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"Many fight, but only a few are FighterZ!"

"True power knows no limits!"
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Dragon Ball FighterZ note  is a 3-on-3 Tag Team Fighting Game based on Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball series. Developed by Arc System Works and published by Bandai Namco, it was released for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on January 26, 2018, and the Nintendo Switch on September 27, 2018.

In addition to a usual arcade mode, FighterZ features a brand new story mode. An army of clones created by the nefarious Android 21 go on a rampage, and villains from the past have also reemerged. Now, Goku, Frieza, and Android 18 will need to enlist the aid of a mysterious soul that can inhabit their bodies to give them the strength to defeat the clones and save the universe.

    Playable Characters 

Heroes

  • Son Goku
    • Super Saiyan
    • Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan
    • Base (Season 1 DLC)
    • Kid Goku (GT) (Season 2 DLC)
  • Son Gohan
    • Teen (Super Saiyan 2)
    • Adult (Ultimate)
  • Vegeta
    • Super Saiyan
    • Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan
  • Future Trunks (Super Saiyan)
  • Piccolo
  • Krillin
  • Yamcha
  • Tien Shinhan (with Chiaotzu)
  • Gotenks (Super Saiyan 3)
  • Android 18 (with Android 17)
  • Fat Buu
  • Vegito (Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan) (Season 1 DLC)
  • Android 17 (Season 1 DLC)
  • Videl (with Great Saiyaman) (Season 2 DLC)
  • Gogeta (Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan) (Season 2 DLC)

Neutrals

  • Beerus
  • Hit
  • Android 16
  • Bardock (Season 1 DLC)
  • Jiren (Season 2 DLC)

Villains

  • Frieza (Fourth Form —> Golden Frieza (with Sorbet))
  • Cell (Perfect Form)
  • Kid Buu
  • Nappa (with Saibamen)
  • Ginyu (with the Ginyu Force)
  • Goku Black (Super Saiyan Rosé) (with Zamasu)
  • Android 21 (True Form)
  • Broly (Legendary Super Saiyan) (Season 1 DLC)
  • Zamasu (Fused) (Season 1 DLC)
  • Vegeta (Base) (Season 1 DLC)
  • Cooler (Final Form) (Season 1 DLC)
  • Janemba (Super Janemba) (Season 2 DLC)
  • Broly:BR (Dragon Ball Super) (Season 2 DLC)
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Dragon Ball FighterZ contains examples of the following tropes:

    open/close all folders 

    Gameplay tropes 
  • 2.5D: Similar to Guilty Gear Xrd, the game features 3D graphics on a 2D playing field, using the same Unreal Engine technology that powers Xrd, but updated to the Unreal Engine 4.
  • Adaptational Badass: While it's relatively downplayed here in favor of their assist abilities, there's still the fact that the canonically-weaker characters (namely, the full-blooded, non-android Earthlings), like in other Dragon Ball fighters, can go toe to toe with beings that long outclassed them in sheer power.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: In battle, most characters facing to the right have their models mirrored. Everything about them, to be exact, even in their intro animations and cinematic attack animations, and whether it's their hair, clothing or poses, they are flipped. Exceptions to this are Yamcha and Bardock's scars and logos on certain character's outfits (the kanji on Goku's gi, the Red Ribbon logo on 18's jacket, etc.). In few other cases, the opposite happens; certain animations are correctly depicted when the characters are facing the right side of the screen and is then mirrored when they are facing the left side.
  • Another Side, Another Story: There are three separate tales in Story Mode, each with a different protagonist: Goku, Frieza, and Android 18. And Android 18 makes room for Android 21 near the end of the last one.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • The Dynamic Entry that accompanies a character being KO'd is done to avoid the Cycle of Hurting that can happen in the Marvel vs. Capcom games, where the next fighter in queue simply jumps into the fray after their partner goes down. Arc System Works felt that this punished a player for losing since a waiting opponent could pounce on them as they came in. In FighterZ, the clash resets both characters to a standing neutral start, so there is no immediate advantage gained by knocking an opponent's character out. This also helps with a bit of Gameplay and Story Integration as these characters will either go in as fast as possible to save their fallen comrade or blindside them to take advantage.
