Despite the releases of Soul Calibur 6 and Super Smash Bros Ultimate, there is one fighting game that will stick with me most from 2018: Dragon Ball FighterZ. Not only does it offer a hefty amount of fan-service for long-time Dragon Ball fans, but Dragon Ball FighterZ is also one of the finest fighting games I have ever played. Thanks to its vibrant colorful graphics, slick fast-paced gameplay, and fun story mode, Dragon Ball FighterZ once again proves that Dragon Ball is at the top of the anime adaptation game.
Dragon Ball FighterZ is an absurdly pretty game on every platform. There’s no getting around it. Never before has an anime adaptation quite so successfully captured the art style and pace of its source material. Akira Toriyama’s classic lines, humorous expressions, and visceral fight scenes are here in full force. Each fighter’s individual attacks, movement and combat style are lifted straight out of the pages of the original manga. The voices (as much as they could) are also lifted from the anime. Sean Schemmel’s classic Goku voice is the same as it ever was.
Best of 2018 – Ferocity and Pace
To top it all off, the gameplay in Dragon Ball FighterZ is the best a Dragon Ball game has ever seen. It effortlessly captures the large-scale one-on-one fights of the show. Surroundings become brittle and damaged as the fight ensues, crumbling upon each mighty strike of your favored super-strength hero or villain. Kamehamehas blast through your foe with the ferocity you’d expect, Tien’s Tri-Beam Attack leaves him damaged, and Frieza’s Planet Destroyer is as fierce and explosive as you probably feared from the anime.
It’s all played at a ridiculously fast pace too. To the unaware onlooker, Dragon Ball FighterZ may appear too frantic. In doing this, however, it perfectly captures the fast-paced fights of the show. These are characters that move so fast that they appear as blurs in the original material for those without expert martial arts training. While silly, its authentic to the show.
Like most fighters, Dragon Ball FighterZ is a tricky game to begin with. Thankfully, the controls are simple enough that you’ll be pulling off Spirit Bombs, Big Bang Attacks, and Wolf Fang Fists before long like a pro. Scratch a little deeper underneath the surface, however, and you have a game that has captured the minds of thousands of esports fans (and participants) around the world. This is a fighting game that can be just as fun for beginners as it is deep for experts. Not only is it an excellent Dragon Ball game, but it is also a superb fighting game in its own right. You don’t need to know your Goku from your Nappa to enjoy Dragon Ball FighterZ.
Best of 2018 – The Strongest Anime Game in the Universe
There aren’t too many anime games that will rival the best of any particular genre. While most Naruto, One Piece, or Attack on Titan games will prove popular with series fans, you likely won’t hear many people arguing that they have had games that are at the top of action adventure, fighting, RPG, or shooting genre. Typically speaking, video games based on anime series often result in clunky or outdated gameplay and lower production values. FighterZ stands tall among the masses of anime games as one that can rival the best in the business.
While there have been plenty of good anime games, there are few great ones. Attack on Titan 2, for example, is a solid game, with visceral movement and some exciting combat, but it is dragged down by some performance and technical issues. While it’s not always the case, Dragon Ball has had a few examples of great titles that are not just limited to Dragon Ball FighterZ.
Best of 2018 – Dragon Ball is the Jewel in the Anime Game Crown
The Monolith Soft-developed Dragon Ball Z Attack of the Saiyans, for example, was a DS game that sadly flew under the radar. It was right up there with the best RPGs on a console dominated by the genre. Its sprite were gorgeous, backed up by a solid retelling of the Saiyan arc of the anime. It was filled with fun side quests and a battle system that felt like a more fleshed out version of what was to come from Bandai Namco and Monolith Soft in the Project X Zone games.
Dragon Ball Z Bodukai Tenkaichi 3 was another excellent game, too. While it wasn’t a balanced fighter, it’s huge roster of over 100 characters from throughout Dragon Ball’s history is unmatched. It’s slick, fast-paced arena fighting with destructible environments hasn’t been bettered since, either.
There have also been plenty of other recommendable Dragon Ball games. The Legacy of Goku games offered fun action-adventure gameplay on the go on the Game Boy Advance. The Budokai games provided solid 2D fighting action. Dragon Ball Fusions is a fun RPG with an inventive battle system on the 3DS backed up by an open world that has you flying around and collecting many a famous faces from the series to employ in your team.
Dragon Ball FighterZ not only continues the trend of great Dragon Ball titles but it’s also one of the best fighting games ever made. It’s not too often that a licensed anime game will rival its AAA competitor in any given genre, but FighterZ does so with ease. FighterZ is even better than most of the big established entries in the genre that have come out over the past few years, which is a true feat. Now, where’s that Hercule and Master Roshi DLC?