This past weekend Bandai Namco held their highly anticipated closed beta for Dragon Ball FighterZ, and it was an event that fans of beat ’em ups and the Dragon Ball franchise had been chomping at the bit to enter this arena. I was lucky enough to be sent on a code for the Dragon Ball FighterZ Closed Beta, and today I’ll be discussing what my impressions were of Dragon Ball FighterZ. The first thing you should know is this is not a review, this game isn’t done yet, and this is the closed beta which means there are still elements of Dragon Ball FighterZ that need to be ironed out and that’s what I’ll be discussing about today. I will, of course, be discussing the available roster, the graphics, the connectivity of the battles and any other things that may have tickled my fancy.

The first thing I noted when I began the Dragon Ball FighterZ Closed Beta was that you only have access to the online section of the game. This means the majority of the matches will be online against other opponents in your local region. The regions you can choose from include Europe, Asia, America, etc., I chose Europe and then was given the option of which area of Europe. I went with the UK because sadly Ireland wasn’t a choice but that’s a minor nitpick. Once you enter the lobby you get to choose your player ID and your avatar, the avatars available during the beta were all the available characters in the beta, the list of available avatars and characters can be seen below. You can also choose your team of three, the area which you battle in and the BGM of the arena. I went with Goku and set out to explore the lobby and it’s a fascinating place. The design is an amalgamation of several famous locations from Dragon Ball history including Kame House, the Cell Arena, King Kai’s House and several others. They all surround one arena where players avatars can be seen battling each other and design wise it is quite engaging and visually arresting. After taking this all in I began the first match and was waiting for about a minute or two, which is a decent waiting period, and then was thrust into my first Dragon Ball FighterZ battle.

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What first strikes you about the gameplay of Dragon Ball FighterZ is its speed and ferocity, within a few minutes of my first match I had lost my first character and was on my way to losing my second. There is a steep learning curve when entering the arena and you’ll rarely find any player offering you a chance to catch your breath. Thankfully though once you gain a semblance of understanding the mechanics of the game you will quickly learn the basics and if you build on those foundations and stick with it you’ll go far.

Many of the characters have a similar move set but this is, for the most part, their basic attack combos. When you want to do something more intricate and devastating to your opponent that is where the style of each character shines. Goku, for example is the everyman character, his moves are nothing extraordinary but he has several variations of the iconic Kamehameha that can devastate opponents. If you want to understand the basics of the game before going for more complex combatants Goku is a perfect choice.

On the other side of the spectrum is his best bud Krillin who has a move set that includes his own version of the Kamehameha as well as his Destructo Disc technique and then he has a special attack where he fires an energy blast at the opponent that then flies up into the air and showers down on the battlefield making it difficult for your opponent to dodge. It’s this kind of ingenuity in the gameplay that allows each character to feel unique.

On the topic of unique there isn’t a more “unique” fighter than Majin Buu. He is a slow damage dealer who has some of the most ridiculous moves in the game (thus far). His blast attack is a pink cloud that he fires from his mouth, but easily his most disturbing yet fun techniques is his chocolate beam attack where he shoots a beam from his head that transforms the opponent into chocolate which he then eats. What makes this so disturbing is if the opponent is dealt enough damage by the attack they are swallowed by Buu instead of spat back out and it’s a nice touch that adds a devastatingly funny element to his attack style.

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Few of the characters transformed in the Dragon Ball FighterZ Closed Beta; this is notable as the Dragon Ball franchise is rife with transformations. The two notable transformations come from Goku and Frieza, Goku goes Super Saiyan 3 for one of his special attacks but then immediately transforms back to Super Saiyan which is a shame because I love the Super Saiyan 3 form. Thankfully Frieza can access his Golden form and when that happens he gains an increase in strength and speed, this does not last forever though and when Frieza transforms back to normal he is momentarily vulnerable.

I should say at this point that I played the Dragon Ball FighterZ Closed Beta on the PlayStation 4 and though I heard that the Xbox One version hit several issues during the weekend I only had to worry about connectivity issues once or twice. The beta did go down for twenty minutes on Saturday but the Bandai Namco team had it set up that during the maintenance period players could play trial matches against the A.I and these matches were excellent opportunities to get to know the rest of the roster and hone the skills of my chosen few combatants.

Ultimately the impression I came away from the Dragon Ball FighterZ Closed Beta is a positive one. Dragon Ball FighterZ gives every indication of being a brilliant game, the fights are kinetic and brimming with energy. The graphics are some of the best I’ve seen, the stylistic choice makes it look like the characters are ripped right from the manga pages and most importantly I want to come back to this arena and spar once again because Dragon Ball FighterZ is going to change the game when it comes out in February next year.

If you’re interested and why wouldn’t you be you’ve read this far into the article check out this link to see the goodies you can get if you pre-order the game and if you were as lucky as I was to try out the Dragon Ball FighterZ Closed Beta what were your impressions? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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