Escaping the historical villains of the saga didn’t turn out to be exciting: between the backward graphics and the balancing problems, the critical points are numerous.
Dragon Ball remains a cultural pillar not only for children but for people of all ages, a dazzling beacon in the night of the inevitable post-prandial afternoons and a paper companion to a sea of passionate readers. Over the years, Toriyama’s epic has had numerous videogame transpositions – here the review of Dragon Ball Z Kakarot – and there are many today who would like to see strands like Budokai Tenkaichi return (we still feel the need for a Budokai Tenkaichi 4).
Well, the new video game dedicated to the clashes of Goku, Vegeta and his companions is Dragon Ball The Breakers, the asymmetrical multiplayer by Dimps, on the strength of a decidedly peculiar idea that seemed to be able to breathe a breath of fresh air into a franchise that has always been closed in the world of fighting games. We have tried it thoroughly and unfortunately we found ourselves faced with an experience undermined by numerous defects, both in terms of the graphics sector and in terms of balance and variety.
The narrative assumption on which this played variant of Dragon Ball is based comes from the space-time upheavals already protagonists of Xenoverse, the other Dimps-branded series dedicated to the adventures of the Saiyans (find our review of Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 here): the anonymous protagonists are in fact sucked into a fissure that sends them ruthlessly on a world threatened by the rise of one of the three historical villains of the saga , finding themselves to stand together to escape the inevitable destruction with the help of Trunks, a time patroller who studies the exaggeration of these phenomena to seek a definitive solution to the problem.
The characters who have become victims of space-time alterations are not the powerful heroes who defeated the so-called Reapers in other realities, nor can they count on their precious support in battle, but only ordinary people with no particular powers, and are therefore forced to flee from the planet by summoning the Time Machinemade available by the patrol vessel. Through an editor capable of offering a good variety to the digital alter-ego, the player is therefore called to give shape to the original character that he will control during the games – although some unlockable costumes allow you to impersonate the “minor” protagonists of the series, such as Bulma and Oolong – spent in search of the keys necessary for the appearance of an escape. The Breakers proposal is that of an asymmetric multiplayer in which seven users control the survivors struggling with a complicated escape, while an eighth participant maneuvers the villain on duty with the stated goal of killing everyone before they can activate the time machine .
At the start of the game, the protagonists are randomly scattered around the map and must open each treasure chest that appears in front of them: the playing area is divided into zones named with the letters of the alphabet, and in each there is a key to be inserted at a specific point.
When all the available keys have been placed, the Super Time Machine appears in the center of the map , a vehicle that – before being able to save all the players and ensure the victory of the survivors – needs to charge for a certain period of time , creating a countdown to victory that can be shortened by the continuous interaction of users at the spacecraft. It therefore appears evident that, once the Time Machine has been recalled, all the characters are driven to converge towards the center of the map: the survivors to speed up the final loading, the Raider to destroy the escape route which would decree his defeat.The final moments of the match are therefore characterized by a heated clash, in which the goal is to distract the villain so that the countdown reaches zero, joining forces and taking advantage of the objects found in the crates scattered around the map, between missiles fired with a bazooka and energy shots hurled from Vegeta’s gloves.
Inside the chests, but also among the objects that can be destroyed by the guns supplied to each survivor, there are small luminous cubes which increase the character’s energy: once sufficient quantity has been obtained to fill the first “exchange” level, the player can borrow the powers of a legendary warrior– also assuming some physical traits in common with it – to defend itself from the offensives of the Raider, who finds himself at least for a few moments confronting a fighter worthy of his power.
Collecting a greater number of luminous cubes means increasing the level of “exchange” available, which has a maximum limit of 3, and careful management of the same opens the way to a hypothesis that initially might have seemed unattainable: defeating the Raider . The antagonist is far superior to any single character in the game, and eliminates even the third-level warrior invoked by a single survivor in a matter of seconds, but careful coordination between users combined with a pinch of luck can also lead to the defeat of the villain, who has a life bar that is always clearly visible on the screen.
In short, when you play as the survivor you are called to impersonate the mouse who escapes the ravenous cat, hiding when the sound of a heartbeat announces the presence of the Raider in the area and repeatedly opening the anonymous boxes scattered around the map in search of the key to power.
