Dragon Ball FighterZ Season 3 revealed: 5 new characters, massive changes to gameplay, and more

When fans started complaining that the gameplay of Dragon Ball FighterZ was getting a bit stale, Bandai Namco, Arc System Works, and producer Tomoki Hiroki took it to heart. During the Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour 2020 Finals, Hiroki released a video message not only confirming DBFZ season 3, but detailing several ways that it will reinvent the game, keeping it fresh for the general public and introducing new balance changes to keep the hardcore and tournament player bases happy. Of course, we are also going to be getting quite a few new characters.

Assists

One of the biggest problems with DBFZ was its assists. Every character got only one assist. If your character’s assist was bad, then that was it. Your character was trash. MAYBE you could include one character with good fundamentals on a team full of characters with great assists, but there was no need considering there was plenty of the roster that had both great fundamentals and great assists. This is why you would constantly see characters with beam assists, or assist that track the opponent rounding out the roster.

To fix that, DBFZ has taken a page out of Marvel vs. Capcom’s playbook and given every character three assists to fool around with. Every character that has access to a beam now seems to have a beam as an assist. Krillin? Check. Yamcha? Check. The days of choosing a character simply because they have a beam is over.

But what about tracking assists? The design team appears to have thought of this as well. There is a new “type” of assist, a golden assist, where a character comes in, poses for a brief second and flashes gold, and then teleports directly to the opponent to execute some attack. This means that a good portion of the roster now has tracking assists. No need to choose Gotenks just for his donuts anymore.

Here are a few of the new assists shown off in Hiroki’s gameplay video:

  • Adult Gohan – Masenko
  • Base Vegeta – “Dirty Fireworks” the last hit of his auto-combo followed by a falling knee
  • Beerus – God of Destruction’s Wrath followed by a Vanishing Attack
  • Captain Ginyu – Ginyu Force Call
  • Cell – Perfect Attack, centered on the opponent’s position
  • Frieza – Death Ball
  • Hit – Time Release, centered on the opponent’s position
  • Krillin – Kamehameha
  • Piccolo – Demon Shocker
  • SSGSS Goku – Divine Voice Strike (Charging Elbow)
  • SSJ Goku – Final two hits of his auto combo followed by a teleport dragon punch centered on the opponent’s position
  • SSJ Vegeta – EX Crushing Knee Kick
  • Tien – Chiaotzu Telekenesis
  • Trunks – Masenko
  • Yamcha – Kamehameha

U.I changes

A few U.I. changes have been made, mostly for quality of use purposes. The character select screen has been changed to make room for several more characters, for example.

There is a new bar above the timer that shows the amount of total team life left for each player. This makes it unambiguous who will win should the time count down to zero.

Meters are now broken up into four segments per level. It’s possible that this means certain techniques, like golden assists, EX moves, and so on, will now cost portions of a meter instead of a full bar.

New characters – Kefla and Ultra Instinct Goku

Of course, any new season comes with new characters. Ultra Instinct Goku had already been datamined for some time, but this was our first official look at him. He seems very counter oriented, able to effectively “stop time” while hit in a counter state, and then strike back. Ultra Instinct Goku is planned to release sometime in the spring.

On top of that we also got a trailer for Kefla, and thank god. DBFZ is such a sausage fest, largely because the Dragon Ball franchise itself is a sausage fest. We will cheer for any chance for a female fighter to enter the roster. We got Videl last season, but we have been saying that Kefla was such an obvious choice for years now. It’s good to see them finally get in, and play like a sort of smaller, faster Broly. Kefla will be available for download on February 28. It’s not clear if she will be paid or free DLC.

Balance and mechanics

There are lots of small changes to DBFZ’s systems that were shown off in the video that should make the game feel quite different in season 3.

The first is the Ki Charge, and ability that is largely ignored by the competitive community. Now it has a different function. While charging your ki, you become completely invulnerable to basic projectiles (non-beams). It still probably starts and ends a bit too slowly to be used in a competitive match, but with a few adjustments to frame data, this could be a decent response to anyone spamming you with projectiles or playing a keep away game.

Snapbacks have been changed to give the attacker less time between opposing characters switching in and out after they land. In fact, new characters come in almost instantly. This helps keep the pace of battle while simultaneously removing several oppressive snapback setups that were dominating high-level play.

A few changes have been made to take away “fuzzy guard” setups as well. Quick explanation, if a character blocks a move while standing, they are locked into their standing block animation until their blockstun ends, even if they are blocking low. With the right combination of attacks, you can force someone into a stand block, throw out a low, and then while they are in the same block-stun, throw out a jumping attack that only hits because they are still standing, creating a very rapid high-low mix-up that can only be hit on, say, big characters. This made some characters, like Broly, completely unviable, as they had to block mix-ups that no other character had.

In Hiroki’s gameplay video, we see a fuzzy guard setup that totally whiffs. Broly is locked into a standing animation but Bardock’s jumping punch just passes right through him, even though it looks like it should have connected. This might mean that fuzzied characters have hit-boxes and collision boxes that mimic their crouching state even though their animation shows them to be standing, or it might be some even more complex balancing mechanic. Either way, Hiroki said that they ae implementing several changes to prevent players from choosing characters solely based on their character size.

A small comeback mechanic has been added which grants your final character an extra bar when coming in. It’s not completely clear if this extends to your final character or any time a character dies. Still, this means you are never caught without meter with just one character remaining.

Unfortunately, that’s all we could tell from the very short look we were given at the DBFZ World Tour. Luckily, Bandai Namco has said that they will be unveiling much more information about the coming season in the near future. With Kefla coming out so soon, we can safely assume that many major season 3 changes will be coming out with her. February 28th isn’t that far away, so stay tuned.