Dragon Ball FighterZ has 24 playable characters at launch, each of them with their own strengths and weaknesses. Arc System Works has crafted a fighting game that's very easy to pick up, but as with any title in the genre, the question quickly arises: which characters should you choose? Who best suits your style of play? In this hopefully helpful guide, we're going to do quick breakdowns of each combatant to help you decide which characters deserves a spot on your team.
Goku (Super Saiyan)
Strengths: Easy to use, very well rounded
Weaknesses: A little bit predictable
Super Saiyan Goku is a rock solid character who's easy to pick up and play. As such, he's a great place to start when it comes to learning the ins and outs of FighterZ. Goku's got special moves that cover all bases, from his long range kamehameha to his spinning kicks, which are fast and easy to combo into. Speaking of which, Goku is also capable of stringing together some beginner-friendly combos that act as fantastic starting points for when you want to take your game to the next level.
Overall, you can't go wrong with Super Saiyan Goku, even if his straightforward style is a little bit predictable.
Strengths: Tricky, can catch opponents off guard
Weaknesses: General offence is slightly lacking
Initially, Krillin can seem quite weak when directly compared to other characters, but the little man does have some interesting tricks up his sleeve. His special attacks can be used to mix opponents up with surprising effectiveness -- his afterimage technique in particular can fool your enemy into thinking you're trying a different approach. What's more, his kamehameha can be charged slightly by holding down X, potentially throwing your opponent's timing off.
Krillin perhaps takes a bit of time to properly understand, but he should never be underestimated. His trickery makes him a good pick for those looking for something different.
Strengths: Tricky but well rounded, can force opponents into specific situations
Weaknesses: Requires precise spacing and timing to use well
Piccolo is a very versatile character, but proper understanding of his various moves is necessary to play him effectively. Piccolo is perhaps at his best when he's forcing the opponent into certain situations. He can use special attacks like his homing energy blast to pin his enemies down as he rushes them, and his hellzone grenade is great at locking opponents in place. What's more, his special beam cannon can be charged, throwing off defensive enemies entirely. His demon elbow and demon slicer allow Piccolo to deliver fast attacks from different angles, but they require precise spacing.
In the right hands, Piccolo can be a deadly fighter, mixing his opponents up and forcing them to play his game. It takes some practice to really get the best out of him, though.
Strengths: Offensively powerful, can overwhelm opponents with close range barrages
Weaknesses: Struggles at longer ranges
Teen Gohan can quite easily lock opponents down, forcing them to be defensive with flurries of quick, powerful melee attacks. What's more, his physical special attacks can all be used in combos quite easily, meaning that he's capable of dishing out solid damage whenever he's able to close the gap -- but that's where his main weakness comes into focus. Outside of his super attacks, Teen Gohan doesn't have any long range techniques that he can retaliate with at distance. You need to play him quickly and confidently, closing in on the enemy whenever you can.
Teen Gohan is capable of devastating cornered opponents, but he demands to be played in an especially offensive way.
Strengths: Very well rounded with huge damage potential
Weaknesses: Relies on using up a lot of ki to become as powerful as possible
Adult Gohan is unique in that he can increase his power during battle. His potential unleashed super attack allows you to eat up ki bars in order to both increase his damage output and give him access to the machine gun punch. You can actually hold down R2 in order to consume multiple bars at once, although doing this leaves Gohan open. Once he's powered up, Gohan is capable of dealing out huge damage with the right combos, and his aforementioned machine gun punch can help when it comes to chaining moves together.
Much like his dad, Adult Gohan is a well rounded character who's quite easy to use, but he truly excels when he's powered up. You'll need the ki to do it, but Gohan becomes a fearsome opponent when his potential has been unleashed.
Strengths: Fast and very effective at close range
Weaknesses: Single-minded, not great at longer ranges
Yamcha's game plan really revolves around one move in particular: the wolf fang fist. This technique can be altered by inputting different buttons to extend the combo, making an effective tool when mixing your opponent up. As such, Yamcha specialises in close range combat, pressuring his enemies with fast guessing games. He also has access to a kamehameha when he's at a distance, but ultimately, he needs to get up close and personal to really throw his opponent off.
Yamcha's single-minded play style can be both a blessing and a curse. Outside of his wolf fang fist mix-ups, he's predictable, but if you're caught in his hurricane of attacks, Yamcha can become very difficult to deal with.
Strengths: Well rounded with easy-to-use but effective special attacks
Weaknesses: Somewhat predictable
Tien is a solid character who boasts some simple but effective special attacks. His volleyball fist can hit opponents from a surprisingly long way away, as Tien slides across the ground and catches them low. Mix this up with his long range dodon ray or Chiaotzu's telekenisis, and you've potentially got access to easy combos and damage when you're able to make your enemy second guess themselves.
