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Dragon Ball FighterZ is a Love Letter to Anime Fighters

Home > Dragon Ball FighterZ is a Love Letter to Anime Fighters

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Most people were quite surprised when Bandai Namco revealed their latest game at Microsoft's E3 2017 press conference. Dragon Ball FighterZ is the newest addition to the anime-fighter and Dragon Ball worlds. The game is co-developed by Arc System Works, a well known name in anime fighters, and pits characters from the Dragon Ball universe against each other in epic battles. The game will be coming to Xbox One, PS4, and PC in early 2018 and a closed beta will launch before the end of this summer.

While I didn't get a chance to go hands-on with Dragon Ball FighterZ at E3, Bandai Namco were kind enough to give a private presentation on the game and how it came into development. If there was one message they wanted to convey in the meeting it was this: Dragon Ball FighterZ is a game for the fans. Bandai Namco wanted to ensure the game was mechanically excellent, so they invited Arc System Works to handle most of the game's combat system, which they promise is robust, smooth, satisfying, and competitive.

Their own team is working very hard with the art and presentation of the game to stay true to the anime. Dragon Ball Z is the most popular anime franchise of all time, and the team really wants to connect with fans of the series. It seems they haven't fallen short so far, because the game looks absolutely beautiful. I tend to not be a big fan of long animations in fighting games, but it's hard to be disappointed when they look this good. The game will run 1080p 60fps on PS4 and Xbox One and native 4k on Xbox One X. I've heard from multiple sources that this was the most beautiful game at E3 this year, and it's hard to disagree.

Although the visuals are an accomplishment in themself, the heart of a fighting game is the PvP combat. The game features 3 vs. 3 mechanics, meaning each player will choose 3 characters to swap out during the round. Dragon Ball FighterZ currently has 6 characters confirmed: Goku, Vegeta, Gohan, Frieza, Cell, and Buu. The roster is pretty small right now, but it's very likely that more will be revealed as the game's release approaches.

Although visually dominant, it will be intersting to see how Dragon Ball FighterZ compares to the rather saturated market of recent fighting games on a mechanical level. Many have been disappointed with Street Fighter V and are wary of Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite. However, Tekken 7 and Injustice 2 were recently released and highly praised. Anime fighters tend to cater to a slightly different audience, but fighting games are still somewhat of a niche and do have to battle for a playerbase, especially within the fighting game community.

Much of Dragon Ball FighterZ long-term success will be determined by how the competitive audience, the FGC, feel about the game. If the combat is as fun and fundamentally solid as Bandai Namco promises, then I could definitely see the game being included at most tournaments. Guilty Gear already has a large competitive scene, and because Dragon Ball is such a significant and popular franchise, it has the potential to draw a huge number of people to the FGC.

Arc System Works definitely has an impressive résumé, so I'm not too worried that the game won't satisfy the competitive and casual players alike. From what I've seen of the game so far, it looks like Dragon Ball FighterZ might be the anime fighter that brings the niche genre to a wider audience. The combination of name recognition, stunning visuals, and solid gameplay is something to get really excited about. Now how about a Nintendo Switch version?

About the Author: Rial Johnson

Rial Johnson co-founded Concealed Gaming after years of running sister sites Nintendo Castle and Pokéball Insider. He is an avid gamer with a special place in his heart for Nintendo, but often finds himself writing about games more than actually playing them. You'll likely see him around the various network sites and on social media, mostly managing the front-end content of the websites.

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