Dragon Ball FightersZ is the latest entry in the acclaimed fighting game series from Bandai Namco Games, and is currently slated for release on PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One in February 2018.
The manga-inspired brawler is already shaping up to be a pretty meaty affair, offering an eclectic cast of characters for players to choose from, each of whom possess a unique moveset to duff up their opponent with.
3v3 tag-in multiplayer will be available alongside a 'What If' storyline that will switch up the Android Saga to include Android 21 - a new character overseen by Akira Toriyama himself who, much like Android 19, seems to be built with Dr. Gero's expertise embedded within. Through her knowledge, we'll see Android versions of the Z fighters born of Gero's spy tactics. To get an idea, watch the trailer below.
Dragon Ball FighterZ Gameplay
Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe released new gameplay footage for Dragon Ball FighterZ during GamesCom, which reveals the resurrection of Android 16 and the duo Android 17/Android 18 return to join the fight. That video is now down by the Androids themselves in the Roster segment, replaced by an all-inclusive PV from TGS that shows off numberous fights before cutting to the story trailer embedded up above.
Battles take place in a 3v3 format with each player choosing three characters from the usual roster. While we certainly won't be getting every character as a playable combatant, certain choices - like Android 18 - will call upon certain others during select attacks. For her, she'll summon Android 17 to aid in certain blows before he jumps off off-screen.
With your trio of characters locked in, it's essentially a race to cause as much damage as possible across the 300 second battle window. Characters can tag in and out at will, but having one be KO'd will end the round and begin the next with that character eliminated from the player's tag choices. At the culmination of a match, the winning team's on-screen fighter will perform their own victory animation sequence. Various moves will see the brawl switch a quick cinematic-style camera view to properly frame the action against the 3D backdrop.
To allow for any clutch moments, securing a KO during the last 10 seconds of a fight will reset the counter back to 10; meaning if fighters have been well managed with multiple left with little health, the last moments of a drawn-out battle will make for some tense moments for players and spectators alike and kills are quickly chained.
Dragon Ball FighterZ Release Date
Dragon Ball FighterZ will be released in February 2018 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. A closed beta took place in September, with an open beta with early access set to kick off closer to release.
Dragon Ball FighterZ Characters - Roster
While there’s plenty of iconic fan-favorites to select from, Namco is also squeezing in a few lesser-known combatants that the more discerning Dragon Ball aficionado will no doubt appreciate. Here’s the full cast of known characters so far, alongside the newely released character stats. Ranging from SS - C (with C being the lowest), you can see that Goku and Vegeta are said to be the easiest to play, whereas Piccolo, Majinn Buu and Frieza present more of a challenge.
Ease of Use - SS
Even non-Dragon Ball fans know who Goku is. The poster boy for the venerable Japanese franchise, Goku was born under the name Kakarot, and his platinum blonde locks were actually jet black initially. While originally thought to be Earth-born, the fireball-throwing brawler actually hails from an extraterrestrial race known as the Saiyans, which also endows him with superhuman powers.
Growing up, Goku quickly becomes the mightiest warrior on Earth, although despite his immense powers he’s often known for his care-free and cheerful attitude. Being pure of heart, Goku is often depicted showing mercy to his opponents, and has even picked up a number of allies along the way due to these attributes. His signature attack, Turtle Destruction Wave, is performed after channelling his Ki for an immensely powerful blue energy palm blast.
Ease of Use - SS
Vegeta hails from the same powerful, extraterrestrial race as Goku, and his powers pretty much the blonde-haired hero on many levels. However, the similarities stop there, as Vegeta’s arrogance and obsession has seen him hell-bent on surpassing his rival at all costs, and at times has been shown to have no compunction in killing his opponents without a second thought. Despite this, he has transitioned into an anti-hero role having teamed up with Goku and others to subvert potential universe-destroying plans.
Vegeta also has royal blood in his veins as the son of King Vegeta, and thus being a Saiyan prince. His egotistical nature has shattered on only a few occasions where he has been depicted as being afraid of his opponent, such as when he squared off against Freiza. His most conspicuous trait is his height, being noticeably shorter than Goku, and jet-black hairstyle that stands prominently upwards.
Ease of Use - S
The half-human, half-Saiyan son of Goku, Gohan has quickly risen to become one of the strongest characters in the Dragon Ball universe. Unlike his father, who routinely seeks out conflict, Gohan is more restrained; he only ventures into combat and employs his powers when his loved ones are in direct danger. Initially however, his mother forbid him from taking part in battles and implored him to focus on his studies, though the growing threats to earth eventually swayed her to allow Gohan to become a practitioner of the martial arts.
Despite being only half-Saiyan, Gohan possesses enhanced strength, durability, speed, and reflexes, which have served him to great success in battle. In addition to his fighting prowess, Gohan also has the ability to take flight by manipulating the life-force known as Ki, using his Air Dance Technique. He’s also an accomplished swordsman and teacher.
Ease of Use - A
The quintessential Dragon Ball antagonist, Frieza is a fearsome intergalactic being of immense power, and the catalyst for Goku and the Saiyan’s arriving on earth. Frieza’s resume is chock full of horrors, chief among which includes the Saiyan genocide and being directly responsible for the death of Burdock. These feats combined with his almost unrivaled powers has made him a personal and significant threat to Goku.
As with many Dragon Ball characters, Frieza has the ability to harvest the supernatural energy known as Ki, albeit manipulating it for his own, nefarious purposes such as creating a devastating beams of energy. Frieza’s use of said powers is of such ferocity that he’s able to obliterate entire planets without breaking a sweat.
Ease of Use - S
A malevolent artificial lifeform, Cell was born through experiments made by Doctor Gero’s computer from the cells of multiple warriors, combined with the generic information of Goku, Vegeta, Piccolo and other Dragon Ball stalwarts. Cell possesses superhuman abilities and like his contemporaries can summon energy beams by channeling Ki, and was designed with the ability to harness the powers of the universe’s strongest combatants.
Ease of Use - A
The final antagonist of the Dragon Ball manga, Majin Buu (otherwise known Djinn-Boo or Majin Boo) was created by warlock Bibbidi and takes the form of a magical life form with a genie-like appearance. Initially sealed away and brought to Earth, though was revived by his creator’s son, Bobbidi, where he was used to continue Bibbidi’s plans to conquer the universe. So, not exactly the sort of bloke you’d want to meet in a dark alley, then.
Main Buu possess numerous forms, each one with a distinct personality and appearance. Despite this, they all share one thing in common: all his manifestations are pink in colour and sport an antenna on their head, along with numerous holes/pores on his body. His signature attack, oddly enough, is transforming his opponents into candy, allowing him to gobble them up and absorb them. Fun fact: Buu and his creator’s names are derived from the Cinderella composition, ‘Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo.’ 'Baby Buu', in this case, is the first of the iconic villain and one that eventually becomes an ally after seperating from the main Buu organism. A friendly and childish blob, Baby Buu's mellow personality was spurred on after bonding with Mr. Satan over a puppy. Nice.
Ease of Use - S
Revealed through the long-running Shonen JUMP magazine that's houses Akira Toriyama's series of similar length for decades, Future Trunks is now confirmed to make an appearance in Dragon Ball Fighterz.
A fan-favourite character since his surprise debut in the Android arc of the hit anime/manga series, Future Trunks is the first character confirmed to use a physical weapon other than his mortal limbs - his iconic sword returns! Though nobody within their right mind can likely recall the image of his sword perfectly (it wasn't the point), it's still a part of what made Future Trunks the legendary fighter that he truly is.
Straight from Gamescom, Maximilian Dood highlights Trunks' offensive prowess. Classing him as a mid-tier character, his normal attacks (including his sword) have a longer reach than most other characters. Obviously that comes with drawbacks.
Following a drawn-out battle against Freiza in the show's first major arc, Future Trunks appeared and defeated the reconstructed villian with a single slice of his blade - cutting through the iron-clad body of the otherworldly alien that sought a rematch after being sent floating through space in numerous pieces.
We'll likely need a little more time before we hear more of his battle tactics, but the above image alone is enough to satisfy this growing appetite.
Ease of Use - S
One of the series' original characters, Krillin has been by Goku's side since the early days of the original Dragon Ball series - in which they were both very young children.
Known for essentially being Goku's best friend, Krillin was often a prime target for the stronger enemies of the franchise - though he's proven his strength many times before with his unique Destructo Disc attack. Paired with the ability to alter the trajectory of his Ki-based moves after firing them, Krillin is a fighter than makes up for his small size with his impressive Ki control.
Though his size may limit his ability to get close to his opponent, by detonating his blasts at any moment and attack with a clone of himself, he's able to turn distance into his major advantage.
Once an enemy of Goku, Piccolo eventually became one of his closest allies - and a fantastic tutor to his son, Gohan.
High-speed blasts are his forte, with their power able to be charged into attacks that can cripple his opponents attempts to block. Closing the gap with his unique extendable arms, it's difficult to know when you're actually safe from his reach.
With Gamescom being a major stage for reveals and gameplay analysis, Bandai Namco filmed a character breakdown video for ol' King Piccolo to highlight his strengths, weaknesses and potential high-damage combos.
Pairing his long-range melee potential and high-speed Ki blast attacks, Piccolo has a boon when it comes to combo. Mixed with a Ki blast that deals more damage when part of a combo, Piccolo is a force to be reconned with. But his movement speed lets him down.
Everyone's favourite troubled Android, 16 appears to be somewhat of a centre-point of the Dragon Ball Fighterz storyline. A prototype created at the hands of Dr. Gero to resemble his dead son, Android 16's sole mission would be to destroy Goku, meaning he'd rarely get involved in other fights - unless another entity - like Cell - posed a threat to the nature of Earth.
Seen by most as a gentle giant with a bit of an existenstial crisis, Android 16 will play a part in the 'What If' storyline of the game where he'll be revived and given a decent shot at taking on Goku and his pals rather than turn his back on the Red Ribbon Army and serve under the Z fighters.
Android 18 and 17
Though the more recent movies and Super series still paint Android 18 as the wife of Krillin, she certainly didn't start off that way.
The 18th android to be created by Dr. Gero on his mission to enact revenge over Goku's destruction of the Red Ribbon Army, Android 18, alongside her twin brother creation Android 17, would take it upon themselves to deny the orders their creator, kill him in cold blood and activate Android 16.
Curious to see why Gero told them to not to release Android 16, the three would go on to hunt an incapacitated Goku while besting most of the Z fighters in single combat. Though her brother would eventually be absorbed by Cell, she would manage to stave off his advances for a while longer, falling to the creation and enabling him to become Perfect Cell and overthrow both Vegeta and Future Trunks.
For the most part, Android 18's mission would become something less of toppling Goku and become more about testing her strength. During Gohan's battle with Perfect Cell, Android 18 would be regurgitated and go on to reveal her organic origins, culminating with her marriage to Krillin and birth of her daughter. In Dragon Ball FighterZ these androids will pair together in combat.
Super Saiyan Blue Goku & Vegeta
Proving yet again that Saiyans can seemingly never attain maximum strength, Super Saiyan Blue is a stage above the Super Saiyan God state seen in the Battle of the Gods movie activated by a fighter with the Super Saiyan God trait powering into their usual Super Saiyan state.
Attained by Goku sometime in the recent Dragon Ball Super anime, Super Saiyan Blue retains the idea that subsequent Super Saiyan forms needn't alter the physical appearance of its user quite as much as Super Saiyan 3 (or 4). Where Super Saiyan God gives a distinct aura and dilated eyes, Super Saiyan Blue continues the trend with a far more vigorous blue aura and matching hair.
While further increased a fighters base stats, the main allure of the Super Saiyan Blue state seems to be the greatly increased control over ones Ki energy. Allowing it to be tuned at will as opposed to the maximum power state of lesser Super Saiyan forms, Goku's Super Saiyan Blue transformation renders allows him to remain undetected when needed, and more rapidly more powerful as a situation presents itself.
The drawbacks, however, mean it's rarely a wise move to use the state at the start of a fight due to its rapid stamina depletion and diminished returns if activated repeatedly within a short period of time. For this reason, it's unclear whether this form will be usable by the base Goku character in-game or would be its own permanently available selection on the roster.
Though never really a central character throughout Dragon Ball Z, Tien was a major power in the original Dragon Ball anime and manga - remember, folks, Dragon Ball Z is a sequel.
Tien essentially became somewhat of a minor character throughout the sequel story rarely stepping in the fight a meaningful battle without simply being cannon fodder. Though his and everyone else's help during the Cell saga was key to its resolution, it's difficult to really recall many more actions of worth throughout that series.
Still, he's back for Dragon Ball FighterZ, and must be ready to kick ass in the name of video game balance. Having access to his Dodan Ray, Volleyball and Tri-Beam attack, his tiny sidekick Chiaotzu will lend a hand with his signature telekinesis. No word on whether he'll be dispensing senzu beans.
One of the earliest additions to the entire franchise, the thief king Yamcha made his appearance very early on in the original Dragon Ball manga. Quickly showing off his Wolf Fang Fist tecnique to the impressionable young Goku, it feels like this guy never really got much older as the franchise progressed.
Alongside the famous Wolf Fang Fist move, Yamcha packs... well, it isn't very clear. Though again, in the name of game balance, he'll be putting up a fight. Hopefully.
Reaffirming the idea that Akira Toriyama can never truly move on from his own creation after so many decades, he's designed yet another fresh face for the franchise.
Android 21 will undeniably play a major role in the Android-focused 'What if' storyline of Dragon Ball FighterZ. If GT and Super aren't really doing it for you, an extended cut of the Android Saga may be just what you've always wanted. Said to be a scientist on par with the late Dr. Gero, Andoird 21 is still shrouded in mystery. Her first in-game cutscene (shown below) only reinforces that.
It isn't even certain she'll become a playable character outside the story mode, but we can't really think why she wouldn't. Besides, the game really needs more female fighters. Let Chi-Chi stand up for herself. Hell, bring Launch back and have her sneeze cause for an immediate tap-out after a brutal barrage of bullets.
Dragon Ball FighterZ Stages
While they're rarely focused upon, each new gameplay video or character reveal typically lands us on another stage. The Dragonball franchise is known for its drawn-out battles and the scope of its story and locations. Because of that, we're expecting Dragon Ball FighterZ to send us to some very iconic battlefields - like Namek, the Cell Games Arena and, more than likely, the Tenkaichi Arena.
Confirmed stages so far include;
- World Tournament
- West City
- Dying Namek
- Cell Games Arena
- Gizard Wasteland