HomeReviews2.5/5 ReviewDragon Ball: The Breakers Review

Dragon Ball: The Breakers Review


For years now, I’ve been telling anyone that would listen just how much I’d love for the Dragon Ball games on console to do something different other than release another fighter. Obviously fighting is a natural component to showcase the best bits, but the franchise needs a freshen up. I never expected Bandai Namco and Dimps to devise an asymmetrical multiplayer survival concept however, which is what Dragon Ball: The Breakers brings to the table. Will this Dead by Daylight kind of setup work for Dragon Ball: The Breakers though? 

The short answer is no. The longer answer is no, because the implementation of the core idea for Dragon Ball: The Breakers is sub-par. Now please end my pain and suffering. 

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An extraordinary occurrence in the space-time continuum has seen ordinary folk dragged from their daily lives and into a Temporal Seam. Here, they’re set to be imprisoned and tormented by menacing foes from another timeline. Fortunately, Time Patrol’s Trunks has come up with a plan for the people to make their escape; they just need to survive long enough to execute it. Welcome to Dragon Ball: The Breakers.

That’s the premise as told through the prologue/tutorial, with the scene set for the asymmetric multiplayer action which sees seven Survivors pitted against a fearsome Raider. It’s a set-up that should be covered by the basics, but The Breakers only delivers the bare minimum of what you need to know from the perspective of a citizen. There’s so much left unexplained, leaving you at a disadvantage almost immediately. As far as the Raider is concerned, a few sections of the in-game manual is all there is; it’s another case of learning on the job and that makes for quite a bewildering experience. 

Before analysing the 1v7 antics, the matchmaking must take centre stage. You can set preferences for whether you wish to play as a Survivor or a Raider, before launching matchmaking. While searching for a match, it allows you to wander around a small base of operations and you’ll become very familiar with this place as much time is spent waiting there. During the evenings and weekends, the average wait is anywhere from five to fifteen minutes, while other times it’s far longer. 

Is there a shortage of players willing to fork out for Dragon Ball: The Breakers? Possibly, but whatever the reason for the matchmaking struggles, the boredom kicks in pretty quickly – there’s only so much fun to have in the base, jumping about and running around in circles. Once you actually get a game, I can’t guarantee much improvement to your enjoyment, especially if you’re a Survivor.

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While in the role of the Survivor, you’re going to be extremely vulnerable as it doesn’t take much damage from a Raider to put you down. Hence, sneakiness is crucial during the search for Power Keys, the use of which leads to the eventual appearance of the Super Time Machine. When you factor in the heartbeat sound effect too, kicking in when the villain edges closer, there’s a decent amount of tension created. So it’s a shame that most of the other aspects are pretty bad.

Controlling the character and attempting to traverse the vast environments is an absolute chore. The camera is loose, making it a challenge as you’re constantly trying to keep it in line with your movements. Due to the verticality of some areas, climbing is often necessary, which doesn’t always work as intended in terms of transition into the action. Unfortunately it gets worse if you intend, or need to, launch an attack because the combat mechanics are poor.

Yes, despite being a puny human, you can throw a few punches or fire off a shot to antagonise the Raider who could be defeated with enough damage dealt. To really stick the boot in however, you must garner power through various means in order to temporarily acquire the powers and moves of a Super Warrior. Expect to be able to pull off the Kamehameha like Goku, perform Krillin’s Destructo Disc, or even channel your inner Namekian with Piccolo’s Special Beam Cannon. 

It’s a great idea on paper and does look very cool, so what’s bad about it? Well, the locking on system is awful and it’ll be a miracle as to whether any of the attacks even connect. Given how the Dragon Change ability doesn’t last long, the confrontation is over in the blink of an eye and it’s usually a fruitless effort. This means your best bet is to spam the skills to either stun the big bad or cause a commotion with smoke, before fleeing the scene as soon as possible.

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Whatever approach is taken, don’t rely on teammates too often unless you’re alongside friends – even then they’re probably as useless as you at first. Communications are limited to using signals in-game, which barely anyone does, and so it’s generally every person for themselves. I don’t see why a form of voice chat can’t be implemented to enable random folk to strategize better, but it is what it is. 

Conversely, it’s not an issue when it comes down to becoming the Raider as you’re on your own. Being the Raider is perhaps the best feature of Dragon Ball: The Breakers, allowing you to feel like a god while in charge of either Cell, Frieza or Buu. In order to claim victory, the Raider has to kill off the Survivors and/or prevent the Super Time Machine getting activated, thus blocking their escape. Throughout a match, the Raider can grow in power by attacking civilians and absorbing the lives of Survivors. 

Each Raider has four different forms, which is darn cool to see. For example, the ability to transform from Buu’s basic Spopovich form into Majin Buu, Super Buu, and finally Kid Buu is entertaining. There’s something rather exhilarating about flying around as Frieza in particular though, stalking the prey from above and picking them off. Again, the locking on and combat itself is way below the usual standards set by Dragon Ball games, but it doesn’t matter quite as much when you’re an absolute beast like any of the three aforementioned warriors.

Due to the nature of the 1v7 concept, opportunities for playing as the Raider are few and far between. It’s not ideal because there are a lot of things to grasp, including the use of skills to scout for Survivors (with Dodoria and Zarbon making cameos), the mass destruction of whole portions of the map, and navigating such vast lands. Should the chance be presented to you however, it’s a glimmer of hope that you haven’t completely wasted your money here.

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Outside of battle, customisation is encouraged with a whole host of items to purchase via a shop and earn by levelling up the season-long Dragon Tier. You can also spend real cash on microtransactions to unlock more costumes and accessories, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Just keep playing to garner the currency required for whichever items catch your eye, or stick to the standard attires because let’s face it, chances are you won’t be immersed in this world for long.

You see, Dragon Ball: The Breakers already appears to be waning in regards to the player base and that comes as no surprise. The lengthy matchmaking, the poor gameplay mechanics and the damn ugly graphics used for environments are just the tip of the iceberg. Only the Raider experience can provide anything worth partaking in, but that’s a rare occurrence. In the end, you’re essentially trying to survive the boredom brought about by Dragon Ball: The Breakers more than anything else, so I suggest you look elsewhere for asymmetric action.

Dragon Ball: The Breakers is on the Xbox Store

James Birks
James Birks
Been gaming casually since the SNES as a youngster but found my true passion for games on the Playstation 1 (the forbidden word ooo). My addiction grew to its pinnacle with the purchase of an Xbox 360 & Xbox Live Service. A recovering GS hunter that will still play literally any game.
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