Over the weekend players got to spend time with Dragon Ball FighterZ during an open test beta. It turns out the game still looks gorgeous and, if you’re huge fan of the source material, even has pre and post-fight scenes that reenact the anime.
While most of Dragon Ball FighterZ’s fight introductions are quick and don’t have dialogue, others are quite involved. The Dragon Ball anime is a soap opera in which characters settle their feuds by standing in place and grunting for long periods of time before dueling at lightning speed for a few minutes every other episode, and these little callbacks help the game condense multi-generational beefs into digestible mini-scenes.
For example, Lord Beerus, God of Destruction is a cat who’s so powerful he’s almost always bored because there’s no one strong enough to fight him. As such, Dragon Ball FighterZ gives him a dozen different ways of yawningly greeting his opponent every time he’s about to fight, no matter who it is.
More iconic and harder to trigger scenes include what happens when someone playing Teen Gohan faces someone playing Cell on the Cell Games stage and neither has drafted Android 16. For those who don’t know, Cell was a bad dude, Android 16 was a bad dude who turned good, and Teen Gohan was the most powerful being on Earth who just needed a way to tap into his inner potential. Plan the showdown correctly in FighterZ and a scene starts the fight in which Android 16’s decapitated head tells Gohan to unleash the power inside him and go mess Cell up.
Here’s what happens when you obliterate Frieza as Super Saiyan Goku on Namek.
If you land the K.O. as Goku you trigger a “Dramatic Finish,” a half-minute sequence where he tells Frieza “it’s over” before being forced to finish him off after Frieza attempting to shoot him from behind forces his hand. Goku has a penchant for showing his foes too much mercy; Dragon Ball FighterZ cuts to the chase of the eternal “Goku almost wins, then almost loses, but ultimately wins” in a few hot seconds. As one player pointed out in the responses to his own clip, some players have a tendency to rage quit before the scene is completely over or skip it entirely, a little bit of multiplayer salt that makes it all the better, at least if you’re on the winning side.
In addition, if you don’t have Krillin on your team when starting the fight, a short scene will play out in which Frieza kills him prior to the start and Goku goes Super Saiyan as a result. Both segments are goofy and maudlin but beautifully animated, just like the show. In some ways, they even look better than the source material. DBZ fandom being what it is, it’s easy to see why why extra flourishes like these have people salivating.
Goku’s fight against Frieza is one of the most famous in cartoon history, at least if you grew up during the 90s. During its first run of syndication in the US, not all of the Namek Saga had even been localized yet, which is why quite of a few of us remember getting to the episode titled “Lightning Balls of Red and Blue! Jheese and Butta Attack Goku,” being stoked to see Goku finally whoop some ass, and then coming back next week to see the show start over from the beginning. By the time Goku finally faced Frieza when the new episodes aired on Cartoon Network’s Toonami a year and a half later it was transcendent—even if it took 30 more episodes to play out.
You’re damn right I’m going to try to trigger mini-reenactments from the Goku/Frieza showdown as often as possible while playing FighterZ. Of course, that’s easier said than done. As players on the game’s subreddit can attest, many a Goku player will no doubt perish in the process of trying to reenact their favorite moments from the anime rather than play the game like the brutal 2D fighter it is.
The game releases on Xbox One, PS4, and PC on January 26 with another brief, day-long open beta set to take place sometime between now and then (publisher Bandai Namco hasn’t said exactly when yet).