    • The Eternal Dragon mechanic will not activate automatically when a player fills up the meter. Instead, it must be activated intentionally by completing an auto-combo while your super meter is at the maximum 7 bars. This way a player cannot stumble into getting a wish by accident, despite their opponent trying to strategize around securing it.
    • Z-Coins, contrary to initial fears of being a premium currency, are this when it comes to the unlocks. You can't buy Z-Coins with real-world money; instead, you can randomly get a Z-Coin when popping open a capsule, and you also get one if you got something from a capsule that you already have. Trading in ten Z-Coins will always unlock something you didn't already have as a way to mitigate the frustration of getting the same things over and over.
    • Losing a match in Story Mode will still give your fighters a small amount of experience points. And although you're sent back to the beginning of the map, you'll retain all the experience you gained. Also, challenging the Final Boss of Story Mode doesn't make you restart the map, instead just letting you start the boss battle over.
    • Every cutscene you've triggered will be permanently unlocked in the Story Gallery, even if you didn't save. Equipment is also permanently acquired without needing to save the game. This makes farming items and collecting optional cutscenes much easier, since you can simply return to the story title screen whenever you need without losing any data. Unfortunately, if you lose a match and already arrive at the victory/loss screen, the loss will still count even if you shut down the game without saving.
  • Ascended Meme: Bandai Namco's Twitter account referred to Android 17 as "the MVP" which was a popular way for the fandom to describe him following his appearance in Dragon Ball Super.
  • Assist Character: As with Marvel vs. Capcom 2, any live teammates are capable of jumping into the fight momentarily and launching a single attack (though each character's assist move is fixed) that can give strategic advantages beyond your point character's own abilities. In addition, some characters come with assist characters who perform moves on their behalf (see the Character Page).
  • Attack Reflector: A character can use a Z-Reflect by pressing backwards plus the Special button. The Z-Reflects allows the character to reflect physical attacks, Ki Blasts or parry almost any kind of Super/Meteor Attack. The only exception so far is Videl, who has a Spot Dodge instead.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Powering up is a staple of Dragon Ball Z but the power-up function in FighterZ leaves you painfully vulnerable in order to charge your ki/super meter. At best you can use it as a feint to get someone to attack you or after a sliding knock-down but doing it out in the open is ill-advised against human opponents.
    • ZigZagged with Super Dashing. It is a unique attack in that it easily closes the gap between characters, is universally available, is surprisingly simple to execute (a combination of two attack buttons), beats out projectile attacks, can be made mostly safe on block, can be immediately followed up for a combo on hit or for extended pressure during an active sparking blast, and can be made completely safe with certain assists. However, it can be countered by sheer muscle memory or a good read for a full combo (using a down Hard or 2H will always beat it out on the ground, and all characters have some attack that takes priority in air), meaning that you will be severely punished if you abuse it. A good indicator of a player's skill level is how consistently they can counter raw Super Dashes and how well they use it themselves.
  • Beam-O-War: Unsurprisingly this will be featured in the game. While it is not an explicit mechanic with a minigame tied to it, like in Budokai 3 and other Dragon Ball games, beam attacks can still hold each other at bay with their colliding hitboxes. Though if one lasts longer, like the full-power Father-Son Kamehameha when fighting Cell's Solar Kamehameha, that one will "win" the clash and damage the opponent with whatever hitboxes are left.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Characters do this every so often (like how Yamcha will attribute his awesome moments to the player and thank them properly).
  • Broad Strokes: The game doesn't take place in any particular era of Dragon Ball, but a large number of Signature Scenes and character relationships from the entire franchise are referenced in dialogue, cutscenes, and other Mythology Gags. For example, SS Goku alone could have a Dramatic Finish with any member of a Broly/Frieza/Kid Buu team, depending on which stage is chosen.
  • Button Mashing:
    • Tapping Light Attack gives you Dial-A-Combo that contains a move exclusive to that combo. This combo will continue even if you whiff the first few hits; just keep hitting Light Attack and you'll keep attacking!
