You can’t get through the week without another new beta popping up for attention these days, for somebody that was brought up on magazine demo discs its all a bit, well, underwhelming.
A beta takes commitment, download time and space, not forgetting actually being able to give it a whirl in the usually tight window, depending on the stability of the build. Unless you’ve pre-ordered a game and get early access, or whether you only pre-ordered purely to get the beta is a chicken and egg quandary that remains to be seen.
Back on topic, there’s a Dragonball game just around the corner and as expected it will be bright, colourful, brash, loud and way way way over the top. My dull grown-up mind struggles with the Dragonball canon these days, barely remembering the names and skills of Goku or Vegeta, while being left for dead as far as the wide roster of characters stands.
FighterZ gave a good first impression during the beta, opening up into a localised lobby with a few things to do, the promise of social interaction enhanced by the use of ‘stickers’, training modes, replay modes and trying to get a match modes. The lobby is populated with shrunk down versions of your character avatar, so gaining some customisation quickly will help you stand out amongst the forty odd people wandering around in the same clothes.
Training modes gave the best glimpse of what the game will offer on release, that being classic 2d fighting action with three per side tag teams. The tag teams offer a strategic layer to the game giving the player opportunity to swap out when required and reserve or recover some energy. It’s a fun concept that can get lost in the chaos of building up combos and unleashing super moves.
The actual training section drop you into some objective based situations, move here, jump there, use this attack three times, etc. Its a good way to break off the rusty joints and get the flow of the game back in, however – not paying attention and just pummelling your opponent will fail the challenge and make you start over.
Gameplay wise, I struggle with some of the button choices and would be tinkering with them to get comfortable, beyond that it does exactly what a 2D fighter needs to do. FighterZ is also pacy, so once you get up to speed and there are feet or fists flying around the stage it can become a dazzling array of fireworks. More often than not ending with super move that destroys the stage or a cutscene that is practically straight from the cartoons.
The guts of the beta however escaped me for the most part. The online game was patchy, having to request a match, then okay your opponent, then wait for them to respond took way too long. Not forgetting that nine out of ten times they dropped out before the game got going. I’m sure it will be fine on release, but didn’t do what it was supposed to on the day.
Overall, Dragonball FighterZ will be exactly what the fans want or thereabouts, but for a 2D fighter past their shelf-life like myself – its a pass, there is too much to learn for too little reward. This is a genre bus I got off a long time ago.