It's about time we were blessed with a good Dragon Ball fighting game. The franchise's earlier fighting games Budokai, Tenkaichi, Burst Limit, and the Xenoverses were fun and all, but they were never really up to par.
It is not ideal to have dozens upon dozens of characters to choose from and then realize that they're pretty much clones of each other with minor tweaks in their finishers. Not to mention the serious balancing issues they had, with a handful of characters inflicting way less damage than others.
On the other hand, Dragon Ball FighterZ is different. It's an actual fighting game designed for some competitive action. What's even better is that its system is simplified in order to attract any kind of gamer.
How simplified are we talking about? Well, the basic Hadouken move is the most complicated technique you can ever muster. If there's a fighting game you can totally button mash, it's this one. Heck, you can just keep hitting the triangle button to activate your character's finishing move.
The game was really designed for online play. At the start, you're given a chibi Goku, which you can switch out later on. You're then thrown into a hub world where you can run around and interact with iconic Dragon Ball locations. As is the case in any online hub area, you'll see a lot of players running around. But you can also explore in offline mode, except that it can get lonely.
Dragon Ball FighterZ features 21 characters. Before a battle, you get to pick three from the roster. It's awesome to see how the game has turned some Dragon Ball originals into total badasses. Cases in point: Yamcha, Tien, and Krillin. Others can complain about missing characters like Vegito, Super Buu, Broli, and Jiren, but I found the move to include some of the weaker characters like Captain Ginyu and Nappa to be far more interesting.
Each of these characters comes equipped with his own unique move set that you can experiment with to pull off some sweet combos. Hopefully in the future, the game will introduce DLC characters like Kid Goku (from the original Dragon Ball and NOT from GT) instead of another variation of an older Goku with Ultra Instinct.
There are unlockable characters as well: SSGSS Goku and SSGSS Vegeta. You acquire them by completing certain arcade modes at the highest difficulty. That's some old school stuff in fighting games. You can buy them off with real money, but why bother? Getting the blue-haired Saiyans should be a testament of your hard work.
There are special animations that recreate scenes from the series. They're minor but they flash you with a pang of nostalgia about how amazing the series was back then. One of Tien's finishers even includes Chiaotzu's epic self-sacrifice. If you've ever seen that episode before, you know how emotional that scene was. You can only use this move once per battle though.
The R2 is a charged dash toward your opponent. It's a nice move that closes the gap immediately, but people tend to spam it to make a few quick shots. In time, you'll learn how to deflect, a useful move that pushes enemies and projectiles away. This deflect move is the equivalent of parrying in Dark Souls. It's what separates the good from the great.
So far, I haven't seen any Roman cancelling moves, which can be a huge pain while I'm getting pummeled with combos. Switching to another character isn't as smooth as I'd hope it would be either. But then, when I battle at the Hyperbolic Arcade on Hard Mode, my AI opponents spam three finishers from all three characters. I'll admit, I'm still getting used to the gameplay.
You win in-game currencies as you play the game, which you can use to purchase items. These items mostly come in the form of aesthetics, or skins for the characters. They will in no way, give you a competitive advantage or change the gameplay.
The Story Mode is taxing. Dragon Ball Z after all isn't known for its excellent storytelling. It's known for its really slow-burning narrative, something which carries over to the game. I have no idea if the developers did this on purpose in the spirit of Dragon Ball Z but it's nonetheless exhausting. And yet, going through the three story arcs still feel like watching the anime. It can be entertaining but most of the time, you'll be gnashing your teeth, wondering when the characters will start hitting each other.
If you're looking to jump into a new fighting game and get into the entire craze with FighterZ, then you should get this game. If you're not, you should check it out anyway. It's fun and wild. Its awesomeness is over 9000.