    • Tapping Medium Attack gives you an automatic combo similar to The King of Fighters XIV. These end in a Super Attack that costs one bar of meter.
  • Cel Shading: In the same vein as Xrd, the game features cel-shaded character models that are animated with minimal tweening, so as to resemble 2D sprites, or the anime.
  • Combination Attack: If pulled off right, the player can perform a string of special attacks with their entire team.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Players beware - playing Arcade Mode on any of the Hard sets gives the AI a whole slew of buffs and abilities towards the end.
    • The computer gets a massive damage buff and reduced damage scaling(also present in the Normal difficulty sets, albeit not as extreme), to the point where a single hit-confirm into a Meteor Attack will easily take out 80-90% of your health.
    • The computer starts generating Ki like crazy (even when just walking forward) to the point where they receive more than double the ki for getting hit that you receive for hitting them.
    • The computer gains the ability to tag in another character in the middle of being hit - normally impossible for the player.
    • The computer gains the ability to sometimes win Dragon Rush trades, even though they should reset to neutral.
    • If Krillin is on the AI team, he gains the ability to throw multiple Senzu Beans in a row, instead of alternating Senzu Beans and rocks like he would if the player were controlling him (although later patches allow the player to do it as well).
  • Comeback Mechanic:
    • The "Sparking Blast" feature allows you to do a once-per-match power-up move, performed by pressing all attack buttons at once. When done, your character surrounds themselves with an energy field that can blow opponents back and can be done during a combo. note  Once performed, your character begins regenerating health on their own and can do more damage for a certain period. The fewer characters you have left on your team, the more effective it is. Because of this, it works similarly to X-Factor.
    • Executing specific combos or achieving a certain number of hits in a single combo will grant a Dragon Ball which is shared between both players. The player who performs an auto-combo with a full Super Meter after all seven Dragon Balls are collected will summon Shenron, who will offer one of four wishes. These wishes are full health recovery for your active character, reviving fallen teammates with 20% of their HP, a free Sparking Blast (that stacks with your default Sparking Blast), or your entire team recovering their blue health.
  • Cycle of Hurting: Deliberately averted: unlike most tag team fighters like Marvel vs. Capcom, when one member of a player's team is KO'd, a short cinematic plays of the next fighter's Dynamic Entry, after which both players' positions are reset before the fight resumes.
  • Denser and Wackier: In a meta sense, this game counts compared to other ArcSys games. While their other games tend to have serious (if not cheesy) stories, this game's Story Mode is relatively comedic like in classic Dragon Ball. There are even instances of the characters Breaking the Fourth Wall to address the player.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • Android 18's Accel Dance normally has her teaming up with 17, but if Krillin is on her team and still alive, he replaces 17. Even further, Krillin has his own unique animations for the attack instead of just recycling 17's; he even ends the combo with a Kamehameha.
    • Trunks's Heat Dome uses a similar giant fireball effect as the explosion-styled Meteor Attack. That said, the Heat Dome version has a pillar of energy up the middle of it, since the Heat Dome is basically a Kamehame Hadoken. The Heat Dome is also a command grab Meteor Attack where he throws the opponent up much like Future Cell. This is unlike most other Dragon Ball games, where it is simply Trunks shooting his blast upwards and relies on Trunks having a knock-up attack.
    • If a match goes on long enough to run out the 300-second timer, to reduce the chance of timeouts, KOing an opponent with less than 10 seconds left on the counter will reset the timer back to 10.
    • Beerus's Meteor Attack has a Super Robot Wars-style alternate animation if it does enough damage to KO Goku Black or Fused Zamasu. Normally he flicks the opponent's forehead as he did to Goku in Battle of Gods, but if Black or Zamasu have 16% (formerly 25%) or less health, he instead destroys them with his Godly energy as he did to Present Zamasu in Super or otherwise repels them while using the same hand gesture.
    • Similar to Beerus, Majin Buu as well as Android 21 have different outcomes if you use their candy beam attacks depending on their remaining health. If Buu's opponent still has health left after chewing on them, the fighter will be extracted in a puff of pink smoke. If the attack takes out the last of their health, however, they will not come back from being eaten. In 21's case: if the opponent still has health, she'll toss the snack she transformed her victim into aside, reversing the transformation. If she finishes off their health, however, she'll finish the snack. Kid Buu is the only one who can transform his opponent into a candy and will spit them out no matter the outcome, as most of the animation is a reference to the scene where he spat Good Buu out of his head.
