Dragon Ball: The Breakers review

Dragon Ball: The Breakers on PC

When it comes to anime properties making the leap into the video game realm, there are a few ways to go about it. The obvious one is the fighting game genre, with games like Dragon Ball FighterZ and Demon Slayer: The Hinokami Chronicles offering tons of entertainment, while others like Yu-Gi-Oh! CROSS DUEL, which focuses on strategic play. Dragon Ball: The Breakers from Bandai Namco and Dimps takes a whole new direction, challenging players to take part in asymmetrical multiplayer action but failing almost every step of the way.

Think Dead by Daylight or Evil Dead: The Game, but wrapped in Dragon Ball’s hallmarks. In the game, one player takes on the role of one of the series’ recognizable villains or raiders – Cell, Buu or Freiza – while seven other players play plain old folks Survivors are helpless in the face of an essentially god-like enemy and can only escape alive. They can run, hide, and attempt to complete objectives.

Dragon Ball: The Breakers Matchmaking
Image Credit: Bandai Namco via Twinfinite

Much like its contemporaries, teamwork makes the dream come true, and there are some really fun moments as survivors work together. You could be looking for power keys to use in the right places, protecting certain machines from the raider’s wrath and so on while hoping to avoid the enemy’s gaze as it would mean a quick death. The tension is palpable and this game of cat and mouse is usually the best part of any match in Dragon Ball: The Breakers, especially when you can get into the game with friends.

However, it seems that the biggest obstacle to meaningful progress or enjoyment of the game isn’t the raider, it’s the camera and controls. Characters move as if unbound on the ground, floating by and making sure the camera struggles to keep up.

Playing as a raider is usually a better experience just because you are super strong and can afford more mistakes. Forget psychologically tormenting your opponents with creative ways to end them, or playing mind games, Dragon Ball: The Breakers isn’t built for that, which is a shame given the competition it’s up against.

Dragon Ball: The Breakers gameplay
Image Credit: Bandai Namco via Twinfinite

The gameplay gets even worse when trying to use any of the game’s abilities, be it a grappling hook for survivors or a charge for the raiders, with camera clipping or silly and long animations thwarting any meaningful attempts to pull something off. Even given the chance at Dragon Change, ostensibly a way for Survivors to level the playing field by morphing into the various Dragon Ball heroes, trying to actually fight the Raider is a tedious proposition.

The camera remains shaky and trying to connect to an attack becomes a chore. The lack of a proper lock-on system definitely doesn’t help, and instead of exciting fights, all you’re left with is hope for a lucky hit. When one of the more exciting aspects of the gameplay is better suited to escaping rather than taking on the villain, you know things aren’t going in the right direction.

Dragon Ball: The Breakers also doesn’t look that great to even consider overlooking some of its more obvious flaws. Expect a collection of low-resolution textures and blurry visuals across the three maps, with wide open spaces that lack meaningful interaction. Even for the few that can be used by survivors, the animations leave a lot to be desired.

Dragon Ball: The Breakers gameplay
Image Credit: Bandai Namco via Twinfinite

Another potential problem that could actually plague Dragon Ball: The Breakers if things work out well are the in-game currencies and microtransactions, with pay-to-win being a real concern. While players will earn both Super Warrior Spirits and Zeni as they play the game, allowing for the purchase of more abilities or cosmetics, the premium TP tokens can be used on cosmetics or, more likely, exchanged for random Transphere draws.

This is the main gacha mechanic that paves the way for new players to get top-notch heroes right off the bat. Luckily, the Dragon Change system, with less than ideal controls and interacting systems, doesn’t affect the gameplay enough to make pay-to-win a reality. That said, for a title that isn’t free to play, it’s still pretty outrageous.

Dragon Ball: The Breakers Gacha
Image Credit: Bandai Namco via Twinfinite

Despite efforts to include a massive collection of Dragon Ball characters and references in The Breakers, going so far as to provide a reasonably logical explanation of why it’s possible for dead villains and regular civilians to transform into your favorite heroes , the game is ultimately let down by its poor mechanics and systems. Rather than giving players a chance to sink their teeth into a new way to enjoy the story-steeped franchise, Dragon Ball: The Breakers is just sent to the place of a bad memory, much like a bad anime fill-in episode.

Dragon Ball: The Breakers

Dragon Ball: The Breakers Critic Review

Reviewer: Jake Su | Copy provided by the publisher.