Dragon Ball FighterZ was one of my favorite fighting games of all time in 2018. The game quenched my thirst for a 3v3 style fighting game, that I adored, from Marvel vs. Capcom. It brought my favorite anime character to life with beautiful animation and detail. The game introduced so many new people into the fighting game world with its easy to learn controls and combos. It was one of the first 2D fighting games that I would play in a tournament, which would inevitably lead me to play other fighting games. This game was a gateway into the fighting game genre for me, yet for a while, I’ve felt bored of it.
Sadly, my interest in Dragon Ball FighterZ would simmer away in mid-2019. After a solid year of grinding the game, I started to feel frustration rather than the excitement that got me to play the game in the first place. Mind you this is not due to lack of support from the developers, far from it.
FighterZ has received several updates over the years adding new characters and changing up parts of the gameplay. However, these updates were sparse and only ended up changing a few things that I felt should’ve been in the initial game. The game never felt new. It never felt like my strategy had to change. Sometimes there would be a patch that changed some integral mechanics, but these changes never affected the play-style I had at the beginning of the game.
That all changed with season 3 which shook up the gameplay in completely new ways. First off, I would like to start with my favorite part of this season, the extra assists. Assists are when the player calls a character in the sidelines to attack with a special move. Before Season 3 every character was restricted into having one assist. Some assists were great such as Super Saiyan Vegeta launching a flurry of ki blasts that were great in keeping pressure or Super Saiyan Goku’s assist being a great projectile. Not all assists were made equal. For example, Krillin’s assist had him throwing a small rock. While there’s a small chance for him to throw a Senzu Bean to heal a character, it was an unreliable assist for combos or pressure. For me, I hated Adult Gohan’s assists being an uppercut because it was difficult to combo and use properly.
Super Saiyan Goku’s assist is a great projectile
With several assists being better than others, some players would solely pick characters with good assists since they are so important in the middle of gameplay. Now in Season 3, every single character has three assists to pick from. They are separated into assist A, B, and C. The C assist is considered to be the best. Most have the characters teleport to the opponent or launch a projectile and if their attack hits they will combo the opponent allowing the player to follow-up with their combo. These are considered to the “best” assists out of the others with the huge drawback of being slower to recharge once used. Assists A and B are regular assists (with A being the originals) that are faster to use than C assists.
Catching my opponent off-guard with a C assist
For the longest time, I have been struggling to find any team optimal unless they have a character with a good assist. I was always unhappy that other teams had a better assist than me just because of a single character. Now with these extra assists, I feel like I’m at an even playing field with other teams. With these new options, I can finally come up with new block strings, combos, and strategies that would have never been possible before season 3. I can now play with my current team without the need to pick a character I don’t like for their assist. This is by far the best addition to season 3 in my opinion.
Fuzzies were also removed from the game. Before Season 3, a character would be able to perform an instant overhead when a jumping character rose with an attack. This was a problem for tall characters as they would easily be hit with overheads that can be used to start a long combo. Now that it’s gone, taller characters now have fewer disadvantages than before.
Dragon Rush, aka grabs, was also changed. When a character was caught by a Dragon Rush and force switched a character in, it allowed for easy pressure from the attacker. This was possible because the character forced out would switch in the exact same time and place every time. Now in Season 3, when a character is force switched in the defending player can decide if they want to appear sooner or later by holding back. This helps give the defending player options and prevents constant pressure from the opponent. There’s also an option to immediately go into a Dragon Rush after a light jab. This allows the player to change up their block string and prevents the game from being a block fest.
Using a light jab into a Dragon Rush
Powered-up moves in Season 3 now cost half a bar to use. In the past, powered-up moves required a full bar to use. I didn’t get why they cost one bar as their effects were not that powerful and you were better off saving a bar to use a super move. Now that the powered-up moves are half a bar, many characters can reliably use these moves while still having enough to use supers. By costing half a bar these powered-up moves allow for even bigger combos and give players an incentive to use them.
Using a power
I know there are many more additions that Season 3 introduced such as a new comeback mechanic and the new characters, but I wanted to focus on what brought me back to Dragon Ball FighterZ. My first time playing FighterZ Season 3 was during Fight Night Round 12 and I enjoyed every second of it. Being able to string up new combos and block strings in new and creative ways helped make the game feel new to me. It’s not perfect though. There are still some mechanics I’m not a fan of such as Super Dash or auto-combos being common. However, in its current state, I’m perfectly fine with how DBFZ is right now. If you haven’t played FighterZ in a while, I would give this game a second chance.
Kira and I playing FigherZ at Fight Night