Dragon Ball: The Breakers Review (Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, PS5, Switch & PC)
Dragon Ball: The Breakers finally hit the market on October 14th, 2022. As always, we’re compiling an in-depth review if you ever wonder how fun it is, if it’s worth buying, or if it plain sucks. In case you’re unaware, Dragon Ball: The Breakers is the newest game from the Dragon Ball universe that is taking a huge step away from the norm.
Unlike previous installments, Dragon Ball: The Breakers is an online asymmetrical survival multiplayer game that challenges seven ordinary citizens (Survivors) against ruthless infamous villains (Raiders) from the Dragon Ball universe. We’re talking rivals like Cell, Frieza, and Buu against the shape-shifting pig, Oolong, the Farmer, and Bulma, among others. In total, it’s a tight race of seven terrified citizens against one Raider out for blood.
So, if you’re a Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/ S, or Microsoft Windows owner and would like to finally set the record straight on whether to get yourself the Dragon Ball: The Breakers, tag along, will you?
The Premise is a Novel Idea, But the Rest of the Story is Non-Existent
Sure, all the rage about Dragon Ball: The Breakers is seven ordinary citizens fighting to survive this menacing, impending doom unleashed upon their lives. The premise opens up with a short cutscene from fan-favorite purple-haired Goku breaking the news that you’re about to be sucked into a “Temporal Seam” alternate dimension where just like you, also happen to suck into its void, power-hungry supervillains that want to kill you. At least there’s no page of text explaining the story.
At first, you’re probably super confident, which admittedly would come easily to anyone thrown into a colorful, cartoonish, comedic universe. Perhaps you’ve played the likes of Dead by Daylight and Friday the 13th, which were the first horror games to popularize the asymmetrical multiplayer genre. And you’re probably asking yourself, what could be horrifying in a bloodless anime game? A whole lot of power imbalance is what.
The premise is good. Really, really, good. Stretching your limits, fighting a supervillain against all odds. Surely winning will feel incredible. Those tense, few heartstopping moments before a supervillain takes your life must feel cunningly good, the very definition of creativity and wit versus obvious raw power. And if you play as the Raider, hunting down helplessly terrified civilians, the so-called thrill of the hunt sounds cool.
But that’s all there is to it. From here onwards, there isn’t much of a story, save for some random dialogue that doesn’t really make the story any more interesting than the premise. At this point, you wonder whether rating the story and counting the points towards the final tally really matters because there isn’t just any story to rate.
A Show of Promise for the Asymmetrical Multiplayer Genre
The gameplay is the actual stuff to talk about and what you’re probably most interested in. So, here’s how things go down in Dragon Ball: The Breakers.
First, there are two playable sides: Raiders and Survivors. It’s a 7v1 PvP multiplayer game, so there’s not much of a fair game there, but that’s the point of it all: to make Survivors so weak and petrified against the Raiders that scampering for your lives trying to survive through them is the only thing lingering on your mind, throughout the game.
You may be familiar with the Raiders from some of the most popular supervillains in the Dragon Ball franchise, like Cell, Frieza, and Buu, wreaking havoc on whole cities or planets without trying too hard. Survivors, on the other hand, are regular, ordinary citizens whose only way out is to work together to defeat the Raider, or at least try.
Just the idea of Survivors versus Raiders, and not just any Raiders, but a fantastic roster of Dragon Ball supervillains, is a great show of promise of a magical, survival, horror (though bloodless) game.
Are Raiders Truly as Unstoppable as They Are Made Out to Be?
On both sides, you’re free to level up (as if the Raiders need more power-ups). Raiders level up in power each time they kill a Survivor. They’re often on the offensive side, dealing as much damage to the Survivors as they can. You win when you’ve killed all the Survivors, which is actually pretty easy to do without trying too hard.
That’s because Raiders powering up means evolving from a mere larva stage transforming to the most-powerful Level 4 creature, whose strength means they can kill a Survivor from a mere toss of the hand. Whew. At this point, run! Unless you’re more than one Survivor with power-ups – we’ll get to that in a few.
If, as a Raider, you take too much heat, you’ll see defensive skills aren’t really made available to you. Your only option is to use your terrain destruction skill, if you haven’t already, to teleport into the air and wipe out a portion of the map. Oh yes. Raiders can wipe out portions of the map when they grow powerful.
