Some of my fondest memories while I was a teenager were of playing Dragon Ball Z: Budokai on the Nintendo GameCube with my brother. Color me surprised when Bandai Namco decided to release Dragon Ball FighterZ for the Nintendo Switch. It’s the perfect fighting game for the system though. Not only is it incredibly fun, but it’s very accessible to newcomers of the fighting genre and veterans alike. It’s the kind of game you can pick up and play on the go as well, taking advantage of the Switch’s portability. Not only that, it’s probably the best Dragon Ball fighting game of all time, and one of the best fighting games of this generation. The story is excellent, there are numerous control options not found on any other system, and there are a plethora of game modes and collectibles to be found. The Nintendo Switch version of Dragon Ball FighterZ is the definitive version of Bandai Namco’s classic fighting game.


One of the unique features of the Nintendo Switch version of Dragon Ball FighterZ is the sheer amount of controller options; you can play with the Joy-Cons, a single Joy-Con, or use the Pro Controller. From the get-go, you have the option of playing with simple controls or normal controls. Playing with just one Joy-Con simplifies the controls even more, making the game accessible to all. You can even use simple controls in online mode, which is a nice touch. Simple controls aren’t that much different from the normal controls, but switching between the two is difficult because you get used to either one or the other.

Dragon Ball FighterZ features a roster of 32 characters from the Dragon Ball universe, and all of them have their own unique moveset. You have the choice of three characters to select and can both receive assists from them and rotate between them during battle. Each character has their strengths and weaknesses, so choosing the right character to match your opponent is pertinent.

There are both standard attacks and special moves, along with counters. Special moves and counters take up Ki. The more you attack, the more Ki you accumulate. You can also charge your Ki, but this leaves you vulnerable, so you have to be careful. You’re usually fine while playing against the CPU, but when playing online, it could make or break a match. Once you get caught up in a combo from your opponent, it can be incredibly difficult to break out of their constant barrage of attacks. There were some matches where I got caught up in a massive combo and was then hit with the enemy’s ultimate move and it literally ended as a “flawless victory.” While that is frustrating, when you’re the one pulling off an endless string of attacks, it’s incredibly satisfying. It’s even better when you end the match with your ultimate move, as your opponent is literally blown to the heavens.

Game Modes

Dragon Ball FighterZ is broken down into several different game modes: Story Mode, Local Matches, World Matches, Arcade Mode, Party Matches, and Arena Mode. In World Matches, you can participate in either casual or ranked matches. In ranked matches, you earn Battle Points, which help determine your place in the leaderboards based on how much BP you accumulate each month. There is a second leaderboard that is determined by the number of wins a player attains each month. The leaderboards are determined solely by your performance in ranked matches.

Casual matches are a good way to warm up but can be equally as difficult at times. Online play runs very smoothly and there aren’t any performance issues, but sometimes it can take a while to find a match. When this happens, you can always go to the Arena and participate in arena matches against other players in the lobby, which are pretty instantaneous. In party matches, you’re randomly teamed up with five other players to form two teams of three. Each player controls just one character, and only the player currently in control can initiate switches.  In Local Matches, you can either play against a single opponent or play in a tournament with up to 16 players. This is a lot of fun and even if you can’t fill the 16-player maximum, you can even it out with CPUs (you have to if you have less than four player-controlled participants.) It’s perfect for getting together with your friends and given the social nature of the Switch, takes advantage of the system’s capabilities.

Dragon Ball FighterZ Nintendo Switch Review

Arcade Mode and Story Mode are my two favorite modes in the game. In Arcade Mode, you advance through one of three courses. The better your score, the more difficult the opponents become. Getting an S in each match can definitely be a challenge, but it’s very rewarding and takes you on an increasingly difficult path. There is also a hard mode for Arcade Mode. It’s a ton of fun, a great way to get experience, and gives the game infinite replayability, especially given it has a hard mode as well.

Dragon Ball FighterZ Nintendo Switch Review

Story Mode is classic Dragon Ball. The story is whacky, the cinematics are pristine, and it incrementally teaches you how to play the game. It’s highly recommended that everyone begin with Story Mode first. Story Mode is split into three separate arcs, similar to an anime series/manga. A unique twist on the story is that the player literally takes on the role of the character by way of soul transference. The voice acting is exactly the same as the anime, making it incredibly authentic. When it comes to gameplay, story mode is set up with a number of different “spaces”, like with a board game. You have a limited amount of “turns” per map. Some matches offer you tutorials which teach you the basics of combat while others offer you abilities that you can later equip. Each map has a final boss and there are numerous rescue scenarios where you gain new party members. Story Mode can get a bit repetitive at times, but it’s a lot of fun and it’s worth it for the cutscenes alone.

One of the Best Fighting Games of This Generation

Dragon Ball FighterZ Nintendo Switch Review

There’s no doubt about it: Dragon Ball FighterZ is one of the best fighting games of this generation. It has infinite replayability value with numerous game modes that you could spend hundreds of hours on. It’s also the perfect game to play on the go, as matches are short, and you can simply pick it up, play a few matches, and put it down. It’s the definitive version of Dragon Ball FighterZ and the Switch version looks just as good as the other versions of the game.

With superb online play with leaderboards, a whacky-but-fun campaign, a challenging Arcade Mode, and local play with tournaments that can include up to 16 players, you could not ask more for an anime-inspired brawler, especially one set in the beloved Dragon Ball universe.

Dragon Ball FighterZ Nintendo Switch Review
Dragon Ball FighterZ is one of the bester fighting games of this generation with an excellent story mode and a plethora of things to do, giving it infinite replay value. It is also accessible to both those who are accustomed to fighting games and those who are not and is the definitive version of Dragon Ball FighterZ.
Overall Score9.5
  • Variety of control options making the game accessible to newcomers and veterans alike
  • Fun story mode with excellent cinematic and a plethora of various game modes giving the game infinite deployability
  • Online play is smooth and goes off without a hitch
  • Story Mode can get a bit repetitive
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)

About The Author


Morgan Lewis is a Video Game Journalist and is the Founder, Owner, and Editor-in-Chief of VGCultureHQ. He has been writing about games for over six years and has written over 2,000 articles during that timespan. He first fell in love with gaming when he received A Link to the Past for Christmas when he was six and is the guywazeldatatt. He also loves anime and anything that has to do with gaming culture and Tetsuya Takahashi games. He is also a huge anime and Star Wars fan.

Related Posts