While at E3 this afternoon, we got an exclusive hands-on preview for Dragon Ball FighterZ, the latest Dragon Ball fighting game, developed by Namco Bandai and Arc System Works. To put it simply, FighterZ has become my most anticipated title, and for good reason.
For the unaware, Dragon Ball FighterZ is a 2.5D fighting game developed by Namco Bandai and Arc System Works, best known for the Guilty Gear series. Players select a team of three characters, each with their own unique strengths and weaknesses and different colored outfits. Teammates automatically swap in when a character is defeated, but they can also be used as assists, tag-partners, and more.
If you’ve ever played Guilty Gear, Blazblue, or the Persona 4 Arena games, you likely have a decent idea for how Dragon Ball FighterZ will play at its core. The silky smooth fluidity of combat and the more distinct character playstyles stand out as some expected but still exciting features, while the focus on air combos and character tag-outs paint an exciting new picture for how FighterZ will play when compared to the aforementioned titles. Making air combos an important feature in FighterZ is a fantastic move, as the combination of their excellent execution in the game and their importance in the T.V. series serves as a nice precedent for how features from the show will be used in-game.
One of the most exciting things about Dragon Ball FighterZ, as minor as it may be, is the unique way the character models are made. Each character’s animations run at 24 fps, while the game runs at 60 fps. This doesn’t affect the gameplay in any way, opting instead to enhance the nostalgia of Dragon Ball fans. The 24 fps makes the models seem slightly choppy, in a way that is almost perfectly accurate to the animation of the television series. I didn’t expect a feature like this in the slightest, and it’s pulled off so well that I couldn’t help but get excited, as minor as a feature as it may be.
A minor piece of speculation worth noting is that we’ve only seen the World Tournament Arena and Namek as stages so far. I imagine this means future announcements will revolve around the Cell Saga and the Buu Saga (perhaps with a dash of Super, judging by Golden Frieza’s appearance), as the stages may be held for those occasions. Trunks, Mr. Satan (Hercule), Piccolo, and Krillin seem like safe bets, for different sagas, but I imagine Super will get some love with characters like Beerus, Hit, and Goku Black. Regardless, it’s a damn good time to be a Dragon Ball fan, or even a fighting game fan in general.