It Doesn't Fail
Since Street Fighter II was released by Capcom 30 years ago, fighting games have strived for perfection. Although the methods, mechanics and artistic styles of each ring-rocker may differ, they all work towards the same goal: to capture a community. A passionate player base will keep the fighter alive and kicking.
It is rare to find a developer making a "bad fighter" today. All of these fighters have made great achievements over the past ten years. Kasumi Ninja and Survival Arts' days are gone. They can't stay that way Jack.
The goal of fighting games today isn't to be great. They are all great. Today's challenge is to survive, build a community, retain full lobbies, be repped at tournaments, and to compete against more well-known brands. This is the true fight. It is what is now before DNF Duel. Nexon's long-awaited Dungeon Fighter Online spinoff. FGC is enjoying good health and will be bringing more food next year.
DNF Duel is a contender. But it also has a lot of scrap.
DNF Duel (PC [reviewed], PlayStation 4, PS5) Developer: Arc System Works Publisher: Nexon Publication: June 28, 2022 MSRP $49.99
DNF Duel is, as stated previously, an adaptation of Neople’s 2005 MMO Dungeon Fighting Online, also known as "DFO" or "DFO." This world's proclivity to frenzied fist-throwing in front of lush fantasy backgrounds makes it a no-brainer that it would be a great fit for fighting games. Nexon wisely chose two veteran studios, who have been able to adapt DFO to suit the one-on-1 stage. Neople already has a rich universe to support the action.
Enter Arc System Works (Guilty gear, BlazBlue) and Eighting (Bloody Roar Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom), both respected developers with skills that will pay the bills. This is Nexon’s best core decision for DNF Duel. The fighter enters the ring wearing an unproven and unknown brand, at least for western audiences. However, the publisher ensured that the publisher had recognizable developers who have proven track records and are capable of producing a solid and competent fighter.
It is an understatement to say that DNF Duel is competent. DNF Duel is pure wickedness.
DNF Duel is a four-button 2.5D fighter that offers both standard and simple inputs. This isn't simple or standard. Street Fighter 6 will have both controls simultaneously, making it difficult to make the right first impressions. DNF wants to be everything to everyone. A fun, easy-to-use fighter for beginners and a complex fighter for veterans. DNF manages to accomplish both these lofty goals, even if it means some initial stumbles.
The layout of the four buttons corresponds to Medium (M), Weak (W), Skill (S) and Magic (MS). The Block button is used by the player to hold back from Block. Maneuverability is a combination of walking, crouching and jumping, as well as running, dodging, and slow recovery (an invincible forward motion that allows for invincible forward movements, such as The King of Fighters' roll). So that even beginners can create satisfying chains, we recommend Weak links to Medium and Medium to Skill.
Skill mixes Heavy and Special. Similar to Tatsunoko, or Super Smash Bros., Skill blends Heavy and Special. Any direction can perform a relatively light special attack. Forward + S can be a projectile, dash attack, or defensive move. Down + S can also be anti-air or defensive. Back + S, on the other hand, is subjective and may include a parry, command grab, or any other action as determined by the fighter. Although these attacks can be a lot more devastating and have a similar directional input, the Magic button works similarly. You can use magic attacks to launchers, environmental traps and launchers or teleports. Are you with me? Ok.
Secret of Mana
Skill attacks can be used for free, but Magic attacks drain your Mana meter. Each attack costs a certain amount of Mana, depending on its power. Mana automatically replenishes itself after each use and will be replenished faster if the standard input is used (e.g., QCF + MS rather than simply forward + MS). Players can create visually stunning combinations by combining standard attacks with Skill attacks and Magic attacks. This allows them to be accessible to all new DNF players as well as new fighters.
It doesn't stop there. When a player's health drops below 30%, their character enters "Awakening." This state activates a unique passive skill that allows the character to become faster or gain more health with each hit. Awakened fighters also have access to a Super button, which allows them to create some amazing, hilariously OTT animations. It's important to time it correctly. If you make a mistake, it will result in you losing it. MK Krew, sorry.