    • Characters' battle cries will change depending on their opponents as well. For example, if Goku uses his Super Kamehameha against Gohan he'll say "Try this one, Gohan!"; against Frieza he'll say "It's over, Frieza!" or "You Fool!"
    • Similar to Android 18's entry, adult Gohan's Family Kamehameha changes depending on which characters you're teamed with. Normally Gohan will have Goten jump in and they perform the Kamehameha together but if Super Saiyan Goku is on Gohan's team, he'll join in too to do the complete attack. Conversely, if Gotenks is on your team, Goten won't jump in and Gohan will just perform it by himself (as well as not go Super Saiyan).
  • Distant Reaction Shot: Much like other DBZ games, sufficiently powerful attacks will lead to these. They can range from being as small as a few city blocks on the World Tournament Stage, to continental-sized blast zones on stages such as Namek.
  • Dynamic Entry: When a fighter is KO'd, the next fighter on that player's team will charge into the battlefield. They and the opponent clash arms-first before dashing from each other, resetting positions for the next round.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • A "Dramatic Finish" to a match can be achieved if a player recreates scenes from canon, such as Goku defeating Frieza in a battle on a destroyed part of Namek.
    • When it comes to the characters in the same team, certain elements are mutually exclusive. For example, Adult Gohan can't use the Brothers\Family Kamehameha if Gotenks is on his team (since Goten is preoccupied with being half of Gotenks).
  • EX Special Attack: Hard versions of Special Moves can be performed by spending one bar of the Ki meter. They often have the strong points of the light and medium versions of the attack combined into one. A few of them work differently than their light/medium version.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Krillin's Destructo Disc and Piccolo's Special Beam Cannon can be blocked, even when fully charged, unlike how they are depicted in the series (with the former heralded for its ability to cut through anything). note  However, the former does do much heavier Scratch Damage than other supers.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Due to the stylization of the title, it's forgivable to think the game is called "Dragon Ball Fighter Z". However, the developers have clarified that it's actually pronounced "Dragon Ball Fighters."
  • Kamehame Hadoken: There are very few characters who lack some kind of full-screen ranged energy beam.
  • Ki Attack: The Special button has each fighter fire a character-specific type of Ki Blast Note . Such as Frieza tossing out a rapid-barrage of Death Beam-like attacks, or Yamcha hopping back while firing one single ki blast to cover his retreat.
  • Large Ham Announcer: The player can have the World Tournament Commentator provide commentary, and he does so with a great deal of excitement.
  • Launcher Move: Scoring a grab will result in a series of fast punches that end with your character popping up the opponent before following them into the air for an air combo.
  • Leitmotif: Like any other fighting game, all the playable characters have their own music themes, so do the stages. Dragon Ball FighterZ uses new, original themes exclusive to this game. If a character has multiple versions of himself, all versions will share the same theme. These characters are Son Goku (three), Son Gohan (two), Vegeta (three) and Majin Buu (two). Fused Zamasu's theme is a Dark Reprise of Goku Black's theme. Android 21 is unique for having three different themes, each one being used in one of the three sagas' final boss fights, respectively.
  • Limit Break:
    • Super Attacks are strong attacks with cinematic animations that can be used by spending one bar of Ki. Few of them can be stacked by spending additional bars on top of them, with a damage output similar to Meteor Attacks. A few characters are also able to use two different Super Attacks consecutively in a single combo.
    • Meteor Attacks are the ultimate moves of every character which also have cinematic animations. You need to spend three bars of Ki to use them. Few of these Meteor Attacks can be stacked by spending additional bars on top of them.
    • If you manage to collect all seven Dragon Balls, you can summon Shenron to revive one of your fallen fighters, restore your health, grant increased health recovery, or earn a free stock of Sparking Blast.