However, Tien can become predictable if you rely on certain moves too much. The trick is to keep your opponent guessing -- make use of Tien's varied moves and he'll prove to be a reliable fighter.
Vegeta (Super Saiyan)
Strengths: Very strong close range attacks, good in the air
Weaknesses: A little lacking at a distance
Super Saiyan Vegeta is an effective fighter at close range, boasting several powerful melee-based special attacks. As such, he's great at rushing down opponents and keeping them in place with well timed assaults. Most of his techniques can be used in the air, too, making him a real threat from above or when contesting enemies who like to jump. His only real drawback is that he doesn't have a reliable long range attack outside of his super moves.
Vegeta offers a rock solid offensive style, and his ability to catch out airborne opponents can be a big plus in certain situations.
Strengths: Effective at almost any range
Weaknesses: Short combos
Trunks is quite an easy character to pick up, and he has all the tools to make him an effective fighter from just about anywhere on the screen. His shining slash is great for catching out crouching opponents, and his cyclone jump can get you out of dangerous situations. Masenko is a solid long range option, and his super attacks are both easy to use and powerful. However, Trunks doesn't have access to many large combos, which can make him feel slightly stunted when compared to other characters.
Trunks is a solid character choice due to the fact that he doesn't have to stick to a certain style of play. He has the moves to keep his opponents on their toes at any range, but you'll need to keep things tight in order to make up for his somewhat short combos.
Strengths: Small, good in the air, and surprisingly tricky
Weaknesses: Can find it hard to break defensive opponents down
Gotenks can be a devious opponent in the right hands. He has a decent variety of special moves, and most of them are effective in the air. Off the ground, Gotenks has access to a fast ranged attack in his die die missile barrage, and miracle super punch as well as great special rolling kick can punish enemies who are eager to jump. Meanwhile, his super ghost kamikaze attack can be let off immediately with R1, or the ghosts can be kept in reserve to help out during combos. Gotenks relies on trickery quite a bit, but if the opponent doesn't buy into his crazier moves, Gotenks can find his approach stunted.
Gotenks is an entertaining and deceptively clever character who can be a real handful when he gets going.
Strengths: Powerful and hard to avoid at close range
Weaknesses: Slow, serious lack of long range attacks
Android 16 is something of a specialist character. He excels at close range brawls even if his moves aren't especially fast, purely because of how much damage he can rack up from his throw-based approach. These throws can also catch opponents in the air, making aerial assaults a risky proposition when fighting against Android 16. His last resort super attack is very slow and the opponent has to be close, but it's a one-hit kill that destroys both Android 16 and his enemy. It's obviously a huge gamble, but it can pay off when you need to turn the tide of a battle.
Android 16 can be difficult to work with, but once he's up close he can really do some damage. A calm and collected style is needed.
Strengths: Versatile, good pressure, and effective in the air
Weaknesses: Requires practice and good timing to use especially well
Android 18 is unique in that she can summon in Android 17 to help her out. Android 17 has a range of uses, but to use him efficiently, you'll need plenty of practice. Wrap your head around his abilities, though, and you'll find that Android 18 can be a very versatile character. She can adapt on the fly thanks to a range of special moves which includes a defensive barrier and a solid long range option. Her energy wave super move is easy to use, too, and it can quickly catch enemies out since it's activated from above.
Android 18 is one of the most difficult characters to master, but she can be deadly with Android 17 by her side.
Strengths: Excels at long range, has a suite of deceptive attacks
Weaknesses: Can find it hard to deal with constant close range pressure
Frieza is just about as close to a long range specialist as you can get in Dragon Ball FighterZ. He has access to a whole arsenal of attacks that can be let off from varying distances, and many of them can be unleashed quickly in order to surprise opponents. Frieza also has good combo potential, particularly from the air, but he can find it difficult to deal with enemies who rush him down, preventing him remaining more comfortable at range. It's also worth mentioning that Frieza is the only character who can traditionally transform. Becoming Golden Frieza increases your damage, but the transformation is temporary.
Frieza can be a menace if he's allowed to play at his own pace. In the right hands, he can dominate most of the screen.
Strengths: Deceptively versatile, can control space
Weaknesses: Must keep track of assist characters, weak on his own
Captain Ginyu relies on the rest of the Ginyu Force to get things done. Without them, he has a very limited pool of moves and lacking combo potential. The Ginyu Force actually appear in sequence regardless of how you summon them, so you'll need to keep track of which member is arriving next. However, with enough practice, Ginyu and his pals can potentially control large portions of the screen, keeping up pressure and boxing the opponent in place. If things get especially hairy, Ginyu has access to one final gimmick in body change, which essentially allows you to steal the opposing character, swapping them for Ginyu. If successful, your opponent will be left controlling a weakened Ginyu who doesn't have access to his team.
Captain Ginyu's one of the game's most unique characters, and so he needs to be played in specific ways to be truly effective. He's rather gimmick-heavy, but the might of the Ginyu Force shouldn't be taken for granted.
