Dragon Ball: The Breakers, developed by Bandai Namco, is an exciting multiplayer survival game set in the beloved Dragon Ball universe. Fans of Dead by Daylight may find the premise familiar: eight human survivors are trapped with a formidable Raider and must work together to summon the Super Time Machine using scattered Power Keys across the map.
Striving to Survive
In this game, cooperation is key for the survivors who find themselves sucked through a temporal seam and trapped alongside the Raider. The ultimate goal is for the survivors to escape on the Super Time Machine, either individually or as a team. However, true victory is only achieved if all survivors make it out alive. Meanwhile, the Raider’s objective is to prevent any survivors from escaping. It’s possible for both the Raider and multiple survivors to emerge victorious, leaving the ones who fail to escape empty-handed.
During each match, there are three distinct phases: the Search Phase, Defense Phase, and, depending on the circumstances, an Escape Phase. The Search and Defense Phases occur consecutively, while the Escape Phase is triggered by the destruction of the original Super Time Machine by the Raider. In such cases, survivors must activate backup time machines or even summon a dragon god for assistance.
Throughout the Search Phase, survivors must locate and activate the Power Keys spread across the map, gathering power-ups in preparation for the Defense Phase. Once all the Power Keys are in place, the Super Time Machine materializes, commencing the Defense Phase. During this phase, survivors must thwart the Raider’s relentless attempts to reach the Super Time Machine by gradually interacting with it until it’s fully activated. The more survivors collaborate on this task, the faster the machine activates.
Meanwhile, the Raider must eliminate all the players to emerge victorious. It can absorb defeated survivors, growing in strength and removing them from the game. To prevail, survivors must avoid absorption and work together to hinder the Raider’s growth. However, with seven survivors pitted against a single Raider, the odds are stacked against them, making the task of defeating the Raider a daunting one.
Survivors possess rechargeable abilities such as smoke screens, grappling hooks, and even teleportation pods, enabling them to evade the Raider. Additionally, a clever camouflage technique allows survivors to transform into vases and barrels, seamlessly blending into the environment. While survivors can unlock and utilize powerful Super Saiyan abilities by collecting enough power-up cubes, these should be reserved as a last resort rather than an attempt to directly overpower the Raider.
Playing defensively as intended should not be challenging for survivors, especially with the available resources. The map initially feels extensive, potentially causing players to become disoriented within the caverns and limiting their interactions with other survivors or the Raider. However, the map’s size is justified by the Raider’s ability to eliminate entire sections during evolution. Simply running around the map without purpose is futile as each match has a time limit. If survivors fail to escape in time, the Raider claims victory by default.
Finding the Right Balance
In theory, Dragon Ball: The Breakers is an intriguing game. However, the power dynamics between survivors and the Raider require some fine-tuning. The Raider can quickly evolve into its strongest form while survivors struggle to level up. Even when survivors possess charged Super Saiyan abilities, it’s not uncommon for an entire team to fail in fending off the Raider. Abilities also seem to have minimal impact on the Raider and expire too swiftly.
Furthermore, the appearance of the Super Time Machine at a fixed, conspicuous location presents a predicament. The game encourages survivors to gather in one place, expediting the machine’s activation but leaving them vulnerable to the Raider’s attacks. A single blow from the Raider knocks survivors down, reducing them to a crawling state. While survivors can revive their fallen comrades, the process is time-consuming. This issue becomes especially challenging when the entire team must protect the time machine from the Raider, making multitasking a difficult endeavor.
In short, it appears that the Raider holds a significant advantage over the survivors. Throughout my time playing the closed beta, I never witnessed a complete victory for the survivors. It’s essential to remember that this beta phase has designated time frames for testing, and becoming an expert overnight is unrealistic. Nevertheless, it’s concerning how easily novice Raiders can overpower survivors with similar levels of experience. While introducing an entirely new mechanic, such as a health bar, may be a considerable undertaking, it is my hope that the development team will strive to strike a more balanced gameplay experience.
Dragon Ball: The Breakers is slated for release sometime in 2022, with plans to launch on PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
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