in a totally random online battle, I was playing as Goku, my opponent was playing as Frieza and we were on Namek (Fans of the series will know where this is going). Rather than just plonk us in and yelling “Fight!” it took the time to show a little cinematic scene from the anime in which Frieza kills Goku’s best friend Krillin, sending him into a frenzy and giving him the push he needs to finally go Super Saiyan for the first time. It was completely unnecessary, but it was a nice touch, giving context to an otherwise random beat-down.
The other big takeaway from the open beta would be the accessibility of the game. It plays much like classic fighters such as Marvel Vs. Capcom or Street Fighter but with simplified controls and mechanics. If you’ve ever played a similar game before, you’ll be able to pick up DBFZ with no problem, it’s the kind of game that’s easy to learn but difficult to master. Fortunately, you don’t need to memorize a huge list of command inputs to pull off some of your favourite moves, such as “The Kamehameha”, which makes every fight feel like you really are a hero (or villain) from the show.
Did someone say catfight?
Although there were some minor networking issues during the beta test (that’s what these are for really), overall it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. If you’re a fan of the series from long ago, or if you’ve just picked it up with the recent reboot, you will definitely find something to love in Dragon Ball FigtherZ. With its stunning visuals, kick-ass immersion and easy to access controls, it’s the kind of game that you fire up, crack open a few drinks and invite some friends from school over to settle old scores.
The game really is Buu-tiful