PAX WEST 2022: ‘Dragon Ball: The Breakers’ is Great for DBZ Fans

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Dragon Ball The Breakers - But Why Tho

Asymmetrical games are quickly becoming the standard and of course, it’s come to anime. And to be honest, it’s pretty damn fun. At PAX West 2022 I got the chance to dive into the Bandai Namco-published Dragon Ball: The Breakers from developer Dimps.  A 7-vs-1 game, seven citizens (which you can customize) are caught in an unexpected temporal phenomenon and find themselves stranded in a Temporal Seam, imprisoning them with the Raider who’s out to defeat them before time runs out.

Dragon Ball: The Breakers is your standard asymmetrical fair and like the others before it, Evil Dead or Friday the 13thit is made for existing fans of the Dragon Ball franchise, even if the character customization allows new players to jump in without existing bonds to characters in the universe. In our playthroughs at PAX West 2022, our Raider chose Frieza but on release, you’ll have the option to pick from Freiza, Cell, or Buu. Cooperating together to find energy cells that power the Super Time Machine that would allow our team to escape, but the longer we take the more the Raider’s power increases.

With maps broken into several areas, making sure to coordinate with team members is going to be critical for the citizens to survive. Paired up with random PAX-goers, I didn’t have the easiest time figuring out which area my team was heading to or who needed help verbally. That said, with such massive maps, when you use special items like Attack Balls, you can jump to different map locations quickly and the map visually shows which energy cells have been found in each zone.

While a more robust ping system could help players not looking to be on the mic during their matches, there was clearly care put into the design of the maps and how each assisting item could help mitigate a lack of verbal communication between teammates.

Dragon Ball: The Breakers also allows both the Raider and Survivors to choose separate progression paths, unlocking skills, skins, and items that allow the players to pick how to play. While I didn’t get to explore this element in-depth while hands-on at PAX West, selecting different Survivors with pre-selected loadouts that were different than each other did give me an appreciation for how different each Survivor can really play depending on what they choose.

My one match as a Raider, Freiza, was a lot of fun, even moreso than playing as a survivor. As with a lot of asymmetrical, this is because it’s easy to play on your own, and pick apart a team that isn’t communicating. Additionally, the speed with which the Raider increases power is genuinely devastating for survivors, making it important that Survivors focus on speed and running. That said, the strength also makes the game feel really imbalanced, but then again, that could easily have been based on the nature of the convention-style demo and groups I played with.

All-in-all, Dragon Ball: The Breakers is a lot of fun for existing fans of the Dragon Ball as a franchise and is a welcome change to the RPG or generic anime fighters the franchise has gotten in the past. A lot of fun, even with a slightly steep learning curve, I can’t wait for the full release.

Dragon Ball: The Breakers releases October 14, 2022 on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, and Microsoft Windows.

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