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Preview of Dragon Ball The Breakers: we played Dead by Daylight in the world of the famous cartoon, our impressions at TGS 2022

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Preview Dragon Ball The Breakers: we played Dead by Daylight in the world of the famous cartoon, our impressions at TGS 2022

The adaptations of Dragon Ball follow each other and often look alike, but sometimes, only sometimes, a studio stands out. Dragon Ball: The Breakers thus moves away from the fighting game and reappropriates the concept of Dead by Daylight. Does this asymmetrical multiplayer survival game live up to the universe imagined by Akira Toriyama?

Preview Terms

During the Tokyo Game Show 2022, JV’s editorial staff was able to lay their hands on the PlayStation 4 version of Dragon Ball: The Breakers during a game session of around 15 minutes.


Interdimensional fan service

No need to look for any logic and even less a direct link with the saga initiated by Akira Toriyama. Dragon Ball: The Breakers is simply inspired by the original work, and draws on various elements of lore to strike a chord with fans. For the rest, the title developed by Dimps and published by Bandai Namco does not in any way integrate the official canon of the franchise. We are in the presence of a video game spin-off designed around a vision… that of an asymmetrical multiplayer survival game opposing an antagonist to civilians… neither more nor less. The context, here a pretext and boils down to “survivors try to escape the clutches of a villain after having landed via an interdimensional fault on a common map”.

The studios unsurprisingly multiply the nods to the series, the opposite would have been surprising, and try to remain as faithful as possible to it. The concept of the game still requires several departures from the fundamentals of Dragon Ball and other adjustments in order to balance these improbable face to face headlined by the series’ most iconic villains. Cell and Frieza are thus joined by Majin Boo (or Majin Buu). The references don’t stop there, and luckily they blend into the gameplay. The “Z Fighters” (Son Goku, Krillin, etc.) participate in some way in the adventure, even if their presence is, so to speak, ephemeral. This “free adaptation” does everything possible to respect the source material while emancipating itself from it, which may tickle Dragon Ball purists.


An asymmetrical multiplayer experience

Dragon Ball: The Breakers is presented as a 100% asymmetrical multiplayer experience in which one player tries to decimate the opposing team of seven other players in a 1 versus 7. If the description sounds familiar to you, it is completely normal. Bandai Namco’s game reappropriates the formula installed by Dead by Daylight and merges it with the universe of Akira Toriyama. However, this proposal is not a simple copy-paste. On the contrary, it retains a certain balance between its playful model and the lore of Dragon Ball for a result that is at least intriguing.

The villain of the story, named here “Raider”, aims to prevent the survivors from fleeing either by killing them or by destroying the Time Machines, the only means for them to escape certain death. As for the survivors, they are invited to unearth keys on the map in order to activate the Startup System, then to protect said system for a certain time. This has the effect of launching the Super Time Machine and opening a portal synonymous with escape. In case of premature destruction, Escape Time Machines appear on the map. The question is whether you want to take the risk of waiting for your comrades once reached.

Dragon Ball The Breakers: we played Dead by Daylight in the world of the famous cartoon, our impressions at TGS 2022

According to the party and the civilians eliminated, the villains evolve to ideally reach their final form according to mechanics specific to each character (absorption for Cell, anger for Frieza, etc.) which unlocks new skills until you get the Ultimate Special Attack (Kamehameha, This Planet Will Die, etc.). Finally, our three executioners have the possibility of reducing the battlefield by destroying an area when changing from one form to another. On the other side of the chessboard, survivors can count on their number, 7 as a reminder, a keen sense (or not) of teamworkAnd that’s not all.

On the map are scattered “Transpheres” which contain the spirit of a Z Fighter which grants those concerned and for a given time a tenfold power and certain skills. In summary, a civilian can then stand up to Cell, Frieza and Majin Buu. Added to this are various skills and items allowing players to flee or hide, just to survive a few more seconds. It remains to mention the Dragon Balls, placed at the four corners of the map, which once gathered in a specific place grant a wish whether you are Raider or Survivors.

Dragon Ball: The Breakers does not sparkle, but is fun to play provided you have integrated all the subtleties of gameplay. In fact, several parts are necessary to understand the different game mechanics. Dimps studios openly bet on a multiplayer experience requiring some learning time which could put off some, and convince others to be tempted. This survival game would especially need to expand its offer and offer more content following the launch. As it stands and with only three villains in the cast, players risk seeing the end of it (too) quickly.

Dragon Ball The Breakers: we played Dead by Daylight in the world of the famous cartoon, our impressions at TGS 2022

Our impressions

It is necessary to recognize in Dragon Ball: The Breakers its desire to do well and to offer a refreshing experience taking as a framework a familiar universe… that of Akira Toriyama. However, Bandai Namco only partially succeeds in realizing its vision of asymmetrical multiplayer gaming, not to mention content that is still too shy.

Editorial review

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