November 2, 2019 at 7:39 PM #808
Dragon Ball FighterZ
Rating: 3.0 – Fair
It’s an Arc System Game with DBZ characters, nuff said.
The problem with the game is that it’s all style over substance, much like the show it’s based on and other games in it’s pedigree like MVC3, and this is coming from a fan of it all. Combat is fairly shallow as it always is in these games: light, medium, heavy launcher, light, medium, jump, light, medium, heavy, super, ultra, with little variation. If they block low, hit from the air. If they block standing hit from low. Or just use a throw. Rinse and repeat. If you are really advanced, hit assist at the end of a combo and then super dash. I just explained 90% of all combat in this game with those few sentences. However knowing theory only helps so much. Unlike most other fighting games, but similar to all Arc System games, they rely on muscle memory instead of reactive skill and mind games. At 60 frames a second, a light jab comes out in 1/15 of a second, or 0.0666 seconds. The human brain reacts to visual stimuli in 0.25 seconds and touch stimulus in 0.15. Don’t believe me? Play a Ring Party Battle and watch everyone mash Square (which stands for Tag Me In) when someone gets tagged in. They do that because it’s impossible to react by seeing what character is actually entering the fight.
This sets the stage for memorizing Bread and Butter combos that you start inputting regardless if the opponent is blocking or not. It’s why terms like touch of death exist in the fighting game community. A lucky tag is all it takes to eat tons of damage. And people inevitably find the best combos which then spread via online video to everyone else and thus everybody ends up doing the same old moves which makes the already generic playstyle even worse.
Dragon Ball FighterZ makes most characters play the same based on that combo above. They only look different, but mechanically they are the same. Sure, some have gimmicks like 18’s natural assist in her counterpart 17, or 16’s grabs or 21’s move stealing, but primary damage dealing will be that combo and those high-low concepts. The game offers something called autocombos where you just have to mash square or triangle to pull off moves. Autocombos are a blight but not for why you might think. Their insane tracking is what makes them strong. Coupled with the insane (and unfair at times) tracking of super dashes too, I’ve seen pros beaten by amateurs this way. Because a noob plays in an unorthodox method and also thinks differently than a pro they can get in a surprising amount of hits. Sometimes the right moves sneak in at the right moment which goes against most people’s thoughts about fighting games. It makes sense that a pro would never be beaten by a amateur but not so in this game and that’s in part due to the lucky nature of connecting combos.
Arguably the most important part is the online feature which is straight garbage at this stage. Long wait times between matches, dropped connections and no rooms despite clearly being open rooms are rampant. From a fighting game veteran company, this is inexcusable.
The game looks phenomenal as any screenshot can show you. It’s possesses fantastic graphics but don’t let that fool you with it’s decently sized shortcomings. The music is bad generic rock with no stand-out tracks unlike the Budokai series of DragonBall Z fighting games. The voice acting is fine since they use the real actors from the show so no extra points there.
The single player story campaign is what you’d expect from a fighting game. Pathetic tripe. It’s unnecessarily long with all the filler of a normal anime. Personally, I fell asleep three times during my way through it and remember I love DBZ and fighting games. There are 3 "arcs" but they are near the exact same thing with very minor differences to the point of pointlessness and they end up breaking their own established in-universe rules. However, the explanation for the player’s existence and how only one person can fight at a time in a 3v3 match is clever. There is charm to be had in special scenes involving character interaction, when they aren’t generic and boring, "I want to fight you too but we gotta focus on the enemy first." types.
All in all, it’s an Arc Systems game and a Dragonball game. You already know if you’ll buy it, but for new folks I’d try to resist the temptation and spend your time and money more productively.
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