  • Model Dissonance: FighterZ uses this to the extreme. In addition to deforming the faces and using character-specific lighting to replicate the look of the anime and coloured manga panels, parts of the body will be shrunk, squashed and enlarged to make for more dynamic animations in tandem with the camera, as shown here.
  • Mythology Gag: See here.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: Comes with the territory of a Dragon Ball fighting game; Beerus, in particular, is a literal God of Destruction that can instantly render anything Deader Than Dead. Whereas the majority of the roster are depicted as they were in the original run of Z. But as this is a fighting game, Yamcha and other Earthlings can punch far above their weight class. note  It's actually a justified example in the game's story. See Power Limiter below.
  • Power Limiter: The Story Mode features a machine that sends a barrage of waves that are "sealing" everyone's power. In addition to placing stronger fighters' consciousnesses into a state of hibernation, this evens the playing field and justifies characters like Krillin and Yamcha being able to go head-to-head with characters like Cell in the story. The only exception is Beerus, who is immune to the waves, and it's implied he's holding back in the fighting outside of Story Mode.
  • Pummel Duel: One way to counter the Launcher Move is to initiate this, done by using the Launcher Move when your opponent does so.
  • Punched Across the Room: Finish an opponent with an attack that would blast them to the other side of the stage and instead of slamming into the opposite "wall", a cinematic knockout will occur where they fly off into some background object instead. In some stages, this is also accompanied by a stage transition.
  • Punch Parry: This is how the game's normal Dynamic Entry is done.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: In a general sense, this is how the game's Dust equivalent is used, à la being called the Dragon Rush mechanic (and also acts as a universal throw attack for all characters). As for more specific examples, Yamcha's Wolf Fang Fist, and some versions of Gohan's Aerial Kick, works in this way here.
  • Scenery Gorn: An aspect of the source material that's reflected quite well in the game; ki blasts that hit the ground leave small craters, and projectiles deflected into the background can destroy the scenery. And that's before going into the massive attacks that are visible from space.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shown Their Work:
    • A metric crapton of the animations in the game are references to the series in some form (with some even combining multiple references). The videos in this playlist show off many of the nods.
    • In a similar vein to JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle, the game's Dramatic Finishers will reward you for doing so yourself. If something about the team compositions or the match's progress lines up with canon, the game will play a recreation of the equivalent scene from the series at the beginning, end, or middle of the match. Examples including Frieza killing Krillin in front of Goku, Gohan killing Cell with the Father-Son Kamehameha, Yamcha dying to a Saibaman, etc.
  • Signature Scene: Invoked by the Cinematic Opening and Dramatic Finish game mechanic. If something about the team compositions or the match's progress lines up with canon, the game will play a recreation of the equivalent scene from the series at the beginning, end, or middle of the match. Frieza killing Krillin and Goku turning Super Saiyan, Gohan killing Cell with the Father-Son Kamehameha, Beerus catching Goku after he has lost, etc.
  • Skill Gate Characters: While the characters aren't that difficult to play, mastering them is a different question. Officially, the lowest "Easy to Use" rank this game has to offer is A, which basically means "not too difficult, but not easy either". The release roster has seven characters ranked A, and 15 other characters are ranked S in terms of "easiness", but even those have some quirks that are not that easy to master. However, there are two initial characters ranked SS, and as the rank implies, they are designed to be as beginner friendly as possible: Son Goku and Vegeta in their regular SSJ forms (for more, see the character page).
  • Special Attack: Every character has several Special Attacks, which can be performed with quarter-circle-forward or quarter-circle-backwards motion plus one of the four attack button. Most of them appear in form of light, medium and hard versions, the latter being an EX Special Attack. Pressing the Special Button instead of one of the other three buttons will trigger a different Special Attack that will always function the same. A few other unique attacks can be used with different button combinations. Super Attacks and Meteor Attacks have similar commands, and comparison to most other fighting games, the commands are quite easy. A Super Attack can be performed with the quarter-circle-forward plus the Dragon Rush or Super Dash button. A Meteor Attack can be performed quarter-circle-backwards motion plus the aforementioned Dragon Rush or Super Dash button.
