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Dragon Ball: The Breakers Beta – First Impressions

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So let’s put this out there in case there’s any misunderstanding to what some are getting themselves into with ‘Dragon Ball: The Breakers’. This is NOT a full scale Xenoverse sequel, nor a replacement to the franchise. It does lift assets, but bears little resemblance in the way its mechanics are executed. But above this it’s a barebones approach to the Dragon Ball universe, stripping away some of its trademark bells and whistles in favour of a Survival-style 1-vs.-7 co-op, making for an interesting approach to what may come in the near or distant future of the title. That’s not to say that The Breakers’ beta displayed a noteworthy demonstration that could usurp other arena style survival heavy hitters, but can be a fun time if you’re a diehard of the Dragon Ball franchise itself. Mind you that the title may have an abundance of growing pains that will deter players from investing their time money into this project.

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Now when you’re not spending twenty minutes in the matchmaking lobby – with an “average wait time of one minute” – you’re assigned to either a party of seven known as a Survivor or a party of one recognised as the Raider. The beta had only two Raiders available in both notorious antagonists, Freiza and Cell. The objective as a Raider is to kill the entire opposing party before they activate one of Capsule Corps’ Time Machines. As seen in its serialised iterations, an antagonist or Raider here, harnesses the ability to essentially suck the life out of anyone, including the innocent to evolve into multiple forms. This is done by confronting a civilian and initiating an encounter, then finishing them off to collect your XP and move onto your next objective. It’s a cool representation of how the show portrayed its mercenaries but can come off as bottlenecking the experience somewhat.

Gating areas from Survivors comes in the extreme form of nuking landmarks, quashing any surroundings that survivors may use covertly. It’s almost a Battle Royale in the aspect that one player controls the map and tightens the arena circle in real-time. As a Survivor, it’s your mission to recover five missing power keys in five respective locations labelled A, B, C, D, and E. The time machine can be located at the core of each map, where ‘X’ marks the spot. It’s that simple. If any surviving party members are able to obtain keys and regroup, they can activate the machine. However if you do get caught by the Raider, you have two chances given your party revives you in time but a third strike and you’re out of the game. As a Raider however, you may destroy the time machine, lessening chances of the party escaping, but allowing the team to spread out and locate individual pods for each member to escape by themselves.

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So what’s the catch? Well, here’s where things get a little frustrating. Dragon Ball: The Breakers’ low price point comes at a cost of littering the title with microtransactions, just so players may grasp a limited span of energy that lets their party member mimic the abilities of their favourite Dragon Ball series character. It’s not deceptive more than it is a major deterrent from having the game entitle and entry fee to play it, then have trademark content locked behind premium paywalls. The loot box ‘gacha’ system falls into play with owners having to spend an in-game currency known as Zeni to pay for a Spirit Siphon, that can be purchased in the matchmaking lobby, and you’ll have plenty of time there to think about why you just forked out to play as Goku or Vegeta, while realising that your buyers remorse will strike harder when your abilities wear off.

While you may earn the title’s virtual in-game currency by clearing a round, its reward is so little that it makes it not worthwhile to invest either your time or money – be it in-game or actual cash. I was curious to see how and if the beta was cross-platform after a miserable thirty-minute long wait in a matchmaking lobby. I had friends that decided to bounce early due to these terrible waiting periods, so I quickly checked out both the PS4 and PC version with the latter only taking a few minutes to jump into a match. But my suspicions were confirmed that Dragon Ball: The Breakers is not cross-platform, ouch. Without the capability to play with friends across multiple devices, it may well impact the title’s selling point in its early phase. If Dimps or Bandai Namco have any intent to pull the trigger on cross-platform, it should be from launch instead of having players wait – in both this feature and to aid its atrocious waiting times.

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Then there’s the shop that allows you to spend more Zeni on an assortment of items to customise your character. Purchase different ‘visual items’ to represent your player’s avatar from snazzy Jorts and cargo pants, to traditional fighters garb or Letterman jackets. But again, you’ll need to have accumulated enough Zeni here to spend on these items or be prepared to fork out from your wallet. I’ll be honest, there was a point while playing the game that I genuinely enjoyed myself and so did my friends, but it’s a teething process that can be painful in most regard to its microtransactions – not to mention again, its load out time. It’s not for anything but The Breakers’ lacking polish needs to be attended to promptly, especially if they expect a purchase price to get players going. I would expect a title like this to be free-to-play, but not pay-to-play then pay-to-win. There’s promise, but counter-intuitive and a lack of understanding its audience will deeply burden Dragon Ball: The Breakers’ arrival this October.

Dragon Ball: The Breakers releases for Windows PC, XBOX, and PlayStation 4 on October 14, 2022.

Dragon Ball: The Breakers

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DRAGON BALL: THE BREAKERS is a 1-on-7 online asymmetrical action game in which a band of seven everyday humans tries to survive the Raider (a classic DRAGON BALL rival such as Cell, Frieza, and Buu) who will hunt and evolve into an unstoppable force. Escaping won’t be so easy!

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