Dragon Ball: The Breakers Review – Fusion, right? (PS4)

While the Z fighters fear almost nothing, the citizens of Earth have had their fair share of horror. Killing machines, alien invasions, and even a giant pink blob scavenging and turning people into chocolate. Living as an ordinary citizen in the world of Dragon Ball can be rather difficult. It’s not a thought many think about, which was surprising to say the least when Bandai Namco announced a new dragonball game that would see us put in the very role of these citizens, as they are hunted by menacing monsters. It’s the premise of Dragon Ball: The Breakers, and while it’s a weird concept at first, it’s one that makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, as we explain in our Dragon Ball: The Breaker review, it’s not the one that’s fully realized.

Surprisingly a great idea. Execution? Good…

When you picture a Dragon Ball game, you’re probably picturing one of the many fighting titles it’s released over the past few decades. After all, the genre makes the most sense for an IP video game adaptation, and has been extremely successful so far. However, despite the success he found in this particular genre, the IP has never been shy about stretching his legs in other genres. We have a card game, an RPG and even a side-scrolling shoot’em up. And to the credit of those titles, some of them have been very good.

So when Bandai announced a new Dragon Ball game that, rather than focusing on our iconic Z warriors, would put us in the shoes of the very humans they were protecting, I kinda scratched my head, but I realized that a game like this could actually work. The key word here is could.

Dragon Ball: The Breakers presents itself as asymmetrical multiplayer following in the footsteps of games like Dead By Daylight, Friday the 13th: The Game, and the recent Evil Dead: The Game.

You play as one of seven ordinary citizens who are being chased by what the game calls a Raider. Raiders are essentially your monsters/slayers in The Breaker, with that role being filled by the very iconic villains of the Dragon Ball universe. These being Frieza, Cell and Majin Buu. If you think that’s a little crazy, it is, but it also makes a lot of sense at the same time, because in the anime, that’s exactly what they did. Frieza hunted the Namekians in search of the Dragon Ball, while Cell absorbed people in hopes of gaining power, and Majin Buu, well, he found he was eating all the chocolate in the world and began turning people into him to help ease his endless hunger. When you think about it, these villains have all the perfect ingredients to be pretty scary. I know they were when they debuted a long time ago.

Like I said, it’s not such a far-fetched concept, if not brilliant, at least on paper. Running the whole thing is fine, a little muddy.

As with many asymmetrical games, the goal is to survive by escaping or defeating the Raider. To escape, survivors must work together and clear areas on the map by finding a power key in each of the six areas. Once all the keys have been collected, you and your teammates will be able to use a time machine summoning machine that will help you escape. However, a Raider is constantly on the hunt during this time.

As noted, the Raider is one of the three main villains in the long-running Dragon Ball Z series. For those unfamiliar with them (stop reading this review then and go watch the show!!) in the anime, each villain had three different forms he would transform into, with each new one stronger than the last. It’s the same here, Raiders start in their first form, and as they hunt and defeat survivors or NPC civilians, they will gain more and more power to eventually evolve into their next form .

Evolving Raiders isn’t the only thing Survivors need to worry about either, as they can also circle around and wipe out entire areas. I think so, they can destroy an entire section of the map in hopes of luring you and your allies in. They’re incredibly strong, which should come as no surprise, and in 1v1 matches you’re almost guaranteed to lose.

If all goes well and everything falls into place with a team of random people, it’s actually a lot of fun. There’s a sense of suspense as you hide behind a small structure, hoping the raider doesn’t find you.

And while balancing is definitely going to have some issues, I like that the team made sure raiders couldn’t outright go after survivors, because any well-organized group could easily take down a raider if they chased them at the start of the game. This leaves some planning for the Raider player. Are they tracking down each survivor one by one? Or maybe try to flush them out and force them to summon the time machine so the time machine can be destroyed before anyone takes off?

On the other side of the battle, in addition to searching for power keys, survivors will also need to scavenge the few resources that litter the map. These include Dragon Balls, power-ups and weapons, like a bazooka, or even an iconic Z warrior outfit, like Vegeta’s gloves so you can perform his special to temporarily stun the raider.

But the biggest weapon in the survivors’ arsenal is dragon shifting. This is an ability that allows you to transform into one of the Z warriors for a short time, giving you a chance to fight against a Raider. It’s a pretty neat mechanic, and I’ve used it a few times in order to give my allies time to get the Time Machine up.

However, Dragon Change is rather janky because the camera is shaking everywhere, which makes it difficult to battle with a raider. I account for the majority of my losses due to flipping the camera, and the fight itself isn’t any better at all. I like the mechanic, but honestly it could have been more polished to make it more controllable. You struggle more than you should.

The overall character movement for survivor also has a similar feeling. Slow, sluggish and sometimes insensitive. The camera doesn’t help much either, given that you’ll be spending a lot of time traversing caves, buildings, and other close spaces, where the camera will simply clip into nearby structures. This makes playing as a survivor all the more frustrating, as not only do you have to defend yourself against a world-destroying monster, but everything that should have been built for them.

It also doesn’t help that these heroes, along with their skills, are locked behind a gacha system. Bandai Namco is no stranger to this type of system, as it’s used extensively in its online game Gundam Battle Operation 2, and it’s much the same here. There’s a shop you visit where you can redeem TP tokens, a currency you earn a little each day, or outright buy, in order to roll for a chance to earn new skills and heroes. You’re at the mercy of RNG here, and anyone familiar with gacha mechanics knows exactly how unfair that can be. Maybe you are lucky and manage to get everything you want, but there is no doubt that the game really wants you to spend money.

You can technically buy a ton of coins to get more rolls and eventually get the skill you’ve always wanted, then use any given currency from duplicate items to upgrade that skill. Of course it’s optional, but it clearly affects the overall grind, if not remove it entirely. It’s not welcoming at all. I’m a little shocked that Breaker isn’t free because of this mechanic either, although the asking price is only $20 off the full retail price. There’s also a Battle Pass, but at least it’s “free.”

Verdict

Dragon Ball: The Breakers is certainly an interesting concept for a Dragon Ball game, if not an excellent one. The idea of ​​being hunted down by these villains who can literally blow up the entire planet might sound silly, but it’s nothing new to fans who’ve watched the show. It should be a terrifying and thrilling experience, and that’s when it all fits together. However, it’s hard to ignore all the technical glitches, clunky controls, out-of-control camera, and of course the gacha system which is obviously designed to trick people into spending money, with its paid rewards. If you’re a fan of the Dragon Ball franchise it might be worth a visit at some point, but as it stands I can’t really recommend it in its current state. Maybe in a year it will improve, but I just don’t see it winning over anyone who is a fan of the asymmetrical genre.

Rating: 6/10

Advantages

  • Raiders are quite fun to play and love that they undergo different transformations. They feel terrifying too.
  • This can sometimes be fun if all goes well, but it takes a lot out of seven other players.

The inconvenients

  • Gacha system tied to core game mechanics such as skills and unlocking new heroes.
  • All of the components can be ground, but clearly the system is better suited to those who buy, making it more of a pay-to-win game.
  • The survivor’s general movement is clunky. Camera clipping is also an issue that gets annoying.
  • You kind of get thrown into it. There is a short tutorial you can play as a survivor, but nothing for the raider. You have to figure things out on your own as a raider.

Dragon Ball: The Breakers review code provided by the publisher. The main version tested was the PS4. You can read MP1st’s review and grading policy here.

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