Dragon Ball FighterZ at Gamescom Part 1: The New Characters
Gamescom is going down this week in Germany, and Dragon Ball Fighter Z was one of the most popular games at the show. The new Gamescom build of the game brought us a whopping five new characters, with information about two more coming down the line. Let’s take a look at these new roster additions and their move-lists.
Trunks is an incredibly aggressive character that has problems dealing damage. He has no supers in the air, making it difficult for him to finish out long combos, however, he has a ton of mix-up tools that allow him to get in shorter combos and resets.
He has a sword lunch special that lets him travel across the screen quickly while simultaneously knocking down the opponent. When covered by an assist, it makes for a decent approach.
He also has a command jump, allowing him to cancel any normal into either a forward or backward leap. This lets him stay safe after blocked strings and go for cross-ups after short combos.
His level 3 super is a command grab, the only special grab he has in his whole moveset and his most damaging attack. If the opponent gets used to your tricks and starts blocking your mix-ups, you’ll end up throwing this in every once in a while to keep them honest.
Trunks will make a fantastic point character. He’s good at hitting the opponent and avoiding hits himself, but bad at dealing damage. That’s what the smash attack is for. After successfully connecting, Trunks will want to tag in to another character with more damaging moves and supers. This allows him to best capitalize on his powerful mix-up tools.
Krillin is best described as a “utility” character. He has a variety of unique and bizarre special moves that force the opponent into strange situations.
Krillin’s ki blasts are different from the rest of the cast’s. Instead of firing a barrage straight at the opponent, Krillin’s blasts can curve up or down. He can also fire a ki blast straight down with enough force to send him airborne. This is an extremely useful instant overhead. He is also the only character in the game who can jump while charging a Kamehameha, and can use the Solar Flare to stagger enemies.
Krillin also has the ability to… throw rocks. Yes, in fights filled with flying super heroes firing energy beams from their fists, Krillin is willing to just throw a rock. The rock does very little damage and travels slowly and in a high arc. However, it does not count as a ki blast, so it cannot be deflected nor can it be canceled by another projectile. The opponent has to either block it or avoid it.
He can also send a shadow copy at himself at the opponent, similar to Hibiki Kohaku in BlazBlue: Centralfiction. Each button sends the clone at a different trajectory and tapping or holding the button determines whether the clone is the “real” Krillin, or if the real Krillin stays behind.
Krillin’s supers are also somewhat bizarre. His standard beam super curves up into the air whether it hits or not, raining down on the opponent shortly thereafter. His Destructo Disc super is blockable, unlike Frieza’s, however he can spend extra bars of meter to send out multiple disks at once giving this super the potential to be one of the most damaging supers in the game.
But Krillin’s real utility is in his assist. When you call Krillin in he will do one of three things. He will either A) throw a fireball that will travel in a random trajectory, B) throw a rock, or C) toss you a Senzu Bean. Senzu Beans heal your character for 25 percent of their health and Krillin can throw three over the course of a match.
Krillin isn’t going to be the damage dealer on any team, true to his character from the anime. Instead, he will act as a zoner, slowly harassing the opponent and whittling down their life. His main appeal, however, is his potential to throw a Senzu Bean as an assist. Using all three gives you nearly an entire extra character of health to play with, without even counting the extra health you can regenerate by tagging out.
Piccolo’s main purpose can be described as area denial. Instead of basic ki projectiles, his special button lets him stretch his arms out for long range grabs. On the ground this pulls the opponent toward Piccolo but in the air it pulls Piccolo toward the opponent to continue combos.
He has a limited amount of projectile attacks and none are basic beams. He can fire a slow moving ball which gives him instant pressure, and a quick half screen shock which really acts as a stand-in for a poke. As far as projectile supers go, his light grenade is the closest thing to a traditional damage dealer. Far more useful is his Hellzone Grenade which lets you set up a swarm of projectiles around the screen, only to have them descend on the opponent at a later time. Finally, Piccolo’s move-set wouldn’t be complete without the Special Beam Cannon, his only true beam. When fired instantly its damage is pitiful, however Piccolo can charge the attack, teleporting around the screen as he does. At full charge it does incredible damage for very little meter expenditure, but you’ll have to use assists to open the opponent up or else it will be easily blocked.
Piccolo’s final special moves are all physical attacks. The first is a dashing move which crosses up the opponent before delivering an attack. This is very easily interrupted and has no invincibility, so be sure to use it at the end of attack strings when the opponent is stuck in block-stun. The EX version crosses up but then teleports back to the original side to attack, creating a fake cross-up that is very hard to see through.
His other physical special is both an overhead and a parry at the same time. He takes a stance and then teleports to the sky to deliver a crushing downward strike. During the stance he will parry any move that comes his way. If he does, the follow-up strike is guaranteed to hit.
