Dragon Ball FighterZ didn’t grace the main stage at Evolution 2017, but the Bandai Namco booth allowed attendees to participate in a tournament. In fact, there were multiple chances to get involved in the brackets at the booth! Winners were awarded an Xbox One for their efforts.
DaiAndOh played in three tournaments, with successively higher placements, until he won a tournament. Obviously, the more time he spent playing, the better he got. Not only did he place 1st in the third tournament, but he also gained some insight about the game. DaiAndOh compiled his thoughts and impressions, describing how he felt about Dragon Ball FighterZ‘s various mechanics.
Read on below to get a taste, and keep scrolling to find footage of the tournament matches.
Content edited for clarity; emphasis is DaiAndOh’s.
My tag is DaiAndOh. I’m from Brooklyn, NY, and I’ve played almost every fighting game out there from Street Fighter to Sailor Moon, with emphasis on the Guilty Gear series and Vampire Savior. I entered three tournaments at Evo 2017 for DBZ, placing 13th, 7th, and 1st. You may have seen me glitch Frieza, get bodied by Goku’s level three super, or win the 4th tournament! These are impressions on individual mechanics, characters, and overall thoughts. I will be using numpad notation.
Let’s start with team mechanics. Teamwork and synergy are super important. Assists are at this point the backbone of a team. Vegeta and Frieza have the two best ones by far. Cell, Goku, and Buu are good. Gohan’s lacked but may get better with time.
You can call assists nearly any point while not getting hit or blocking. Even while doing special moves. At any height too! As noted by others, you can have them both out at the same time. These properties can enhance both rushdown and zoning as well as make for great combo extensions!
Hard tags are a super dash that on block have you in recovery all the way down.
Delay Hyper Combos work a little differently than in Marvel games. You can pick which teammate does it with appropriate assist buttons (just press them during a super).
However, an important mechanic that’s not looked at enough is tag super. Pressing 236/214 assist (while in neutral state? Not sure what can be done in the air here) will have the appropriate character come in with a super while tagging in. I made use of this to switch often for one meter rather than two. Characters have lots of recoverable life so safe switching maximizes your health significantly. This mechanic removes some startup invincibility though. It can be done with level three supers as well.
This mechanic is important because of space control implications. You may think you’re safe approaching from certain angles against Vegeta who has one meter, but Gohan tag supers in with an anti-air Kamehameha and you’re done…
Guard-cancel tags are present in the game and they cost one meter. Not sure between tapping and holding assist how exactly it’s done, but I’m sure it will be as important as deflect (later on that) for defense.
Teamwork will define this game in its current state. Learn assist combos, zoning patterns, how supers interact with each other, and how you can threaten to control the whole screen.
Now for other mechanics:
Normals: Light, medium, and heavy. Heavy ground normals launch and can be followed up with a super dash for a full combo. 5H horizontal, 2H vertical. I liked horizontal personally for corner carry but both are great.
I didn’t use many generic Ki blasts. People were throwing out super dash constantly, it may have gotten me killed!
2H is a universal anti-air. These are very important. They beat super dash CLEAN, as well as almost any other air approach.
6M is a universal overhead. No chain or special-cancelling. Use assists to combo. Maybe on counter-hit you can? Safe on block.
Characters have command normals. More on them later.
Vanish Cancel. This costs one meter to teleport behind the opponent and attack. Wall bounces when done in a combo and allows for follow-ups. Interrupt it for free if done raw with a 2H.
Dragon Rush, the throw replacement. The red flash plus one button tech will force you to find sneaky ways to get it in as players get better. You can also get a true combo into it if done from a vanish wall bounce! Pressing assist while doing one will perform a snapback for one meter!
Super Dash is similar to homing from Arcana Heart. It is an attack and allows you to combo afterward on hit. They go through regular Ki blasts but lose to special/super projectiles, 2H, and at least once in my experience, Dragon Rush. Despite what was said earlier, Super Dashes are safe on block the majority of the time. You can act after contact on block. If your opponent chains into them up close, you can punish the attempt with 2H.
Their best use for me was approaching while covered by assists (combo conversion at otherwise awkward times) and catching people who throw out lots of ki blasts.
