A new Arc System Works game has come back with a relatively unknown (outside of it’s niche fanbase) fighting game. Based on the MMORPG, Dungeon Fighter Online, comes a fighting game featuring the classes of characters. Originally a 2D side-scrolling action game, DNF Duel takes the formula from other Arc System Works games and tries to stay fairly close to it’s roots.
With a handful of characters and the traditional ArcSys cell shading it brings to anime games, DNF Duel has a great fighting system that is simple enough to learn and tough to master. Mechanics are set to colorful, gorgeous environments that make your heart beat faster. What new things await you in this newest addition to your fighting collection? Find out in our DNF Duel review.
Developer: Arc System Works, Eighting, Neople
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
Release Date: June 28, 2022
Players: 1-2, 10 (online)
Price: $49.99 USD
In a world of magic and Wills, the Great Metastasis shattered one universe into several different shards, which made different worlds develop differently as a result. Because of the world with the Great Metastasis, The Gate technology was invented, thus advancement with outer space progressed quicker than usual.
This in turn causes the other Planes like The Gate to converse and interact with each other. However, due to the The Gate losing energy to sustain the portals to other Planes, people were sent back to their own Planes or were wiped out completely. The Day the Doors Closed is an incident that people remember it by.
During story segments for each character, the warp portals called “Wonders” have been gaining power because of the Adventurers from Arad, a continent in the game world. The game includes a simple story to set up interactions with other characters.
Ultimately the story leads you to the final boss, it’s perfect and easy to follow especially if your main focus is to just brawl it out online. It’s something that has character graphics as well as voice over to move the story along.
The highly competitive nature of fighting games makes you understand neutrals and hitboxes while learning matchups and counters. DNF Duel does a great job of helping you learn characters through tutorials and then completing the story mode at your leisure.
Some zoning characters aren’t exclusively so and can do a lot of damage up close with the Mana Points of someone like Launcher. Normal skills don’t require MP, obviously, and can help you do your setups for combos and even mix in your Mana skills for amazing damage.
Online matches are still probably the place where most focus in DNF Duel is placed and, admittedly I’m not great at it, it’s still fun. It features a lobby system and hasn’t really changed since the original beta that took place prior.
DNF Duel is a game with simple mechanics that you can learn and then master on your own. Whether or not you can learn each character is all on you and it can feel very rewarding to learn everything there is to know.
Like previous games from Ark System Works, the animations and character designs in DNF Duel all have the anime aesthetic down to a science. With vast worlds and locations, some more colorful than others, DNF Duel is a spectacle on it’s own.
The super impressive details in DNF Duel for characters with cell shading and the depth of the stages are amazing and look even better on a bigger TV for immersiveness, or even if you just want to play this game casually.
Music choices are the usual guitar and rock based tunes, very reminiscent of some music you’d hear from anime tracks. Most, if not all, are upbeat types of beats. Neo-classical metal fits the characters and the intensity of fighting a lot and I couldn’t have it any other way. There are jazzy tracks as well, which is required for almost any fighting game, and those are pretty funky too.
There is obviously some voice acting in the game for not just main playable characters, but story characters that appear in the visual novel style cutscenes. By default, the voices are in Korean but you can change it to Japanese if that’s more your speed. There isn’t an English dub, which is a downside, but it’s more of a nitpick if anything else.
When I first approach characters, I go based off looks, usually if they’re a cute waifu or someone with a cool design. In DNF Duel, I can have my cake and eat it too because I feel great learning characters and testing out my abilities against the CPU, which completing the story gives you another character.
DNF Duel has a glorious soundtrack, distinct characters, and immersive environments that really set this whole game up to be a fan favorite. Anything else coming after this game’s launch is more than welcome and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
DNF DUEL was reviewed on Windows PC using a copy provided by Nexon. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. DNF DUEL has been available since June 2022 across Windows PC (via Steam), PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5. In case you missed it, you can find our hands-on preview for the game here.