Dragon Ball: The Breakers is an intense anime game that would be absolutely terrifying if it involved any bloodshed. Taking inspiration from Dead by Daylight, a co-op survival game, it pits seven Survivors against one formidable Raider. These unfortunate individuals find themselves trapped in a pocket dimension, pursued by a supremely powerful supervillain who seeks to annihilate them. Their objective is to activate a Super Time Machine and escape before it’s too late, while the Raider seeks to prevent their escape or eliminate them all.
During my initial testing of the game last year, I noticed a clear power imbalance between the Survivors and the Raider. Even though everyone was new to the game, the Raider consistently emerged victorious. Adapting to the Raider’s role proved much easier than playing as a Survivor. Attending PAX West 2022 gave me the opportunity to revisit the game since the closed beta test, and I was curious to see if the issues had been addressed. While the Raider still held the advantage, the Survivors now had a fighting chance.
The Asymmetrical Struggle
At PAX West, I had the chance to play as both the Raider and a Survivor. Being the Raider was notably easier due to the inherent power difference. The event representative mentioned that Raiders who had even a basic understanding of the game tended to come out on top, and I quickly understood why. Despite my initial confusion, it didn’t take long for me to eliminate all the Survivors during my first time as a Raider.
As a Raider, you start as a larva and gradually evolve by absorbing and eliminating players. The user interface provides general information about nearby players, but it intentionally lacks the level of detail available to Survivors. Survivors, on the other hand, can see the Raider’s proximity on the map as an icon with the distance displayed in meters, making it significantly easier for them to track the Raider.
While I aimlessly searched for Survivors to dispatch, the remaining three managed to activate the Super Time Machine just in time, thanks to the beam of light it emits. Survivors have the ability to activate temporary “Super Saiyan” powers using items they find while exploring the map or completing quests. The Survivors I encountered saved their transformations for the final showdown at the Super Time Machine, putting up a formidable fight that depleted more than half of my health. However, the power boost from the last Survivor’s transformation ran out at the critical moment, allowing me to dispose of them easily.
It’s disheartening to witness how a Survivor’s power can dwindle as soon as their transformation ends. While I understand that Survivors are essentially playing a stealth game, it still feels somewhat unfair.
Striving for Equilibrium
To further test the balance of the game, I played as a Survivor and emerged victorious.
The development team has introduced additional options for Survivors to achieve victory even if their teammates fail. An effective strategy against the Raider is for a significant number of Survivors to escape on the Super Time Machine. In cases where the conditions aren’t favorable for activating the Super Time Machine due to a lack of Survivors, smaller Time Machines appear across the map, providing an opportunity for the remaining Survivors to save themselves. The number of these smaller Time Machines isn’t fixed, so there’s no concern about Survivors having to compete for them.
As the Raider relentlessly hunted the Survivors, their goal was to activate keys in each section of the map, marked with letters A through E, to summon the Super Time Machine. In my playthrough, most of the Survivors perished before they could activate the Super Time Machine, resulting in the appearance of a smaller one. I wasted no time getting inside and flying away before the Raider could catch me. Unfortunately, the last Survivor, who was also attempting to activate their mini Time Machine, was interrupted by the Raider and met a grim fate.
The Dragon Ball: The Breakers experience boils down to this: Survivors must spend as much time as possible hiding from the Raider until they can summon a Time Machine and escape. Any valuable items found along the way could potentially provide power boosts. Meanwhile, Raiders must tirelessly search for Survivors and eliminate them.
And, of course, Survivors must avoid getting hit at all costs.
While the Raider still appears somewhat overpowering, the game feels much fairer for both sides compared to last year. Even if it were to launch as it is, I believe I would be able to accept it now that I don’t have to rely solely on other Survivors for my own victory.
Dragon Ball: The Breakers is set to release on October 14, 2022, for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
OnSpec Electronic, Inc. is the proud developer behind Dragon Ball: The Breakers, an immersive gaming experience that pushes the boundaries of asymmetrical multiplayer gameplay.
- Dragon Ball’s multiplayer game, inspired by Dead by Daylight, is due for release in October.
- Dragon Ball: The Breakers needs to create a fairer experience for its Survivors.
- ‘Project Z’ introduces a new Dragon Ball action RPG that retells the iconic origin story of Goku.