DNF Duel Review

It’s hard not to see the similarities between DNF Duel and 2020’s Granblue Fantasy Versus: they’re both 2D fighters developed by Arc System Works; they’re both based on a franchise that’s wildly popular abroad but not as well-known in North America (in this case, Dungeon Fighter Online); and most notably, they’re both deceptively complex. Simplified controls and a guard button can easily be the death knell for a true competitive fighting game, but ArcSys and 8ing (the team behind Marvel vs. Capcom 3) haven’t added them at the cost of skill. Instead DNF Duel is a game of resource management, patience, and creative problem solving wrapped up in a beautiful package, although it may not be as friendly to newcomers as intended.

DNF Duel joins the growing number of fighting games using simplified inputs to help ease you into its control scheme. Special moves can be performed with only a button press, or a button combined with a direction, but those who go the extra length of using the more traditional quarter-circle motions are rewarded with better resource recharge. It’s nice to have the quick option while still being given a boost for putting in the extra effort, and the simplified inputs mean fights are about understanding what each character’s moveset can really do.

For instance, the Striker can chain special attacks together in a way that other characters can’t, making her especially adept at continuing pressure and often tricking opponents into thinking they’re safe to counterattack when they’re actually not. Many characters also have invincible reversals on wake up, quick pokes that can be converted into big damage, and gigantic screen filling objects like Inquisitor’s giant wheel or Kunoichi’s fire tornado. These are some truly wild characters with some truly nonsense moves, and much of the difficulty curve consists of learning how to deal with these attacks. Getting beatdown by one gave me concrete goals to lab against in training mode, and a major sense of satisfaction when I didn’t let someone get away with it later. But until you know what to do in a given situation, tying so much of each fight up in learning these tricks can be rough to deal with.

Rather than assigning inputs to a cooldown like Granblue Fantasy Versus, DNF Duel ties your MP Skills and Guard Cancels to an MP meter, with the most powerful screen-clearing moves often consuming the most MP. The twist in this comes from the ability to Convert white damage (the temporary damage you gain from blocking and being hit by less powerful moves) into MP. When you perform a Conversion, it also returns your character to a neutral state, allowing you to chain moves together that normally wouldn’t be possible, or making certain risky moves safe by letting you block when you would normally be punished. Finding creative ways to use my MP and knowing when to Convert my white damage often meant the difference between victory and defeat, and I really liked the flexibility the system offered.

Movement also took me a while to wrap my head around. At first, DNF Duel felt heavy and unwieldy. Although it’s an anime fighter, there’s no air guarding, no double jumps, and no air dashes other than some character-specific moves, so the action stays relatively grounded. There’s also Exhaustion to consider, the state you enter when you run out of MP and your MP specific skills no longer function. Combine that with characters that can harass you from a full screen away and completely lock you down if you’ve used all your MP, and you have a pretty frustrating on-ramp as you learn the systems and roster. But once DNF Duel starts to click and you learn what moves to look out for, when to press a counterattack, and when to bet it all on Conversion, its quick decision making leads to some really fun and satisfying moments where you can take a big risk for a bigger payoff.

Dungeon Fighter Offline

Thankfully, there are a few offline options to help you learn these myriad systems as DNF Duel has several offerings for those who prefer their battles to be solo affairs. The Arcade and Survival Modes are standard fighting game fare, with Survival allowing you to use your accumulated score to make purchases of greater attack power, health recharges, or even things like increased guard crush to break through your opponent’s defenses. The arcade mode is simply a series of eight one-on-one battles, and they can get pretty tough on the hardest difficulty. It was a good way to get familiar with characters and help build my understanding of how to keep myself out of bad situations.

Unfortunately, the DNF Duel Story Mode is fairly dull even by fighting game standards. All of the 15 starting characters have a series of visual novel-like vignettes during which almost nothing interesting happens before they are forced into fighting someone else for the thinnest possible reasons. Each character story can be completed in about half an hour, and other than giving some bare insight into the personalities and relationships among the cast, there’s little reason for completing more than the one needed to unlock a secret character. There is some cool custom art accompanying each story, but you can also unlock those in the gallery for a small amount of the in-game currency you earn by playing various modes.

The training mode options are at least pretty extensive to make up for this, even if the menus required some fiddling around to set the conditions to what I wanted each time. There are gameplay mechanics breakdowns, character-specific tutorials, and combo challenges, all of which were valuable as I learned the ins and outs of each system. I especially loved reading the info panes for every character, as they provide useful insight into how certain moves were intended to be used by the developers.

Dungeon Fighter Online

After the fantastic rollback netcode of Guilty Gear Strive, I went in expecting DNF Duel to play really well online, and thankfully that appears to be the case so far. Most of the matches I’ve played felt smooth, even ones I’ve played against people in Asia despite some rollback frames. Arc System Works once again gets a little too cute with physical lobbies for my taste, working as they do in Dragon Ball FighterZ or Granblue with in-game arcade machines you walk up to in order to join a match, but getting into Player Match rooms is a breeze. You can also set your lobby character, Player Card, slogans, and the information you want displayed for a bit of neat customization after purchasing different options with in-game currency or unlocking them through specific challenges.

“once DNF Duel starts to click … its quick decision making leads to some really fun and satisfying moments…”

While queuing for a ranked match, you can standby in the Training, Tutorial, Arcade, and Survival modes, which is always a nice way to alleviate long queue times since there’s unfortunately no crossplay between the Steam and PlayStation versions. I haven’t had issues queuing yet, but DNF Duel only just released and is a bit of a niche title already, so hopefully the player pool remains active enough that the lack of crossplay doesn’t become a problem.

A Thing of Beauty

DNF Duel continues ArcSys’ trend of having fantastic 2.5D art. If the developer hadn’t cemented itself as the leader in this space after Granblue Fantasy Versus and Guilty Gear Strive, that reputation should be rock solid now as both the characters and the stages are simply gorgeous. Each member of the cast has a distinct look and are easy to differentiate between in the heat of the action – that’s impressive given how incredible they are in motion too, with clothes rustling, colorful effects flying about, and supers that are as unique to their skillset as they are bombastic.

The music doesn’t quite hit the same bar sadly, as it’s mostly unremarkable rock with a few fun highlights here and there. But all of the art, music, and character voice lines can be perused in the gallery mode after you purchase them with in-game currency. There are tons of pieces to go through, and fans of the original DFO should find plenty to love here as well since the art options aren’t limited to just DNF Duel.

Feature: Spidersaurs Lands On Switch In July, WayForward Talks Saturday Cartoons And Contra

Everybody walk the spidersaur.

Over the past 30 years, WayForward, makers of the Shantae series, has made a name for itself by crafting retro-flavoured gems that combine the best of modern gaming with an unashamedly old-school aesthetic and game feel. Whether it’s baked into their own projects (such as the Mighty series or the aforementioned Shantae games) or for one of the developer/publisher’s many excellent licensed property projects (DuckTales Remastered, Contra 4, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, The Mummy Demastered, River City Girls, to name just a small handful of highlights), the studio’s always got one eye on gaming’s illustrious past as it forges ahead into its fourth decade.

For its latest project, Spidersaurs, WayForward is looking not only to a titan of the run-and-gun genre for inspiration, but also to the energy and aesthetic of ’90s Saturday morning cartoons. Formerly an Apple Arcade exclusive, the game is coming to Switch and other consoles on 14th July.

Read the full article on nintendolife.com

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion Is Up for Preorder

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion is set to release for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC sometime this winter, before the end of the year. It’s a remaster of a game that originally came out for PlayStation Portable in 2007, and it acts as a prequel to the original Final Fantasy VII. Retailer listings are starting to go up, so you can preorder it now on Amazon for some of the platforms.

Preorder Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion

PS5

Xbox Series X | Xbox One

Nintendo Switch

Note that the March 31, 2023 date is a placeholder. The game’s official announcement says it’ll be out this year. We’ll add more links above as the listing goes up at other retailers and on other platforms.

What is Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion?

It’s a prequel to the original Final Fantasy VII, and a remake of a PSP game from 2007. It follows a character named Zack Fair, who basically looks like a dark-haired version of Cloud Strife, and who appears at the end of Final Fantasy VII Remake. Zack is on a mission to find the missing SOLDIER Genesis Rhapsodos.

This remaster gives the game HD graphics, as expected. It also includes entirely voice-acted dialog and a new soundtrack.

Other Preorder Guides

Cheapest iPhone 2022

The latest lineup of iPhone 13 models packs the most value we’ve seen from the iPhone ever. Featuring a sleek design, gorgeous screens, and fantastic cameras, there’s almost nothing to like about Apple’s latest smartphones. The only caveat to the newest iPhone is its price, but the good news for you is there are other iOS devices you can get to save yourself a bit of cash. If you’ve been looking for the cheapest iPhone to play Apple Arcade games or to not be the odd one out with green texts, this is the guide for you.

iPhone SE

The iPhone SE is the absolutely cheapest iPhone you can buy new at $429. Despite rocking an old design that’s been around since the iPhone 6, this handset features Apple’s latest A15 Bionic chip. That means this phone is lightning-fast, can play every Apple Arcade game with ease, and will connect to 5G networks. The only things that hold back the cheapest iPhone are its small 4.7-inch screen, singular 12MP wide-angle camera and it doesn’t feature MagSafe, though you can still wireless charge this device.

iPhone 13 Mini

If you want the latest and greatest from Apple’s newest iPhone 13, just get yourself the mini version for $599. The iPhone 13 Mini is a bit smaller than Apple’s other handsets with only a 5.4-inch screen, but if you have smaller hands you might find having a more compact handset to be beneficial. It still packs Apple’s latest A15 Bionic chip, 5GB, plus a 12MP wide and 12MP ultrawide camera for the best iPhonegraphy.

iPhone 12

The iPhone 12 might be running last year’s A14 Bionic chip, but this phone processor still offers plenty of power. In fact, almost everything about this $599 phone is nearly as good as the latest model including the 6.1-inch Liquid Retina HD display, plus its 12MP wide and ultrawide cameras. You also still get the modern iPhone creature comforts of 5G connectivity and MagSafe.

iPhone 11

If you haven’t jumped on the 5G bandwagon just yet, the iPhone 11 might be a great handset for you. For $499 you get a phone with a still very capable A13 Bionic processor and fantastic-looking 6.1-inch Liquid Retina HD display. You also get two 12MP wide and ultrawide cameras capable of recording 4K 60fps video. The rounded design might be a bit older, but it’s easier to hold for some who dislike the boxier design of the latest iPhones.

Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Please send an email to newstips@ign.com.

Kevin Lee is IGN’s SEO Updates Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam.

Round Up: Every Game And Trailer From The Nintendo Direct Mini: Partner Showcase June 2022

What were your favourite announcements?

The June 2022 Nintendo Direct Mini: Partner Showcase has come and gone, and left us with a host of fresh announcements, release date news, surprise drops, and other tidbits to feast on. It may not have been the full-fat first-party Nintendo Direct fans have been anticipating all June, but there was something for everyone to chew on in this 25-minute presentation.

Below we’ve rounded up each and every announcement from the Nintendo Direct Mini, including trailers where available and links to our coverage.

Read the full article on nintendolife.com

Xbox Games With Gold for July 2022 Revealed

Microsoft has announced that July 2022’s Games with Gold are Beasts of Maravilla Island, Relicta, Thrillville: Off the Rails, and Torchlight.

As revealed on Xbox Wire, the four Games with Gold offerings will be available to anyone with Xbox Live Gold or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, with Beasts of Maravilla Island and Thrillville: Off the Rails available starting on June 1.

Beasts of Maravilla Island is a Pokémon Snap-esque game where players take on the role of a wildlife photographer exploring a mysterious island. Players will solve puzzles and interact with the wild and wacky creatures of Maravilla island in the two to three hour adventure.

Also available on July 1 but only until July 15 is Thrillville: Off the Rails, an Xbox 360 game from 2007 that lets players manage their own theme park and build their own rollercoasters. Though it’s relatively simple overall, the myriad mini-games sprinkled in led IGN to call it “a fun little package” in our 7/10 review.

Available later in the month, on July 16, is Relicta, a first-person, physics-based puzzle game where players must creatively combine magnetism and gravity in order to proceed. Taking on the role of a physicist stranded on a derelict moon base, solving puzzles is the only way to save your daughter and perhaps all of humanity in these eerie sci-fi adventure.

Finally, Torchlight is available on the same day, but only until July 31. This action-RPG comes from the creators of Diablo, and brought a fresh take to the genre when it was released in 2009. In our 8/10 review, IGN said: “That quest for loot is a lonely, solitary affair, but if Torchlight grabs you, it might be a while before it lets go.”

Be sure to redeem June 2022’s Xbox Games with Gold before they leave the service, which include Aven Colony, Project Highrise: Architect’s Edition, Super Meat Boy, and Raskulls.

Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelancer who occasionally remembers to tweet @thelastdinsdale. He’ll talk about The Witcher all day.