Meter builds quickly. Even by just moving forward. I did not like charging though. Takes too much time. I preferred to readjust my positioning instead when I had an opportunity. Also, there might be a percentage penalty but you will still have significant meter gain no matter what you use (unlike in Guilty Gear where there is a tension gain penalty for using something like YRC).
Sparking Blast is a versatile tool. You get one per game. Health recovery is strong with all the recoverable life in this game. The damage increase is insane at level three. It pops the opponent up when done in combos as a cancel…and then it ground bounces them! A lot of combo possibility there! Despite earlier reports, the properties do transfer between your team. I’m not sure if this was changed.
Deflect is known mostly for sending away basic Ki blasts, it also pushblocks mids (maybe overheads). Lows will blow it up. I do not know if deflect adds or removes frame advantage.
In addition, some standard ASW mechanics apply. Air dashing, super jumps, double jumps, and air teching. Hold to tech is in the game. You can ground roll when knocked down but it doesn’t go far. EX moves are done with H for one meter.
Goku, as expected, is a strong all rounder. His punish game between his warp Kamehameha and level three super is strong. His level three is crazy! It’s a cross-up that’s likely to be 0 frames after flash! That means if you start holding back to block the cross-up (like I was) during the flash, you’d get hit! You can use Sparking Blast on reaction though! His EX Rush Punch teleports behind before hitting and ground bounces.
Vegeta is fast and mobile. Dive kick knocks down but is useful for changing up mid air. He has a true DP as well. Outside of that, pretty standard fare while on point. But he also has an amazing assist, many compare it to Amatersau’s Cold Star for a good reason. A flurry of Ki blasts control good space and allow for multiple mix-ups, unique combos, easy approaches, and even zoning!
Gohan was the weakest character in my experience. He was very stubby and didn’t have useful special moves to approach. He hurts a lot but so can everyone else comparably so far. His anti-air assist does not cover angles well but its short cool down could make it handy for combos. It is a DP when he is on point.
Frieza was my favorite character. A zoner at heart, his 5H throws rocks (he can still follow them up with a combo if the initial attack hits). 236 Ki sends full screen on hit. 22 Ki is an under utilized warp + projectile, useful with assists for repositioning. Discs are alright but have long startup, there’s a few ways you can get around the return damage. 236LMH pillars are useful, the EX is fast and throws up 2 pillars. He has three level three supers: the headbutt for damage, the wake up laser for surprise and big damage, and Golden Frieza, increasing his attributes (as well as an invincible pause button, you can act immediately out of it, even block a beam inside you). As it ends, you can press 2 attack buttons to spend a meter to have Sorbet take a shot! But above it all, Frieza has the pillar for an assist, but this version tracks. it’s an amazing assist that can’t be overstated.
Cell was a versatile character. His 236LMH rolling attacks end with an overhead. 214LMH is an autocombo, EX does huge damage and looks like a Flash Kick when done on the ground (it works okay as an anti-air but misses sometimes). 214 Ki is a full-screen command grab. It is slow, and I was scared to try it since people moved and pressed a lot of buttons. Great for conditioned opponents. j.2M is a full-screen attack that warps behind the opponent! Interruptible with 2H. You can’t combo on normal grounded hit (maybe on counter-hit?), air hit knocks down. Although the damage was low, I would use this with Frieza’s assist for easy damage off a full-screen tracking approach. Finally, he has 6H, a step kick that hits low. Not sure how you can follow it up, but it caught people off guard who expected me to do a special move, super dash, or wait while doing 5H in pressure and mash out.
Fat Buu was also an interesting character, but a little slow for me to get the hang of for early tournaments. His 5M is an overhead that you can chain after, giving him the best reward from overheads! j.H is a limb with big range but little reward. j.236H might be unblockable or another overhead, he flashed red like in the Dragon Rush before doing it! He can zone too with a big yoga flame style move and a “goop” toss which traps opponents. Explosion super’s guard points are interesting and the 360 radius of the initial attack allows you to catch all approaches.
The verdict: Even Zenoh-sama would be impressed by this game! It’s a unique game; I’m looking forward to even more! Hope to see you at the next Evo on the stage!
Thanks to DaiAndOh for telling SRK his impressions and congratulations on winning one of the tournaments! Don’t forget to also read up on Shoryuken’s Dragon Ball FighterZ impressions for another take.