Dragon Ball FighterZ Open Beta Impressions

Over the past three days, I’ve spent multiple hours a day with the Dragon Ball FighterZ open beta. Some moments fun, some frustrating, all I’d like to share with you today. I believe the best way to go about this is to review my experiences day by day.

 

January 13th, 2018 (Early access portion)

I stayed up until midnight on the thirteenth, waiting to get into the early access portion. Imagine my surprise when I was greeted with server maintenance issues. After an hour of failed attempts, I swore to just try in the morning. When waking up, I found the issues had been fixed, however I did not have access to participate in the early portion. I was dumbfounded, as I had pre-ordered the standard edition digitally a week prior to the beta’s launch. I reached out to Bandai Namco on Twitter about the issue, to no response.

January 14th, 2018 (First day for full public access)

The next day I shook off the negative emotions that gripped me during early access. “I’ll just work with the game today and maybe tomorrow.” I assured myself. After hopping on, I was no longer greeted with an access denied message, but a whole new beast all together. After pressing “Play Game” I was met with the message “Failed to Initialize Network”. I attempted to join the game a few more times, before abandoning the game once more, only to come back a few hours later to the same issues.

It wasn’t until late that evening (roughly 7:00PM EST) that I was finally able to play Dragon Ball FighterZ. After selecting your region, you’re asked to join a lobby. Quickly, the issues that plagued the first day were shown, as multiple lobbies along the east coast were filled to the maximum (64 players per lobby). Lobby after lobby rendered at maximum capacity, until I was finally able to join. Upon joining, you create a FighterZ ID, your online username. After that you’re allowed to explore the lobby, participating in ranked and casual matches, the tutorial, replays, and the ranking system. Naturally, I headed straight to the ranked match option and found opponents rather quickly. The games started running well, graphics were clean and crisp, the action was fluid, and I was genuinely enjoying myself. That is, until after the fourth or fifth match. After that I was placed back into the lobby, where I continued searching for a match. Waiting, indefinitely for a challenger who would never arrive. To make matters worse, the community in the lobby cannot communicate with one another, outside of stamps that have pre-written statements such as “Thank you”, “Fight me”, and “Okay!” (though I believe those statements didn’t seem to matter, as my opponents were chosen at random). I spent roughly an hour between waiting for opponents that never showed, and playing some of the game’s tutorials.

FighterZ’s tutorials are a good way to learn some of the games more nuanced mechanics (supers, reflecting attacks, and of course, the Dragon Ball mechanic), however they could be improved on. In the tutorials, enemies still take damage (as your last challenge is defeating whomever remains with the skills you were just taught), however if you don’t complete the task at hand (such as collecting all seven Dragon Balls and summoning Shenron) the tutorial is incomplete, and you have to start over. While this isn’t a major inconvenience, it is a feature that feels odd in a fighting game.

January 15th, 2018 (Public’s second, and final day of testing for this period)

After coming home, I found some free time, and after reading about other’s newfound enjoyment of the beta after a recent update, I decided to see for myself. I’m happy to report that the beta runs wonderfully as of now. Waiting time has been drastically reduced to five to ten minutes maximum, and I’ve had no performance issues (aside from getting kicked from the lobby once after a match, and a poor connection or two).

While matches are slow, they still retain a controlled chaos feeling to them. Presentation is stunning, popping with color and detail that recreate the series in marvelous ways. Gameplay, while simple, is still entertaining enough to spend time with. A fine balance has been reached between the causal and competitive market so far, that novices can hold their own, even though skill and timing will be the deciding factor of a bout. The final day of this beta (at the time of this writing) leaves me hopeful for FighterZ’s launch.

However, this does not mean that the game can do no wrong. Server issues with the large number of players during the first day have me worried for how the servers will fair when the game launches with all of its content (less than two weeks away). Bandai Namco has addressed fans asking for an extension, revealing that there will be another 24 hour beta period (though the date is still unknown at the time of this writing).

Only time will tell how well the latest installment of the beloved anime series will fair. Dragon Ball Fighter Z launches January 26th on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

If you’d like to see some footage of the beta on its second day, click here to watch our quick look.

 

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