So, that Dragon Ball FighterZ game looks fucking sick, right?

I wrote two entries about this, and it took all my self-restraint not to write ten more. That’s how much I have to say about this game. But if you’ve seen the trailer, you already know how good it looks, and if you know any of Arc’s previous games, you’ll understand that this is in capable hands. So let’s move on and talk (obsess) about the 10 seconds of gameplay that told me this will be the best Dragon Ball Z game ever made. Actually, 8 seconds. Take a look at 2:35-2:43.

In this sequence, Frieza creates a Double Death Saucer and throws it at Gohan. The attack misses its target and returns to hit Frieza instead, dealing him damage and knocking him to the ground. When Gohan moves to capitalize, Frieza launches a sneak attack special from the ground, surprising him. The whole thing plays out a lot like a real DBZ event, doesn’t it… ?

Now, in your typical fighting game, fireball attacks aren’t unfamiliar, and some even return after the fact. Even a special that punishes from the ground is not new. So why is it that this piece of gameplay convinced me that this is the Dragon Ball Z game I always wanted?

Past Dragon Ball Z games have been, at best, cosmetic. What I mean is that they LOOK like the show, more or less, with enormous character rosters and each character’s signature move… but every time, not only is the gameplay itself lacking, but it plays unlike the combat depicted in Dragon Ball Z. Every character performs standard moves identically, and there’s no real difference between selecting any character, other than the fact that they LOOK like the character you like. Hell, you even perform the super moves the exact same way for each character. Compare that to BlazBlue, where each fighter has a specialty skill and all their existing moves are built to promote that key difference. That kind of attention to detail creates a more engaging fighter that goes beyond fan service, which is why BlazBlue inspires countless tournaments and matches to this day. No Dragon Ball Z game has ever even come close to that because it’s always been more important for the game to “look” right, rather than feel right. Frieza isn’t the bad guy because of a few malicious lines of dialogue; it’s because he fights like a fucking cheater, changing the rules on you by transforming, or begging for mercy as a way to land a sneak attack.

And to me, finally seeing these character attributes and fighting styles woven into into the core gameplay mechanics is what sets Dragon Ball FighterZ apart from the rest. The idea that Freiza has a returning fireball that can hurt him is an incredible creative decision that mixes the lore into the gameplay, strengthening the feel that this is truly a Dragon Ball Z game. Not one that just looks like what I’ve seen on TV, but one that embraces this ridiculous and wonderful world at a deeper level and lets me in by making it playable.

I’ve seen a lot of articles of how the posing of the characters feels ripped right from the manga, and the look of the game is undeniably perfect. But just as exciting is that this may finally be the one that plays right. Maybe I’ll get into the beta and find out for sure myself before it’s out. But even if I don’t, seeing Freiza fall to his own cheap move was all I needed to assure me that this game truly was the one I’ve been waiting for.

PS: Also, because I have nowhere else to put this, these are the characters on my wishlist to be announced. I tried to avoid duplicates and consider who would have fun gameplay potential. I’ll update this list as they confirm.

  1. Future Trunks (CONFIRMED)
  2. Piccolo
  3. Tien
  4. Broly
  5. Android 18
  6. Android 17
  7. Captain Ginyu (with the rest of the Ginyu Force as his moveset, ala Captain Commando)
  8. Gotenks
  9. Krillen
  10. Mr. Satan
  11. Kid Buu
  12. Beerus
  13. Hit (DLC?)