“This Isn’t The Dragon Ball You’re Looking For…”
- System: PS4/PS5, PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One
- Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
- Developer: Dimps Corporation
- Release Date: October 13, 2022
Dragon Ball has spawned so many games, movies, and various other mediums that you can never say the franchise lacks support. Fans will always try to support the Dragon Ball series in whatever way possible and that has mixed results, unfortunately. Just because you slap a popular brand name on a form of media doesn’t mean the end result will be amazing. That sadly might be the case for Dragon Ball: The Breakers which has potential hiding within but there’s a lot to discuss that shows the folly of a series branching out too much. You’ll understand what we mean in a second as we review Dragon Ball: The Breakers for the PS5.
Unlike traditional Dragon Ball games, Dragon Ball: The Breakers is an experience, unlike anything you’re probably prepared for. Players assume the role of a custom-created character that has been caught in a time-tearing event that has sent them out of their timeline and into the past where the likes of Cell, Frieza, and Buu exist. Trunks, the time patroller we all know and love, has come to save the day by giving the player’s character a means of escaping to one day fight back and hopefully bring them back home. The idea of Dragon Ball: The Breakers is actually really cool. Players must work together—or try to—in order to find power keys to boot up a time machine and find a way back to safety. All the while there are various tools to locate, including the Dragon Balls that will aid them in their mission. These aspects work to keep players constantly moving which they will need to do as these locations aren’t peaceful.
On the other side of the so-called survivors, lies the Raiders, aka the villains mentioned above. One player will be assigned this role and must kill the other survivors before they make it to their time machine. If this setup sounds like Dead by Daylight, you wouldn’t be wrong. Though we applaud Dragon Ball: The Breakers for not using too much from that title and trying for a more original approach. The problems don’t lie with the ideas of Dragon Ball: The Breakers but with the actual execution.
Dragon Ball: The Breakers works in theory, but when the games begin that is where the problems begin as well. The first major issue is the actual gameplay/controls. Dragon Ball: The Breakers feels very loose to play. When running around or just dodging enemy fire, the controls feel floaty and very imprecise. Often we’d roll into walls or into the fire we were trying to avoid. You then need to use various tools to attack your opponent or survive when the same issues arise. We often missed rocket launcher attacks because aiming felt awkward. Though the worst issue arises when you must attack the enemy using your various warrior spirit.
Trunks gives the player a means of unleashing various warriors from the Dragon Ball universe to allow the player a temporary—and we mean temporary—enhancement of their strength and ability. Here, players can actually fly and fight using ki blasts but fighting will not be as smooth as say, Dragon Ball Z Kakarot or even the Xenoverse games. When you go in for a strike you’ll soon realize how powerless you were meant to be in Dragon Ball: The Breakers and it ruins the idea of inhabiting famous warriors from the franchise. Ki blasts barely do damage and rushing in for a combo attack feels fruitless more often than we’d like to admit. You are better off using that warrior summoning time to avoid attacks and keep the killer busy while your team down below tries to repair the time machine or summon Shenron. Many of these issues could be possibly fixed via updates but as of right now, gameplay for Dragon Ball: The Breakers feels pretty lacking and we know this could have been done so much better.
As one of the Raiders—Buu, Cell, and Frieza—the game takes on a simpler system but one that works a tad better. Players will grab a Raider and need to level them up to really unleash major damage on the survivors. You’ll begin at level 1 but as you kill others such as innocents and players, you’ll level up to the final form of each villain from the show. This aspect works well as Raiders can destroy entire areas to instantly down survivors and can also use various attacks to really make their job ten times more difficult. We liked playing as a Raider quite a bit more than a survivor.
Here is a brief moment of praise for Dragon Ball: The Breakers. The online networking is pretty solid with quick matchmaking and very rarely did we experience massive lag or issues while playing. We found playing as a killer to be a bit more difficult—we ended up with survivor more often than killer—but games don’t usually last more than 15 mins so we could go from one game to another with ease.
We can’t deny the maps in Dragon Ball: The Breakers make us smile a bit. Many of them are based on areas seen from the anime and we’ve already found some nice little details like Hercule’s—Mr. Satan—statue and other neat little secrets. The maps tend to be a bit too big at times which can make finding locations a bit tedious and complicated but a game like this wouldn’t work with smaller maps so the size just takes some getting used to.