  • Spiritual Successor:
    • With a complex arcade-esque fighting engine, alternate costumes consisting of palettes instead of different outfits, a focus on a roster of characters from the Cell saga, and a relatively small roster compared to the 40+ and 150+ of the Budokai and Tenkaichi series, respectively, FighterZ bears many similarities to Super Dragon Ball Z.
    • Being a licensed 2.5D fighting game with a 3v3 fighting system, assist mechanics, and a colorful art style, a number of people consider it the true successor to Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (as opposed to the actual sequel).
    • Being a fighting game based of a Shonen Jump property made by Arc System Works, it's like their own fighting game adaptation of Fist of the North Star.
    • The developers have said that the catalyst for the game was Extreme Butōden for the Nintendo 3DS.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: One of Krillin's possible win quote has him telling #18 to stay at home and watch over their daughter Marron.
  • Super Mode:
    • Par for the course as several characters have transformations (for specifics, see the character page).
    • Every character has access to a "Sparking Blast", which is usable only once per match. It heals the active character's blue health, and increases their damage output, with the effect and duration increasing increasing as your teammates die.
  • Tag Team: Like Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and 3, players can assemble a team of three fighters and tag them in and out throughout the battle.
  • Tail Slap: Some of Frieza's basic moves involve his tail.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: An article in V-Jump magazine accidentally revealed that Beerus, Hit, and Super Saiyan Rosé Goku Black would be playable characters a few days before the official announcement.
  • Video Game Demake: As a credit to the superb art direction, the PC version allows you easy access to a good one if you so choose. Minimize the visuals, and the game looks like a 3DS game in the best way possible.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Various characters have these in "Dramatic Finish" moves, listed below:
    • Frieza:
      Frieza: (to Bardock) You ridiculous imbecile!
      Frieza: (to Goku) I'm the strongest in the universe! And that is why... you horrible...! You must... YOU MUST DIE BY MY HAND!!
    • Cell against Teen Gohan:
      Cell: H...How dare you... How dare yoooooou! (begins to charge up his Kamehameha)
      Goku: Show him, Gohan... Let him see our combined power! (With the encouragement given to him by Goku from the Other World, Gohan smiles)
      Cell: YOU'RE FINISHED! (fires his Kamehameha, but Gohan, with the aid of Goku's spirit, fires back. Gohan's Kamehameha overpowers and swallows Cell's as it barrels towards him) This...can't...be happening...!!! (Cell is overwhelmed by Gohan's Kamehameha and is disintegrated into nothingness)
    • Fused Zamasu:
      Zamasu: It can't be... A god losing to a mortal... this cannot happen... I am a god... I am justice given form...! I am the world! (trying to maintain his godly presence) The most noble, splendid, immortal, and supremely powerful god... (covering his Slasher Smile with one hand) Zama- (gets punched in the face by Vegito)
      Vegito: Got ya!
      (Zamasu skids across the floor)
      Zamasu: Damn mortals!
  • What If?: Certain Dramatic Finishes (such as Yamcha beating Nappa or Bardock beating Frieza) reimagine a key scene with the shoe on the other foot and let the otherwise doomed character turn things around.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: If you summon Shenron and pick "Make me immortal", some characters react as though you're picking this for them, unlike the other options.
    Piccolo: I'm not sure long life would be a good choice.
    Super Saiyan 2 Gohan: I don't wanna be a kid forever...
    Blue Vegeta: Immortality, huh? I'll leave that sort of thing to Frieza.
    Future Trunks: It's worthless if I'm the only one who survives!
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: The game's title incorporates this in a punny way that references the title Dragon Ball Z.
  • Your Size May Vary: The Destructive Finishes vary in size, depending on the stage. In some, they're about the size of a city, in others, they're the size of countries.

    Story Mode tropes 
  • Arc Hero: The Androids are a significant part of the plot as well as being the true heroes of the entire story. In the third arc, Android 18 is introduced as a Decoy Protagonist along with 17 with 16 acting as a Big Good, with finally Good Android 21 joining them (after the death of 16) in order to stop Evil 21.
  • Back for the Dead: By the end of the Story Mode, 16 and the villains are dead again, 16 in a Heroic Sacrifice and the villains eaten by 21.