Strengths: Powerful and surprisingly well rounded
Weaknesses: Quite slow, can find it hard to deal with pressure
Despite his thuggish looks, Nappa is actually quite a versatile character. He has access to several solid offensive moves, all of which are good for opening the opponent up. Arm break can move Nappa forward a decent amount, while blazing storm is a mid-range attack that comes out fast and can be used in the air to keep enemies at bay. Nappa also has a trick up his sleeve in the form of saibamen, who can be summoned after a short amount of time. Saibamen can be batted away, but by keeping up the pressure with Nappa, they can help out with combos.
Nappa may not be a Super Saiyan, but he shouldn't be underestimated. He has a range of good tools to keep him on top of his enemies, but his size and overall speed do make him susceptible to large amounts of offensive pressure.
Strengths: Very well rounded, long reach
Weaknesses: Somewhat predictable
Cell, much like Goku, is a good place to start when it comes to learning the ins and outs of Dragon Ball FighterZ. Cell's solid at just about any range, sporting a kamehameha and a slew of fast, physical techniques. His perfect attack and rolling crush both fit into combos with ease, while his psycho crash can catch opponents off guard at a distance. His normal attacks also have good range, but again, like Goku, Cell can be a little predictable -- none of his moves are especially tricky.
Cell is a reliable character who can perform well in any situation. He may lack surprises, but his long reaching attacks and fast physical techniques make him a consistent threat.
Strengths: Powerful, has a surprisingly varied set of moves
Majin Buu can be a surprisingly tricky fighter thanks to a varied selection of moves. He's big and slow, but he can catch his opponents off guard with either speedy physical attacks or long range efforts. His dive bomb special attack comes out quickly and can be used in the air -- it's great for shutting down offensive enemies. His cartwheel, meanwhile, can get Majin Buu out of sticky situations and put some distance between him and his opponent. Lastly, his fat throw is quite slow to activate, but if it hits, the enemy will be left defenceless.
Majin Buu isn't just your typical powerful-but-slow character. A varied set of moves allow him to play in different ways, and he can quite easily catch opponents out with his trickier techniques.
Strengths: Very strong offensive abilities, small and fast
Weaknesses: Single-minded approach
Kid Buu is a bit of a powerhouse in FighterZ. He's quick, many of his best moves come out fast, and he's a constant threat up close and from a distance. His candy beam special attack is a menace in that it allows Kid Buu to close the gap on his enemy, while his mystic ball attack is an easy-to-use, evasive, and powerful physical technique. Kid Buu can be very hard to deal with thanks to his ability to barrage the opposition, but his reliance on overwhelming offence and certain techniques can make him predictable.
Kid Buu is an incredibly dangerous character who can pin down opponents with relentless assaults. He does need to rely on certain attacks, however, which can, at times, make him easy to read.
Strengths: Excels at controlling space, can set up big combos and damage
Weaknesses: Very technical, requires practice to master
Beerus can be a deadly character in the right hands, but his style demands efficiency and patience. Beerus' big selling point is that he can release orbs that float around the stage. These orbs can then be attacked, sending them flying towards his opponents. Getting the most out of these orbs requires time, however, so Beerus has to be careful of highly aggressive opposition. When allowed to play at his own pace, Beerus is capable of completely controlling the ebb and flow of a fight, keeping opponents at bay with his orbs or using them to enhance his own combo damage.
Beerus is perhaps the most technical character in the game, but again, he can suffocate his enemies and take control of the any situation given the chance.
Strengths: Deceptively fast and very hard to read
Weakness: Can find it difficult to deal with a lot of pressure
Hit is another technical character, but he can run rings around his opponent if he keeps them guessing. Hit's special attacks allow him to either attack from range or close the distance, making him a surprisingly versatile fighter. He can also teleport at speed, both backwards and forwards, and his super attacks are quick, long range, and easy to combo into. Hit is deadly if he's allowed to play as he likes, but the slight startup times that come with a lot of his moves mean that he can be interrupted and pinned down with focused aggression.
Hit backs up his cool look with a range of highly effective mix-ups as well as hard-to-read special attacks. He's an especially tricky customer, but he has to be careful that he's not overwhelmed.
Strengths: Well rounded, some tricky moves, and good combo potential
Weaknesses: Quite technical, requires good spacing
Goku Black is a bit like a slightly more technical Goku. He has a few tricky moves up his sleeve, namely instant transmission, which allows him to teleport at will, and binding black kamehameha, which is a guaranteed long range attack if the opponent is caught off guard. His fierce god kick allows for some long combos, too, and it's also great for locking enemies down in a corner. However, Goku Black requires good spacing for a lot of his techniques to flourish, so a bit of practice is definitely needed to get the most out of him.
Goku Black is a well rounded character who can mix things up with a few key techniques.