Moving on from my indie sub-section, the list starts to become a little more mainstream from this point onward. Which isn’t to say that the indie games can’t reach the higher peaks of my top ten lists, but there’s always a factor of being more to appreciate in a AAA game, just through the sheer size of its development team and budget.
Today’s entry comes from a studio with an established pedigree, as well as a franchise with a huge existing fan base. So right from the start, the anticipation for it was high. And with good reason, as this one turned out to be a fantastic piece of videogamesmanship. I don’t want to start diving into it too much already, but it’s difficult to find a better looking game this year from both an artistic standpoint and its faithfulness to its source material.
I’ll just list the previous two entries and start digging into this one shall I:
#8: Dragon Ball FighterZ
Played on Xbox One | Released 26th January | Developed by Arc System Works
This game was a revelation. A genuinely good Dragon Ball game, one that contributes to the tumbling snowball that is Dragon Ball’s return to mainstream relevance in a post Battle of Gods world. A game that managed to both grab the attention of Dragon Ball fans, but the fighting game community, both serious and casual.
I have never been one to really invest myself into getting good at fighting games, they take a level of dedication and commitment I can never seem to achieve, but I love this game and everything it has achieved.
It’s not just that the game looks amazing, nor that Arc Systems made a game so incredibly faithful to both the manga or the anime that single throwaway frames from the manga have inputs dedicated to them. It’s that they made a game that literally anyone can pick up and play, both veteran and amateur players can pick this game up and feel like they’re doing something amazing.
Anime fighting games have a bit of a reputation for being a hot mess of complex systems, games that need to be deciphered before they can really be played properly. With FighterZ, Arcs added auto combos, put all characters abilities onto easy to execute quarter circle motions and allowed players who just wanted to mash it out, and feel like they’re doing cool things, to do just that.
When playing this, I started to actually learn some of the basic tenants of fighting games. Because it was so easy to pick up, I could actually pay attention to the empty space between me and my opponent and actually take part in the complex game of rock, paper, scissors that fighting games boil down to. I went online and felt like I could hold my own. That was a big step in raising my estimation of this game even more.
I could sing this game’s praises for a thousands or more words. But Dragon Ball FighterZ is the full package. It looks stunning, plays amazingly and feels like it was made by genuine fans of the franchise. Fans who wanted to do right by both fighting game fans and Dragon Ball fans. Something I feel they achieved perfectly.
Dragon Ball FighterZ holds the prestigious title of the only true modern fighting game that has kept my attention for more than a few weeks, not only that, I’ve gone back to it on a number of occasions. More so to play the story, I think that the online scene might have outpaced me in the time since.
I just need to get over the hump that is feeling like I need to pick Hit in every team. I suck with him, I need to accept that it’s not going to happen.