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Dragon Ball Legends preview - Hands-on with the gorgeous upcoming anime fighter

Whatcha' Saiyan?

Summary Preview Review Screens Videos Articles Tips  
Product: Dragon Ball Legends | Genre: Fighting
For: Android   Also on: iPhone, iPad
Dragon Ball Legends may have had an intriguing first showing at GDC, but one can never be too certain that a stage presentation of a game is truly representative of the final experience.

Rather strangely, it was actually quite calming to see some lag in a repeat demonstration at the start of Bandai Namco's press event – largely because it was more obvious that what we were seeing is real.

But the only true measure of a game is how it actually plays, and after a fair few rounds both in single and multiplayer, we feel pretty confident in saying that Dragon Ball Legends is pretty magnificent.


The name of the game here is accessibility – Dragon Ball Legends can be played entirely with one finger or thumb, and you're still able to pull off sweet combos and impressive moves.

You swipe left, right, up, and down to move around the screen, and tap repeatedly to launch basic attacks. Swiping at the right time can also dodge incoming shots and get you closer to launch a counterattack.

There's also a deck of special moves which disappear when used but are soon replaced with a different card. These can only be used if you have enough energy in your meter and can be chained together to stun-lock your opponent and keep them from fighting back.

It's not the most advanced set of controls, but skill in Dragon Ball Legends is focused more on timing than it is on combo knowledge – get the right move in at the right time, and you can melt the opponent's health bar in a single combo.

Fights fly by at breakneck speed, with the balance shifting between opponents off the back of a miscalculated swipe, so every battle is intense and a lot of fun to play.

There's other special moves to deploy too, and a small QTE which plays out in the rare instance that two players' attacks land at exactly the same time, but they don't detract too much from the core entertainment of thwacking your opponent in the face with a 30-hit combo.


Fighting against the AI is all fine and dandy, but the game is also built for global, real-time PvP, meaning you can theoretically duke it out with players on the other side of the world whenever you like.

And honestly, the PvP mode works pretty well, even in this relatively early stage. There is occasionally some lag – no more than about half a second, and mostly when you're chaining together combos – but there's still plenty of time to iron out the kinks down the line.

But perhaps the best part of Dragon Ball Legends is just how beautiful it is. The characters and their fight animations are crisp and brutal, and the finishing moves are the perfect level of over-the-top, which is sure to appease fans of the anime.


All in all, Dragon Ball Legends is shaping up to be a very exciting game. It's fast, brutal, and intense, and its global PvP capability means that hopefully never be short of people to punch in the face.

And while we didn't get to see it, there's also mention of two different story modes for the game, which will keep lone players happy if they don't want to take the fight online.

The online multiplayer might face some issues when it starts handling millions of fighters, of course, but with Dragon Ball Legends due out sometime this summer, there's still plenty of time for Bandai Namco to get it tweaked and perfected before the people of the world get their grubby mitts on it.

Reviewer photo
Ric Cowley 21 March 2018
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