Dragon Ball: Sparking Zero is like controlling an anime battle


This could really be a one sentence preview. I had the opportunity to play a solid dozen matches (against the CPU) in Battle Mode, one of several different modes in Dragon Ball: Sparking Zero, the upcoming fighting game built around DBZ’s most famed and recognizable heroes and villains. Here’s the key phrase: I totally feel like I’m taking part in a battle from a legendary anime. This is both the most obvious thing I can say about it and the exact sentence I think most DBZ fans would like to hear.

Once you’ve chosen your fighter – and there are dozens of variations of well-known characters – you choose one of over half a dozen stages in which you do battle, learn your special moves, and then enter the arena. And once you get there, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re watching an anime episode. The cel-shaded visuals blend perfectly with the show, and the animation equally helps to make you believe that your eyes are looking at a pre-recorded episode of a TV show rather than a real-time interactive experience.

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Once you start moving and attacking, the game really feels like a Dragon Ball battle compared to a conventional one-on-one 2D plane fighting game. Not only can you fly wherever you want – including launching yourself quite high into the air with a press of the left arm button – but you can quickly and easily launch environmentally damaging attacks like Goku’s Meteor Strike, which will turn half a cliff into a pile of dust in the blink of an eye. The goal, the folks at Bandai Namco told me, was to make players feel as powerful as possible.

If you choose Custom Battle, you can set very unique victory conditions, giving you the added opportunity to recreate your favorite anime confrontations, whether you’re fighting Piccolo, Radditz, or one of dozens of other characters. I scrolled down the list and discovered that there were a truly amazing number of options. Bandai Namco was also quick to note that local multiplayer would be available on day one for both early access and the official release of DBSZ 1.0.

After just a dozen matches with the CPU, it became clear to me that Dragon Ball superfans who are particularly good at fighting games – or those who plan to practice a lot with Sparking Zero – will have a great time crushing their competition.

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