Piccolo excels at the neutral game. He deals decent damage and has tons of tools to keep the opponent from moving around. While his combos may not be very long, he can very easily play a harassment and zoning game and switch to a mix-up game on characters that get defensive. He’s an all-around character that plays just a bit more uniquely than other all-arounders like Goku and Vegeta.
Android 18 (and 17)
If it wasn’t obvious, Android 18 is a puppet character. She has the ability to call in Android 17 to do any version of her physical special attacks. This allows her to attack from multiple angles while keeping herself covered.
In terms of projectiles, 18 plays like any other character. She can throw a Destructo Disk as a basic projectile and her special button fire a ki barrage. Her projectile super is a bit unique though. Instead of firing a beam forward she teleports above the opponent and fires a beam straight down. It’s decently damaging, but hard to combo into.
Her physical specials are a variety of kicks and smashes that, for the most part, appear to be combo filler. As I said before, 18’s main strength is the ability to call in 17 to do these specials for her. This not only allows her to attack the enemy from different angles, it also allows her to move slightly quicker than she would if she performed the specials herself. This allows her to string together slightly longer combos that other members of the cast.
Her most interesting special is her barrier special which also happens to be her assist. This causes her to erect a green barrier around herself which will absorb one hit as ki for your meter. Think of it like Phoenix Wright’s ability to use Maya’s Shield in UMVC3. It serves the same purpose here. Calling in 17 (or 18 as an assist) allows you to absorb one hit as a sort of pseudo parry, letting you freely counter attack.
However, the coolest aspect of 18’s design is her ultimate attack. It’s a pretty standard auto-combo super which results in her and 17 barraging the opponent with punches and kicks before sandwiching them between two beams. However, if you put 18 on the same team as Krillin, then he will join her in the attack instead of 17 for some husband and wife action.
Finally we have Android 16, the grappler of the game. If you’ve played other grapplers, you know what to expect here. He’s big, he’s slow, but he hits like a truck.
Android 16 has basically no projectile game. He can shoot off his fists as rocket punches, but they are essentially the same as any other character’s ki barrage and he can only do it twice before stopping. He only has one beam super and it involves firing a beam straight down into the ground, making it awful as a zoning tool. In short, Android 16 has absolutely no game at range, and you shouldn’t expect to play him that way.
Many of Android 16’s normals either have a ton of range or move him toward the opponent. The best way to approach with 16 would be to cover him with assists and use his homing attack. Once you are in, combo into a grab. Much like The King of Fighters series, Android 16 can throw opponents in hit-stun and chain grabs together. Since many of his grabs knock the opponent down, it’s worth comboing into them even if it costs you a bit of damage proration.
Android 16’s specials are simple. He has three varieties of ground grab and three varieties of anti-air grab. Each different grab throws the opponent in a different trajectory. One throws them across the screen, for example, while another plants them on the ground right in front of 16’s feet. Android 16’s grabs can also hit a knocked down opponent, as can his super grabs. It’s not uncommon to see 16 throw the opponent into the air, use an anti-air grab to bring them to the ground, and then use a super grab on them while they are on the ground. All of these grabs do massive damage.
16’s most unique ability allows him to self-destruct. When activating this ability, 16 does a brief pose before slowly lunging at the opponent. While lunging 16 is completely invulnerable, giving the opponent no choice but to dodge. If 16 makes contact with the opponent, he grabs onto them and detonates the bomb in his body, instantly killing them and reducing himself to 1HP. This health can then be restored via a Sparking Burst, Senzu Bean, or simply by sitting in reserve, however he is only able to use this move once. Since it is easily avoided, self-destructing will likely be used either as a counter attack or a last-ditch Hail Mary to win the game. Look forward to some hype EVO moments featuring this move.
Super Saiyan Blue Goku and Vegeta
Finally, two more characters were announced for the game: Super Saiyan Blue Goku and Super Saiyan Blue Vegeta. These are the only two “clone” characters Bandai Namco is putting into the game. Pre-ordering the game allows you to “early unlock” them, which means that they can likely be unlocked in-game somehow, or possibly will be available as DLC. SSB Goku is described as a character that is extremely fast, so fast that only very skilled players can control him effectively. Meanwhile SSB Vegeta is considered the ultimate glass canon, prioritizing power but sporting poor defense and low health. Unfortunately, we only got to see trailer gameplay for both characters. It appears as if they fit the "clone" mold perfectly. Their normals are exactly the same as their standard counterparts but their specials and super vary wildly. Unfortunately, it's difficult to get a feel of how either plays with just the quick 30 seconds of gameplay that were shown.
Check back for part two of our Gamescom coverage when we tackle new system mechanics and changes from the EVO build.