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Dragon Ball: The Breakers Preview

Dragon Ball: The Breakers Preview

Well here’s something I never thought I’d be talking about: a Dragon Ball asymmetrical online survival game! I was fortunate enough to play the closed beta test of this unexpected mash-up, and there was a lot to take in during all of the madness of the short two hour playtime!

Scheduled for an unspecified 2022 release date, Dragon Ball: The Breakers is a seven-vs-one multiplayer game in which — if you are one of the seven survivors — you must escape the map whilst avoiding one of Dragon Ball’s iconic villains in the process. The lone player's role is known as a Raider within the game, and their job is to annihilate all survivors by doing what Dragon Ball bad guys do best: smashing the forces of good with lightning-quick combos and energy beams.

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I quickly created my character using the game's simplistic creation suite and jumped straight in, before being shown some basic tutorial messages on how each side's gameplay works. Anyone that’s played one of the Dragon Ball Xenoverse games before will notice that it’s actually set within those games’ universe, which is a nice touch. After the wall of text tutorial — which I mostly understood, as the mechanics described were similar to another asymmetrical game: Dead by Daylight — I had a quick look around the small lobby area. There are a few characters to chat with, a shop to buy customisation items (I can already taste the micro-transactions), a training area to upgrade your character’s skills, and other similar places.

Setting up a match was simple in the beta: choose “quick match” and wait... Then wait some more... Then continue waiting until a game begins. It took a while for me to get into some games, although this shouldn’t be as much of an issue in the full release. Thankfully I was still able to wander around the small lobby area, which was useful if I decided to buy my character a lovely new hat. It’s here that I had the chance to decide if I’d rather play as a survivor or a Raider, as well as which map to play (although there was only one option to select in the beta).

Onto the actual game then! I started out as a survivor with six other random players, and it was evident none of us had any idea what we were doing. There’s a lot going on in Dragon Ball: The Breakers, and very little of it was explained well in the opening tutorial text screen. But what better way to learn than diving right in? Trying my best to avoid the Raider — in the beta version, only Cell was available — whilst also finding keys hidden around the map to aid our escape, there was a large variety of items to pick up and a heads up display I could barely understand.

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In my first game I was caught and absorbed by Cell within the first few minutes —back to the lobby I went! In my second game, I thought it best to hide in a cave and figure out what my character could actually do. I could turn into some pottery to hide (kind of like the popular prop hunt mode found in many games), use a smokescreen to quickly evade a Raider, and a few other defences that I didn’t find as useful. There was also an option to attack, so I decided to brave the outdoors and if Cell appeared, I knew I would stand a chance this time.

Shortly afterwards I found one of the keys needed to progress, which somehow gave me enough energy to perform a power-up, in which I could transform into Piccolo for a short amount of time. One of my teammates close by was being attacked and I, now being the powerful Namekian, decided to go and save them. Unfortunately, the timer ran out mid-fight and just like that I reverted to my basic created character, before promptly being obliterated by the Raider.

By my third match I was beginning to understand more about playing as a survivor and raced from place to place, hunting down the keys to start up the time machine which would then be used to escape and win! I came across several items; a grappling hook to let me quickly scale large areas of the map, a rocket launcher to fend off any potential attacks, and a small hoverbike vehicle for quick dashes to far away locations (incredibly useful when your character is rather slow). I even revived a downed teammate that wasn’t quite finished off by Cell, I was on a roll! We gathered all the keys to begin the second stage of the match, where we survivors had to defend the time machine until a countdown expired and we would have a chance to escape! At this point however, Cell had grown into his Perfect form, and it wasn’t long before he took a few of us down. Some of my teammates managed to get to the time machine though, so I like to think I sacrificed myself for the greater good, and not that I got caught hiding in a cave as a piece of pottery and couldn’t fight back.

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Changing things up again before the end of the beta, it was time to play as the Raider, and to my surprise: I dominated the survivor team and won! Things are a lot simpler on this side of the game; you start off as the lowest form of Cell (his larval form with basically no attacks) and have to hunt down NPCs and generally cause as much havoc as your tiny little insect body can inflict, before powering up in spectacular Dragon Ball fashion into Imperfect Cell. Now I was strong enough to go and beat up some opposing players, so that’s exactly what I did! Within minutes I had absorbed two survivors, using melee attacks and some energy beams to humiliate them. Holding a button prompt then let’s you finish them off, with a gauge filling up that left me vulnerable to potential attacks.

Just like that, I powered up again into Semi-Perfect Cell, with some new abilities added. I also noticed a newly added third attack on the HUD which, when activated, let me destroy a section of the map using a Super Kamehameha. Cool! This isn’t something you can spam and is only usable once per transformation. I beat down two more survivors, although the remaining three activated the time machine before I had a chance to finish them off. But now, as Perfect Cell, I was at full strength and so I dashed to the centre of the map — to where the time machine was located — and, keeping a close eye out for any potential survivors, I destroyed their means of escape (again, by holding a button and waiting for a meter to fill up).

A guaranteed victory for certain! However, once the time machine was taken care of, the survivors had another way of escaping that I wasn’t aware of. One of Cell's abilities allows him to locate nearby players, of which there were two just inside a cave behind me. Naturally, I sent them on their way to see King Yemma — in other words, I killed them — before my last victim managed to escape. But I won! And it was an absolute blast to play as the villain, especially my personal favourite Cell.

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With my time in Dragon Ball: The Breakers at an end, I sat and thought about whether this was a game I would purchase upon its eventual release. There are a lot of issues to fix, mainly around matchmaking, and I would love the option to have a tutorial mode against bots just to assist new players. But for a closed beta test, there were less problems than I initially thought there would be, and the content included was only a small sample (even though some of it was quite daunting!) of what’s to come in the full release. After speaking to others who also played the beta, it seems like I didn’t even see everything it had to offer! For any Dragon Ball fans, this is potentially shaping up to be a must-play.

Mike

Mike "MickSave" Crewe

Staff Writer

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