  • The Battle Didn't Count: Regardless of how well your fights usually go, the story still plays out as normal. For instance, in one scenario you can completely kick the crap out of Android 21 as Cell, but the story still plays out as if Android 21 kicked Cell's ass, and is no match for her, forcing him to retreat.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In the third route, the threat of Android 21's Horror Hunger is eliminated, the bad guys are all sent back to hell and the sealing waves preventing the Z-fighters from accessing their full power are stopped, but it was at the cost of Android 21's true self, committing a Heroic Sacrifice to defeat her evil self, believing her hunger to be too dangerous for her to be allowed to live. Even the possibility of reincarnation for her doesn't avert this, as even if she does turn up again through that, it'll be as a new character, and not the Android 21 we know.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • While Pre-Teen Gohan, Future Trunks, Goku Black and Hit are playable in other modes, they don't show up in the Story Mode at all, leaving the story open to the Z Fighters, the Androids and the Z-era villains (and Beerus). All of them are justified, however: since no time travel is involved in the plot, obviously a young Gohan can't return and interact with his adult self, and neither can Future Trunks. Hit lives in another universe altogether, so he will not be affected by the plot.
    • Kid Buu subverts this: while the Elder Kaioshin mentions that he was revived, the truth is he is nowhere to be seen.note  Instead, a clone of him serves as his sustitute, while also being the only clone with a personality.
  • Continuity Snarl: Like you wouldn't believe. The second arc where you link with Frieza very heavily implies that it takes place parallel to the first one where you linked with Goku, only this time the villains are the proactive ones once they meet up with the heroes. The third arc, meanwhile, throws both out of the window by linking the player with Android 18 and the story going down very differently... and yet they are still referenced with Krillin and 18's early subplot, as well as characters knowing things that they learned in the previous two arcs. Trying to figure out how things went down is a fantastic way to develop a brain clot.
    • A minor one: in Super, it's mentioned that 17 hadn't been seen by the heroes in years, with 18 mentioning she had spoken to him a few times over the years, and when Goku went to recruit him for the Tournament of Power, he was significantly stronger. Here, the game acknowledges that 17 hasn't been seen in a while, but, given the game takes place presumably before the Future Trunks arc of Super or before the Tournament of Power arc, his appearance directly conflicts with the events of Super.
  • Developers' Foresight: Alongside the gameplay examples, there are a few examples of this in the Story Mode:
    • Adult Gohan can't use his Bros. Kamehameha since Goten, during the story-mode, is currently fused as Gotenks, meaning he cannot be around to help his brother.
    • If fighting on the Worlds Martial Arts Tournament stage, the tournament arena looks battered and destroyed, as well as empty of people cheering. After all, why would people be watching the fight when there is so much chaos?
    • During the third arc when 21 is playable she can't use her ground Meteor Attack. At that point in the story, she is trying to fight without eating anyone, unlike her evil half.
    • Normally if you win a fight as Golden Frieza, his victory animation and results dialogue will have him be in his Golden form. In the Story Mode, while you can use Golden Frieza in a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation, if you win as Golden Frieza, he'll instead be in his normal final form, since he isn't able to use it.
    • Ginyu won't be able to use his Body Change special during the story-mode. Given how this is a permanent effect, this was likely done to avoid having to justify Ginyu swapping bodies, then magically turning back to normal after the fight.
  • Enemy Mine: The villains will join Goku in his quest to stop Android 21, only to get rid of the annoying link that is making them weaker. Yes, that includes Cell, who is openly more of an ass than Frieza.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The face of Nappa, Ginyu, and Frieza when they discover Android 21 turning her clones into candy for her to eat is of utter disgust. Cell doesn't mind it, though.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Dr. Gero (or his supercomputer at least) created Android 21 using the cells of the strongest beings that have ever been on Earth, including Majin Buu. But... Buu's cells are too unstable and uncontrollable. As a result, Android 21 is driven by nothing but an insatiable hunger.
