DNF:Duel is a 2.5D action fighting game from one of the most popular and widely played RPGs franchises in the east Dungeon and Fighter. Developed by Arc System Works, Eighting and Neople and published by Nexon this fighting game lets players take control of 15 charming characters each with their own unique skills and personalities. This game takes a familiar genre and doesn’t choose to hold the players hand as it guides them through the journeys of each playable character with many game modes for the player to enjoy. However does this game have enough to stand with the likes of other popular fighting games? Let’s find out together shall we.
DNF Duel features individual story modes meaning that each of the characters have their own stories that expand the Dungeon Fighter Online universe with different images and rewards. Each character has their own Comic/RPG style panels that convey each of their stories that’ll either invest or disinterest the player depending on their preferences. Personally there are some elements and characters that I was invested in like Trouble Shooter and Striker along with a couple characters who had cool gallery images and rewards that can be unlocked from playing their stories but unfortunately some of the exposition left me a bit bored.
Luckily there were other offline game modes to help keep me invested in learning the moves of each character like Free Battle, Arcade Mode, and Survival. There is also an Online mode for those players who want to face a real challenge. Free mode allows one or two players to battle each other for up to five rounds with either a limited or unlimited amount of time. Arcade and survival are the same but the more the player wins the more score they get and with the score the player can upgrade their characters attack and defense power. So far I’ve had a lot of fun with the game mode, the survival mode in particular is a great way to continue playing the game, especially when after every fight they give you an option to spend your score points on a benefit that gives the player an edge whether it is health recovery or attack, defense, and MP recovery. Survival mode is definitely a great way to get players used to the combat of the game before they take on much more serious challenges like the online mode.
The gameplay of DNF: Duel can either be simple for experienced players who are familiar with fighting games or a bit of a nightmare for beginners who don’t take advantage of the practice mode or local mode before playing the story or online modes. There are of course the basic controls with, 1.) Y being the main attack button and B being the MP super attack button. Depending on the direction the player moves the joy stick or D pad while pressing the B button allows the player to utilize whatever super attack the combination activates. 2.) The X and A buttons are also attack buttons that add attacks to the fighting combos. 3.) The ZR button is the block button that protects the character until the guard is broken. 4.) Finally there is the Awakened ability which acts as a cinematic ultimate ability that activates when the health bar reaches critical. However, the combat isn’t as simple as I make it out to be as it is more complicated because most of the MP super attacks are more powerful and go longer distances than others. This is especially a problem when going up against a player in online mode who has more experience with the game than most beginners.
I really enjoyed the aesthetic of the game because it is very anime inspired. The animations and the characters designs are very smooth and each character design is much more distinct than the other.
The music, and even the sound effects are also very energetic. It did a good of getting me excited for the battles I was in which is something that most fighting games should have when it comes to their music. While the game doesn’t have an English dub option it didn’t take me out of the excitement of the gameplay.
Overall, I had a really fun time playing DNF: Duel. Despite the controls and gameplay taking some getting used to especially before anyone partakes in playing the online mode. A lot of the moves are incredibly flashy and fun to utilize, but they can also be extremely irritating to deal with when dealing with a more experienced player. Luckily, this game does feature a lot of playability with many offline game modes as well as its practice mode where it will teach the player how to utilize the MP special moves of each character. I never really experienced any bugs or glitches while playing the game, which was good, but I can see why this game has been said to not be completely friendly to newcomers as it is to people who’ve been playing this fighting games for a while.
Score: 7 out of 10
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch