The Breakers, it ain’t broke but it ain’t great either

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One of the highlights of Dragon Ball is its lineup of fantastical villains who often destroy entire cities or planets in the blink of an eye, disregarding their ordinary citizens. So when Dragon Ball: The Breakers puts you in the shoes of one of those villains or a terrified citizen trying to escape by collaborating with up to six other humans, it’s a novel idea, a great idea, in fact. Unfortunately, the execution of that idea is not up to the concept: Dragon Ball: The Breakers feels like a low-budget game, with weak controls, a dodgy camera, and gacha mechanics that don’t help improve the lackluster multiplayer experience.

Dead by Dragon Ball

The Dragon Ball: The Breakers walkthrough offers a quick explanation of temporary seams that cause supervillains to appear where they shouldn’t, but it’s just a lame excuse to explain. why these endless multiplayer battles occur. When you play as a Survivor (whether it’s a custom avatar or one of the weaker characters in the series), you’ll strive for various objectives to send the invading villain (called the Raider) back to where he came from. These tasks consist of finding power keys and placing them in the right place, and protecting different machines from being destroyed by the Raider. Since the Raider is so overwhelmingly powerful compared to the Survivors, it’s fun to be forced to survive primarily through concealment and various forms of subterfuge, such as abilities that allow you to take the form of a random object, or stun your enemy for a short time.

The heart-stopping moments where you don’t really know if the Raider has seen you or not, or where you’re working as a team to complete an objective, they can be really exciting and force you to improvise quickly. Since the punishment for being caught without a plan is almost certainly death, this leads to some incredibly tense interactions where it really feels like you can outsmart your enemy. It’s all about brute force versus creativity, and these moments were often the high point I chased while playing as a Survivor.

Unfortunately, controls and camera are poor. As you move, your character often sits at the edge of the frame, as if the camera doesn’t quite know what to focus on, and it feels like you’re sliding from one side of the screen to the other. This is doubly true when it comes to targeting long-range abilities like grappling hooks or rocket launchers. Additionally, many of my abilities were frequently interrupted by the Raider or thwarted by the camera by colliding with a nearby wall during a tussle. It makes perfect sense that you’d be at a disadvantage when facing a Raider, but not because your character is so difficult to control.

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Aside from his skills that you can equip, the real ace up the Survivor’s sleeve is the Dragon Swap, which is the chargeable ability to transform into super-powered versions of your character based on various Dragon Ball heroes. These come in the form of items you receive from a coin-based gacha mechanic, a questionable system that I’ll delve into later. You can also collect all seven Dragon Balls mid-match and summon Shenron to make all survivors’ Dragon Swap level increase by one, or to power yourself up to one level higher than your maximum strength for a short time. time frame. After transforming into the hero of your choice, you can fight the raider for a short time to give your fellow survivors more time to escape, or even try to defeat the raider outright.

While this is a cool concept, my complaints about the controls and camera are heightened when moving at high speed after a dragon swap. I have often had trouble aiming at my enemy, as Dragon Ball: The Breakers features a lock-on system that doesn’t actually target your enemy if it is moving, and all the attacks that have hit have seemed rather lucky to me. And when they did connect, the lack of visual information confused me as to what was going on. This should be the most exciting mechanic in The Breakers, but instead these moments were often frustrating and ineffective, and apart from a few times where several of us teamed up and vastly outclassed and stunned the Raider, the most of the time I used Dragon Shift to just get away.

Moments like this can be genuinely tense.
Times like this can be really tense.

There are three levels of Dragon Change that are charged using passive abilities and picking up items, and they’re supposed to be roughly equal in power to a Raider’s current transformation level, but I had a hard time judging when I was outpowered by design, or just once again confused by the poor controls. It’s a frustrating feeling not being able to know why you’re not enjoying yourself.. I was only sure that the more time I spent in combat, the less fun I had.

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It’s good to be bad

As usual, I had more fun playing as a Villain than as a Survivor, hunting down defenseless citizens and destroying their toys before they could be used to escape me. It’s satisfying to absorb survivors and civilian NPCs and become a new form with new abilities (especially since you manage to destroy a large part of the map each time), but even in that power fantasy, the attacks lack impact, the camera it’s a headache and the lack of good visual feedback makes it hard to tell what was going on. The only difference is that I had the speed and power to make up for these mechanical deficiencies, while my Survival opponents didn’t.

Also I had a hard time getting the chance to play as a Raider. Less than a week after launch, I had to queue my Raider preferences for six games in a row to even get one where I wasn’t a Survivor. This makes sense in a one-vs-seven game, since most people will be survivors, but that doesn’t make it any more fun. Unless you’re playing with a large group of friends, don’t expect to play as a Raider very often.

Dragon Ball: The Breakers is at least a little more fun when you can queue up with your friends, as the tense moments and frenetic interactions made us scream in fear or laugh out loud on several occasions. But all too often those moments came from wrestling with controls or throwing up bewildered hands at a sudden off-screen death.

Unless you’re playing with a large group of friends, don’t expect to play as a villain very often.

The graphics of The Breakers do not help in this regard. Although the characters retain the iconic style of Dragon Ball and the three maps are very varied, with canyons, cities and open spaces, most of the textures are low resolution and blurry up close. The characters don’t really seem to interact with the environment either, but just skate over it. Some of the skill animations could use another pass as well. The grappling hook doesn’t make any sound like it’s hooking onto anything, just a weird buzzing sound. I’ve also gotten stuck on the ground or in corners of terrain multiple times. Everything seems unfinished.

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More money, more problems

In what has become the usual tradition of live services, Dragon Ball: The Breakers has three different currencies: TP Tokens, Super Warrior Spirits and Zeni, the last two can be earned by playing instead of paying. Super Warrior Spirits allow you to level up or purchase different abilities, and Zeni allows you to purchase items from the in-game cosmetics shop. TP is the premium currency that you can buy with real money, and can be used to buy cosmetics, just like you do with Zeni. You can also use Zeni and TP Tokens in the Spirit Siphon, the gacha mechanic that allows you to receive a random draw of Transpheres.

When I found out that you could spend money to gain a competitive advantage, I was worried that Dragon Ball: The Breakers would easily become a paid game as I assumed that 5 star characters would have some useful abilities that would not be readily available to them. those who are trapped in the Zeni. That would be bad enough for a free-to-play game, but absolutely atrocious for one like this that also has an upfront cost. But circumstances have made the mechanics of dragon switching often so indecipherable that it was difficult for me to analyze if a skill was powerful or not. I guess it’s a way to level the playing field, but you have to know that some of your competitors will still pay to acquire skills and characters without spending money.

More 5-star Vegetas please.
More 5-star Vegeta, please.

There’s also a standard battle pass system with no premium version, but you can buy levels of the pass with TP. Various clothing options, emotes, and even more TP are included, in case you really want to spend premium currency to buy a battle pass tier and get premium currency.

Dragon Ball: The Breakers has a great concept with an execution that does not deliver. While there are fleeting moments of hilarity and tension, they are often due to a struggle with the controls and camera rather than anything mechanically interesting in its asymmetrical combat. Add to that an unimpressive presentation and more free-to-play real-money incentives, and you’re left with the potential for a fun afternoon with friends, but little value beyond that.