The latter are shared by the entire group of survivors, therefore, when a player finds them, any team member can place them in the exact spot (which is any position on the ground, illuminated by a cone of golden light), and the same procedure it must be repeated for the five available zones for the Super Time Machine to arrive. The strong repetitiveness of a not at all exciting task is already highlighted in the gameplay proposal, further weakened by a balance bordering on the senseless which makes it impossible to escape the fury of the Raider: as soon as they are found by the enemy, in fact, a couple of seconds are enough for end up knocked down and defeated, and none of the means described above is really capable of counteracting the antagonist. Missile launchers and energy shots block the villain for less than a second – affecting his vitality in a laughable way – while the transformation into one of the main characters of the saga, unlockable through a random extraction system present in the hub world of The Breakers, steals the opponent a few more moments, but it always ends with a ruinous defeat without appeal.
The fight against the Raider therefore appears out of the question, but also escaping from it is very complicated, because he can quickly fly over the playing area and, patrolling it from above, it becomes very easy to find the human characters.
If a good coordination work (combined with the superficiality of a villain not paying attention to what is happening) leads to the discovery of all the keys, the survivors are still called to gather in the center of the mapto prevent the Reaper from destroying the newly summoned time machine, and thus are forced into a head-to-head confrontation that can only have one victor. When the villain in turn destroys the vehicle, an emergency time machine appears in each still available area of the map in which the survivors can quickly jump in to escape, and this is how most of The Breakers matches end . To fully understand how unbalanced the game mechanics are, just play the villain once, enjoying the supersonic speed and his incredible powers to find and destroy the poor unfortunates in a flash: in the profound injustice that characterizes the fight, playing as a Raider offers the rare moments of fun available in the experience, also because the growth of the antagonist is marked by three phases which – although they do not make the evolution of the character essential – resume briefly understand the story arcs seen in the manga and anime, and add a bit of variety to the game.
The most striking example is that of Cell, which passes through a first larval phase which forces us to scamper around the map in search of NPCs to absorb, before assuming the much more worrying appearance of the perfect android, while in initial moments of the game as Majin Buu we take control of Spopovich and Yamu, in charge of collecting the vital energy to channel it into the cocoon of the pink demon so that it awakens. Each villain has unique skills at its disposalsubject to cooldowns to be exploited in battle, but the clear gap with the survivors in terms of power discourages learning them – just physically attack the opponents a couple of times to knock them out – while any move is enough to turn off the ” transformation” into a warrior for which you have to sweat a long time and open many chests.
The three Raiders distinguish themselves briefly, without the differences distorting the unique trend of the game , in some characteristics: Cell is less powerful in terms of confrontation, but immediately has the ability available that allows him to track survivors; Frieza doesn’t need to get close to the enemy to finish him off, buying time to spend looking for the next victim; finally Majin Buu has a plethora of abilities that allow him to devastate entire areas and knock down several players simultaneously.
Furthermore, with each transformation of the villain – which happens in the same way for everyone, i.e. by landing and finishing off the survivors – the player gets the chance to wipe out one of the five areas of the map(with the exception of area X, in which the time machine appears), killing every opponent who is in it and making the search for the key implemented up to that moment useless.
In addition to the lame management of game balances, the presence of only one mode helps to extinguish the enthusiasm for a title that had the task of exploring new routes for a historic brand.
Furthermore, the technical sector of this Dragon Ball is disappointing, starting with the dated polygonal models to get to the visual effects of the energy skills reduced to the bone. Except for the facial expressions that reflect the original ones well, and a few sound effects that are decidedly spot on for the situations, the rest of the staging often proves to be incomplete: only three game maps are available, all very similar in conformation and small size. Exploring its ravines in search of keys hidden in anonymous chests soon becomes tedious, and an absent soundtrack does not help the experience, while the means available to the player – floating vehicles, trampolines, zip lines and grappling hooks – do not speed up mobility enough and prove useless in desperate escapes from the Reaper. Moving in these desolate areas is made difficult by a rather problematic management of the camera, with the view that does not follow the controlled character and leaves him to the sides of the frame, thus forcing the player to make continuous adjustments with the right analog, which become infuriating when called upon to take aim on the Reaperto unleash one of the abilities granted by “change” transformations.
Conversely, the villain has a granite grating that prevents him from failing, helping to ease the tension of a battle that the survivors cannot win in any way. Once the game with unsurprising results is over, the system does not automatically look for another one, but sends the player back to the hub world forcing him to repeat an online game process that is not very immediate and also characterized by long matchmaking times .
Dragon Ball The Breakers
PC Analyzed Version The developers of Dimps had set themselves the goal of offering a peculiar Dragon Ball-themed asymmetric multiplayer, capable of immersing players in the tension of a game between cat and mouse lived on the razor’s edge. Unfortunately, due to a clear imbalance between the experience with the villain and that in the role of the survivors, Dragon Ball: The Breakers fails to hit the mark, also given the only game mode present and the small number of maps available .