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An over the top Nostalgia Trip or the next step forward for Dragon Ball Fighter Z?

Dragon Ball Z / Super is set to get a new stage fighter game released in the next year. Is this going to be a step forward for the series with Arc System Works? The usual platform developer Dimps is likely to continue development for DB Xenoverse (DLC). Arc have been responsible for several handheld Dragon Ball games in the past(Supersonic Warriors 1 & 2 as well as Extreme Butoden on the 3ds).

First let’s take a look back at the series getting a western release game with the Budokai series in the early 2000’s. the first game had a very heavy focus on being a video game release of the anime. Low quality versions of the title sequence and many iconic scenes from the series featured. Recently going back to play this, it was horrendous especially in contrast to Dimps latest works, Xenoverse. Behind these visuals was a brutal game that felt near impossible at points. the enemy AI particularly on the last level deciding to not let you hit it, perfectly blocking attacks and getting off deadly combos the second you drop your guard.

On their second attempt at a DBZ 2.5d fighter it was a lot smoother gameplay with most story cutscenes traded out for pins and text. It embraced the video game it is (graphic wise at the time). Then came Budokai 3 with what many regard as the best game to have been produced so far. The story was told through travelling around the world to various locations with even more fluid gameplay.

For the sake of fair comparison let’s stick to the 2d and 2.5d games and not Tenkaichi or Xenoverse.

Now Bandai after years of only having 2d dragon ball z games on handheld platforms they seek to have a big release. Dragon Ball Fighter Z in this age of remasters and rereleases. It will definitely be a nostalgia trip of sorts. From the limited footage currently available all ideas of a 3d arena are gone it is a straight up 2d brawler. Along the likes of Street Fighter with the over the top visuals of Guilty Gear which suits DBZ just fine. This looks to be a unique step into 2d for Bandai and DBZ, not seen before outside handheld.

However what has always been a key part and focus of these games is telling the story of DBZ and now potentially DB Super. For their full release on PC & Consoles Arc System Works needs to make this more than just a Guilty Gear with the DBZ franchise. To be the best it can, Arc needs to capture the nostalgia and the ever-present mechanics in the DBZ games in a new light.

We have not seen any story elements released so far, so for now I remain hopeful that as more is revealed about the game we see a story mode developed. Hopefully beyond a simple arcade mode like Arcs previous DBZ games (Supersonic warriors). We need to see steps forward for the series past the quality of the Budokai series. Make this a great game in it’s own right and not as a throwback for the series. With the success of the handheld games combined with power of platform this should be good. Let’s hope to see a flashy DBZ Fighter that still feels like a DBZ game and not a graphical showpiece.