New release Review

Review – Dragon Ball: The Breakers

Have you ever played Dead By Daylight? I have, and I consider it one of my favourite games of all time. Since the success of DBD, many other asymmetric games have been released, and some have been successful. Most however have not. The gameplay style usually lends itself well to the horror genre, but there have been instances where it has bled into other genres. This is the case with Dragon Ball: The Breakers. While there is an element of fear involved in the game, it is definitely not what I’d consider horror. With the charming character models and high-pitched voices, it firmly positions itself as more of a family friendly multiplayer game.

The Breakers does take a lot of inspiration from DBD however, and as such, I will be doing a lot of comparisons in this review. Mechanics such as the “heartbeat” to warn of the enemy being close, and the two hit down feel exactly like Dead by Daylight.

Dragon Ball: The Breakers does a lot of things right. Almost everything in fact. The charming graphics are far from “next-gen” but fit the art style and IP perfectly. The character customisation is fun and varied enough to be interesting, and the game gives you a generous amount of in game currency to spend in the store, and the gameplay is excellent.

When playing a game of The Breakers the player gets the choice of two roles, one of seven survivors, or the raider.

When taking on the role of survivor, the player controls either their avatar, or an Anime character such as Bulma, and attempts to escape a “temporal rift” that has trapped them and their fellow survivors in a hellish world occupied by the evil Raiders. The premise and world of the game is briefly explained in a small amount of story content delivered to the player during the tutorial. As a survivor, the game may feel tough and unfair to start, but once the player learns the mechanics and hones their loadout, Breakers starts to reward skilful plays and timing. Unlike DBD, survivors in The Breakers can fight back against the raider and even kill them in some cases, although this requires extremely good planning and teamwork.

On the other hand, when playing as a Raider, the player chooses one of (currently) three characters from Dragon Ball – Cell, Frieza, or Majin Buu – and is tasked with killing all the survivors before they can escape on the super time machine. The raider starts as the first form of their chosen character and must complete side objectives or kill survivors in order to power up through forms 2-4, each more powerful than the last.

Both player types also have side objectives. Once such objective involves the player searching the map for the dragon balls to summon The Eternal Dragon Shenron. When summoned, Shenron grants the player one wish, which varies depending on whether the player is a survivor or raider. The other main side objective is rescuing civilians that are hiding around the map. If the player is a raider, they can kill the civilians to further their transformation.

Playing as the raider was for me, the most enjoyable part of The Breakers. The game does a great job of making the player feel almost all powerful, especially if they manage to find the seven dragon balls and make the infamous wish for immortality.

The way the player decides if they want to play raider or survivor is very interesting, and not something I have seen in any other title. Before searching for a match, the player can set preferences, such as what type of character they want and what map they like. However, these preferences aren’t guarantees. When choosing raider as the players preferred play style, the game gives the player a priority of 0 (unlike usual priority levels, zero is the lowest not the highest) and compares that priority with the other eight players in the matchmade game. If one player has a priority of 1 for raider, and the other player who wants to play raider has a priority of 0, then the first player will become the raider for that game. The player/s who missed out will then gain a point on their priority counter, which will then read “1”. This continues until the player has the highest priority and can play as the raider. The counter is then reset to 0. In my time with the game, I have had my priority counter go all the way up to 6 before I was able to play a game as the raider. Which means that the player cannot consistently play as the raider even if they wanted to.

The likely reason for this system brings me to my only gripe with this game, and it’s a big one. Population. Finding a game in Dragon Ball: The Breakers was inconsistent at best. I sometimes had to wait over 30 minutes to find a single game. Given that most of those games were as a survivor, in which you can potentially be killed in the first minute or two, it’s understandable that this is a huge issue. There were times when I found games within a few minutes, but they were few and far between. I believe the priority system was designed to help with the population issue, given that if everyone wanted to be the raider, it would be even worse. But even though the developers put this system in place, the issues are still rampant. Lack of popularity isn’t the main cause of this issue as one may expect. The game has a healthy population, the problem is, that population is split over four different platforms, and the developers have not decided to include cross play as an option, which is a huge mistake. I believe The Breakers is good enough to gather a massive cult following and make the developers a nice bit of cash with microtransactions, but the lack of cross play hinders that greatly, and may end up killing the game. To pile on already dire circumstances, I have heard that the game also restricts matchmaking to only players within the region, further lengthening the time to find games. The latter is a strange decision given the game would not suffer greatly if it had players with higher latency.

The Breakers is a multiplayer only game, so extra effort should have gone into bringing these different communities together to create one large player base rather than multiple small ones.

I am genuinely saddened by these issues as when I did have the chance to actually play the game, it was the most fun I’ve had playing a non fps multiplayer game in a long time.

Sam Russell – View ProfileView more by this writer

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