As if things couldn’t get any worse, Raiders do have a clue of your whereabouts through an “I’m here” alert displayed as the word “player” floating around some grass or mountain. Also, if you activate a Super Time Machine, the beam of light as it shoots up in the sky can easily alert Raiders to your presence and kill you before you’ve found solace.
Attacking a Survivor and killing them twice means you’ve erased them from history, or they can no longer be revived by the remaining Survivors. It goes without saying that coming head-to-head with a Raider is a sure loss of time and life. Seriously, if you spot a Raider, run! Okay, enough about Raiders.
So, Why Choose a Survivor?
If you’re a Survivor, how exactly do you defeat this unstoppable beast? Well, there are three not-too-easy ways. First, all Survivors must roam around the map, collecting up to seven “power keys.” These can unlock a Super Time Machine that you can teleport to another realm, escaping the Raiders' wrath and winning!
Alternatively, a not-so-easy way is to use Transpheres to transform into iconic Z fighters like Goku, Piccolo, or Tien for a short while, though. You’ll have lots of tools to defend yourself then, from solar flares to kaioken, to destructo discs, and more. The short transformation time frame means you’ve got to be smart and team up with other survivors to try and take a Raider down, simultaneously. Just make sure not to run out of time and transform back to your original self because it’s endgame at that point.
There’s a third, and last alternative Survivors can use. While collecting resources around the map. If you’re lucky to collect all seven dragon balls, you can summon Shenron and make a wish to reach the ultimate level four. At this point, it’s somewhat fair game, but teamwork is still always key.
Now you see why the odds aren’t stacked in your favor at all. And maybe that’s exactly what makes this game interesting. So there’s no complete loss of hope, survivors can see an icon on the map with exact meters on their screen showing exactly how far a Raider is. So plus points there, I guess.
And unlike the beta tests, perhaps if you set out to take down a Raider as a group of friends and family, choosing to work together instead of hobbling around aimlessly, you may end up collecting more wins as a survivor. It’s not impossible, just hard as a nut to crack.
On to the Technicalities…
Survivors vs. Raiders, weaklings vs. all-powerful is definitely a great idea from the get-go. The gameplay is also not too scrappy, reminding you always that there’s an omnipresent power imbalance to finally make peace with. But the execution of the idea and gameplay is what, ultimately, matters most.
Let’s start with the graphics. There isn’t much we can say here because of how easy it is to see right off the bat that Dragon Ball: The Breakers isn’t winning any awards. Perhaps it’s the low-budget development that went into the game, or there was some preconceived concept we can’t quite put a finger on.
The graphics are just too low-bar to earn any points. From low-resolution textures to the blurriness you see up close, it’s almost a pain seeing the worth of wide spaces, canyons, towns, and more go to waste. Compare it to previous Dragon Ball games like Dragon Ball FighterZ, and it’s game over.
Camera angles aren't as great as we’d like. There is something off with how we move from side to side, even tampering with aiming and accuracy while fighting an opponent. Sometimes, it takes too long to load visual feedback of what exactly is going on, which can play at a disadvantage when you need fast-paced, instant feedback fighting off Raiders.
And then there’s the gacha system which can really demotivate players wanting to compete authentically. If you can easily purchase TP Tokens with real money, giving you a leg up when choosing a higher-level character, then what is the point in putting in the time and hours into progressive gameplay? At best, you get a pay-to-win game that makes little sense, given you do have to pay to get access to the game itself.
Dragon Ball: The Breakers is a two-halve attempt at the upcoming online asymmetrical multiplayer genre. On one end, the heart stopping, tense moments of trying to outsmart obviously powerful opponents are to die for, sometimes literally. On the other, the novel concept behind the game is half-baked and not nearly as impressive as the caliber of games we’re used to from the Dragon Ball franchise.
So does the game suck, and is it worth buying? Saying it sucks is too harsh because there are potentially fun-induced party game moments any crowd would love to play. However, it’s a game you likely won’t commit to playing over time. Luckily, the game goes for much less than; you could definitely give it a try if you can.
Dragon Ball: The Breakers Review (Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, PS5, Switch & PC)
A Colorful, Cartoonish, Comedic Dragon Ball Universe
Dragon Ball: The Breakers, unlike the most popular Dead by Daylight online asymmetrical multiplayer game, thrusts you into a colorful, cartoonish, comedic universe. It’s a horror and survival game, but without the blood. Fight against all odds as a Survivor, or wreak havoc on ordinary citizens as a Raider. Either way, the last man (or team) standing wins.