There are many other options, including combo-breakers and strategic ways to increase your Mana meter. You can even convert your grey life into Mana. Eighting and ArcSys have created DNF Duel to allow two new players to engage with flashy anime warfare at the touch of a few buttons. However, this would not compromise the chance to create a highly competitive, strategic and deep fighter. Amazingly, the developers managed to pull it off.
DNF is an anarchic delight. It can sometimes lean towards chaos over precision, but that's okay. DNF can sometimes feel like the combatants are throwing nukes at each others, but it is actually human chess. There's a method to all this chaos. Release week will see the discovery of 20+ endless combos. This is DNF's love for overkill. But fighters often find their niche after they have been exposed to the public. We'll all have a lot of fun while we wait for the balance to be achieved.
DNF Duel embraces its sense o wanton chaos, and so should we. Why should we whisper? Sometimes it can be great to just scream.
DNF Duel is admittedly lacking the high-end visual polish and presentation of Guilty Gear Strive, ArcSys' flagship fighter. Although the spirit is present, the budget is not. The presentation and cinematic flair have been significantly reduced. DNF is still a well-designed game with likable characters. It's also enhanced by cool animations and dynamic intros. Oh, and nearly everyone is hot af with a lascivious degree of design horniness that I have yet to experience outside the Marvelous! oeuvre.
"Almost everyone is hot af." Put that on your trailer for accolades. I double dare ya.
There is someone for everyone, whether you're looking for the crispy judoka pressure from Grappler or the controlled chaos of Swift Master or the meat-and potatoes rushdown by Striker or the intricate, but cute shenanigans that my new Goth daughter Enchantress offers, in the bedroom or out. The hardest decision in DNF is likely to be choosing your main. I haven't yet found my muse. They're all so fascinating.
Warning: In month one, you'll face hundreds of Launchers. Are you thinking Skullgirls’ Peacock is a zoning nightmare. Launcher makes it look like Zangief.
Online servers will not go live until launch day so I was unable check them out. However, I did play the beta version earlier in the year. DNF's online service was easy to use, with the exception of some technical glitches. This is thanks to rollback netcode. Your experience with online stability may differ. Crossplay is not supported, which is disappointing. We hope Nexon will add Crossplay down the road.
Is there a Will?
DNF Duel offers several modes for offline and single VS. play. Standard Vs. and Arcade modes are available, along with a Survival mode. This mode is similar to Street Fighter V's, where the player can sacrifice score for in-between-round upgrades and boosts. You will also find a tutorial and the fully-featured Training Mode that includes combo trials for all 16 characters.
Story Mode is a story mode that allows each character to climb a ladder, with short cutscenes. These scenes give our heroes a background, personality, and investment as they travel around the globe in a literal "Battle of Wills." Yes, there are more hotties. Hotties all around.
Although the story is repetitive, the solid voice acting, helpful glossary and healthy sense humor keep it moving along. The final boss suffers from the agonizing "button read" syndrome, which causes this engagement to crumble. You are a Japanese fighter, and you often waltz to the end, but then face a frustrated foe, who is able to defend himself in close quarters but can't resist projectiles from range. It's a bit of an anticlimax.
Eye of the Tiger
DNF Duel is more ambitious than most people would think. Nexon's new scrapper has taken a MMO fantasy world and combined it with the stunning showdowns of an ArcSys/Eighting fight. It is determined to find its success in a generation full of well-established fighters. It is no longer enough to be a great fighting video game. The $50 price tag is a big problem.
The players will have to show support for the underdog by creating content and spotlighting it at locals. DNF is an exciting, solid and entertaining fighter. Although it isn't the most marketable or has the largest budget, DNF still has the tools to make a mark in the fight game. DNF is definitely worth a look. However, it will be decided whether the community gives the underdog a foothold in the summer season. It is worthy of a seat at the table. It deserves one, I hope.
DNF Duel is a cult game that offers 2022's best slugfests. It has enticing visuals and easy-to-understand gameplay. DNF Duel's high price tag and niche IP may make it difficult to learn the ropes but once the bell rings, it is able to compete with its peers. While it is uncertain whether this entity will make it onto the scene in the long-term, DNF Duel is determined to ensure its presence is felt right on your jaw.
[This review is based upon a retail version of the game that was provided by the publisher.]
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