We're not 100% sure, but we dare say Dragon Ball is one of if not the biggest license adapted into our medium. There are a ton of video games out there inspired by this massive Japanese anime, this due to a level of popularity that has gripped several generations of fans. In recent years, those fans have had Dragon Ball Xenoverse 1 and 2 as good examples of games drawn from the universe, but Dragon Ball FighterZ is something different. Here the priorities are the combat system, gameplay, and graphics. As soon as the game was revealed at E3 17, it seemed to have the potential to be something special, and the multiple beta tests that took place over the last couple of months helped reinforce that notion. However, now that we have played the final version we can confirm that FighterZ has spectacular graphics and fun gameplay, but in terms of content, it's somewhat lacking.
The game manages to deliver the acceptable minimum, presenting a story mode, online gameplay, and an arcade mode, all integrated into an online hub (which also works offline). It's enough to keep players busy, but if you're coming from Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, you will miss the vast amount of content included in that game, including the character roster. The most important names are here - Goku, Vegeta, Piccolo, Cell, Gohan - and there are also some more recent fighters like Beerus, Hit, and Goku Black. There is even a completely original fighter in the form of Android 21.
It's a reasonable list, but it's far from the most complete we've seen in a saga game. Many of the secondary characters are absent, and the various forms of some of the fighters have also been left out. You cannot play with 'normal' Goku, or with the several Cell and Frieza forms. There are some transformations in the game, like Goku SSJ3, but they happen as part of a special move and disappear as soon as the action ends. This limited character roster, and the inability to transform characters during combat, will definitely disappoint some players.
Then we have the story mode, which was our biggest disappointment with the game. It's a completely original narrative, so kudos on that, which focuses on how mysterious waves of energy stole the power from almost every fighter on the planet. Only those who have within them an "unknown soul" (the player) can have their power back. The story is told through sequences between fights using in-game graphics, but the script is weak and childish, although not unlike the formula we've seen from the saga in the past. What is strange is the fact that the animations in these sequences are lacking fluidity, almost as if it's missing frames. The narrative also includes the appearance of evil clones all over the world, clones inspired by the various characters in the game. These are clones that end up serving as your main enemies in the story mode, meaning you repeatedly fight the same opponents over and over again.
The story mode is divided into three arcs which tell the same story but from different perspectives. When you finish the first arc, you will still have many questions, questions which will be answered in the following arcs.
Each chapter includes a map that works as a board where several pieces are positioned. One is the main fight to advance the story, but there are also secondary encounters where you can win items and battles that allow you to unlock additional characters. The number of steps the player can take on this board is limited, but we always had enough steps to accomplish most of the goals without problems. Sometimes extra battles come up after you've started roaming the map, and these give you advantages if you win them, but they're too easy. Unless we missed something, there is no way to change the difficulty in the story mode, and as it stands we managed to win the overwhelming majority of the fights without losing health. There are some that serve as tutorials, but even those that aren't tutorials, and battles against characters many levels above ours, were ridiculously easy.
This removes any tension from the story mode since it didn't really require any effort on our part. Maybe something is missing, an obscure option we didn't find, or maybe Arc System Works is preparing changes in the day one patch (which we didn't have access to), but what we've played was too easy. On top of that, the story was uninteresting, and the fights were very repetitive. In other words, it should be easy to understand why we were so disappointed with Dragon Ball FighterZ's story mode.
We ended up enjoying Arcade mode the most. Here the difficulty was better balanced and it got more challenging as we progressed. There are three variants of the Arcade mode - with three, five, and seven matches - and each has a hard mode for anyone looking for a bigger challenge.