  • Foreshadowing: Most of the clones are silent and stoic, with no trace of personality. Kid Buu's clones, however, are just as wild, chaotic and loud as he was. This is setting up that Gero's technology cannot control Buu's cells, which is why Android 21 is so unstable.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: The vast majority of the game's Power Creep, Power Seep is explained as synthetic energy waves sapping characters of their power.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Gameplay issues aside, the in-game cutscenes treat Planet Namek during its destruction as being part of Earth, instead of, you know, a freaking planet being destroyed. Basically, the player has to imagine the stage as a volcanic area.
  • The Ghost: While Mr. Satan\Hercule is mentioned a few times, outside of his lobby avatar, he doesn't make any real appearance. Likewise, Gohan mentions Videl and Pan, both of whom are absent. Marron, Krillin and 18's daughter, is also mentioned by Gohan and Krillin, but she doesn't appear on-screen either.
  • Godzilla Threshold: The situation is so dire and the threat of Android 21 is so great, the Z-Fighters are pretty much forced to ally with their fiercest enemies Frieza and Cell in order to stop her. It's definitely not the ideal solution, but they really have no other choice in the matter regardless.
  • Interface Spoiler: Attempting to try accessing Link Events with Android 16 will bring up a message that 16 has no Link Events. This should be a clue that he won't stick around for long. Although, this is justified since he actually has no soul to begin with.
  • Idiot Ball: Both Freeza and Cell grabbed it and didn't let it go when they thought challenging No. 21 openly was a splendid idea in Goku's route. They were turned into sweets for their trouble.
  • Non-Serial Movie: The story mode is a playable version of this and a Spiritual Successor to the movies, explicitly described as a What If? story. It takes place during the Dragon Ball Super timeline but without any clear indication of exactly what point.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Dr Gero is barely mentioned, but Android 21, who is strongly indicated to have been his wife when she was human, due to his supercomputer implanting her with Buu's cells, is one of the most potentially destructive and powerful monsters in the franchise. This is highly implied to have been unintentional.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: In the Villain route, The Z-Fighters are forced to team up with Frieza and Cell. They get along about as well as you'd expect.
  • Toxic Phlebotinum: Majin Buu's cells were used in the creation of Android 21, as well as the Kid Buu clones. These cells, however, are highly unstable, leading to 21's nigh-uncontrollable Horror Hunger. The Kid Buu clones are also far more dangerous than other clones, acting more akin to their genetic progenitor than silent killing machines like the other clones.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: The characters are aware of the player and will open up to them over the course of the story. Yamcha's, in particular, is him sincerely thanking the player for making him cool again.
  • Villain Respect: While the villains don't exactly like the idea of being possessed, they eventually warm up to the Earthling Soul the more you level them up. This includes Cell who is the biggest Jerk with a Heart of Jerk.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Major praise has been given to all the times where characters roast each other. This has even happened among the Z-Fighters, whom are legitimate friends with each other.
  • Wham Shot: In the third route, when 21 hits the Despair Event Horizon after 17 tells her she just killed 16 in a hunger-induced rage, she screams and explodes. When the dust clears, 17 and 18 see her standing where she was, looking distraught and exhausted, before she collapses, revealing another 21 that was hidden behind her, who is in the same slumped over pose that 21 takes after assuming her true form in the other two routes, with Peek-a-Bangs hiding her Black Eyes of Crazy.
  • What If?: The game's Story Mode is described as this type of story, with three different variants:
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Subverted. Android 21's origins and 18's whereabouts are never resolved at the end of the Super Warrior arc. Whis is aware of this and asks you to discover it in the next story arc, where these loose threads are tied up neatly.
    • The real Frieza, Nappa, and Ginyu do not appear on the last route. It's never mentioned what happened to them, though it's implied that Evil 21 ate them, accounting for how powerful she is by the end of the story.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Most of the fighters became weaker due to the effect of the waves. Goku doesn't have all of his power due to the entity controlling him and the strange waves, meaning he can't turn into Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan from the get go:
    Cell: (After being defeated by Krillin) All these damn these waves! They're responsible for hindering my true power...
  • World of Snark: Just about every villainous or at least aloof character throws tons of shade in the direction of whatever character they are teamed up with. Especially Cell.

K.O.! DRAMATIC FINISH!!
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