Namco’s next Dragon Ball title is not the third iteration in the Xenoverse series. Instead, Namco Bandai has commissioned Guilty Gear developer, Arc System Works, to make a new 2.5D fighting game. Dragon Ball FighterZ gameplay borrows a bit from Guilty Gear and BlazBlue, but also has hints of Marvel vs. Capcom and other similar fighting games. Let’s take a closer look at Dragon Ball FighterZ gameplay details to breakdown how this new title will play. We'll also provide information on the Dragon Ball FighterZ beta coming later this summer before we see Dragon Ball FighterZ on PS4, Xbox One and PC in early 2018.
While fans of the Xenoverse games are accustomed to a robust adventure game that focuses on story with over the top fighting sequences, Dragon Ball FighterZ has a different focus. We’ve already covered some of the initial details from the unveiling of the title, but this new game is more of a traditional fighting game that has a clear focus on the competitive fighting game community. That’s not to say there won’t be an elaborate story mode, but at the very least this should not be seen as the next step in Dragon Ball games, but rather as a different approach that will appeal to a different variety of Dragon Ball fans.
There's a closed beta for Dragon Ball FighterZ coming before the end of the summer, this year. We don't yet have exact dates for the closed beta, or even how to gain access. However, given that it's already the middle of June, expect those details to become available very soon. Summer ends in a couple of months and we'll be updating this article with new information on how to access the closed beta as soon as it becomes available. If you're familiar with other closed beta tests you usually gain access by pre-ordering the game or signing up on the official website, but we'll let you know exactly how to sign up for the Dragon Ball FighterZ beta as soon as Namco Bandai releases that information.
One of the biggest ways that Dragon Ball FighterZ differentiates itself from the combat featured in the Xenoverse games is that it offers 3 vs. 3 battles in a style closer to Marvel vs. Capcom. In Xenoverse you could pick multiple characters and switch between them on the fly while battling in large 3D environments. FighterZ takes a more traditional approach by offering 1-on-1 combat with two assist characters.
If you’ve played the last two games in the Marvel vs. Capcom series, you already have a general idea of how this works. You select three characters, then head into battle. Your first character is the point character, while the other two take up assist roles. As you battle 1-on-1 against your opponent’s point character, you can call the other two characters to quickly move in and perform an attack.
At the 0:30 mark in the video below you can see Goku call Vegeta as an assist, followed almost immediately by Cell calling Frieza as an assist. The players are still controlling Goku and Cell, but with the press of a button Vegeta and Frieza come in, perform an attack, then exit the battle again. However, you can’t just call assists whenever you like. At 0:39 you can see Cell hit the Vegeta assist, stopping his attack and inflicting a bit of damage. After this you can also see the orange outline around Vegeta’s portrait slowly fill up, which is the cooldown period before that assist can be called again.
While you can quickly tag in one of your assists to become your point character, if one character gets KO’d, there’s a short cinematic that plays with your next character making a dramatic entrance to continue the fight. Just like in Marvel vs. Capcom, if you lose one character, the next character in line jumps in to take over.
Combat System Details
We already know there are mid-match transformations, but we can now confirm that at least some of these transformations cost three bars of your super meter at the bottom of the screen. Goku starts the match by transforming into Super Saiyan 1, but at 3:28 he uses three meters to transform into Super Saiyan 3. Likewise, you can see Frieza transform into Golden Frieza at 2:04. Both of these transformations consume three bars of the super meter. At the moment the super meter appears to cap at seven bars, but can’t confirm this just yet. It should also be noted that Goku's SSJ3 transformation was part of a super combo attack, and while it KO'd Cell, Goku immediately transformed back into SSJ1. However, Frieza remained in his Golden state even after the initial transformation.
In addition to mid-match transformations, there are also tag team super moves. At 2:33 in the video you can see Goku perform a super move, with Gohan coming in with a super move in the middle of the Kamehameha animation. Goku then jumps out as Gohan takes over as the point character. Once again, this is very similar to how team super moves work in the Marvel vs. Capcom series.
The general combo system seems to resemble Guilty Gear with some added flair. Almost all of the combos lead into the air, but you can also perform wall bounces similar to the Marvel vs. Capcom series, and certain attacks will lead to Dragon Ball-like cutscenes, with one character getting kicked across the area, and the other character following right behind for another attack.
Right now the game feels very much like a Dragon Ball version of Marvel vs. Capcom 3, but there’s still a lot we don’t know. This game should definitely appeal to hardcore fighting game fans, but if you’re looking for a third Xenoverse game, this is a different beast and may not fill that void. We’ll have to see what other content is available in the title.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our general overview of Dragon Ball FighterZ. Stay tuned to Prima Games as we offer more updates on Dragon Ball FighterZ as we approach the closed beta coming at the end of the summer, and the official release date in early 2018.