DNF Duel review — Dungeon Fighting at it’s Finest

DNF Duel

DNF Duel is the latest 2.5D fighting game spin-off installment in Neople’s Dungeon Fighter series from developers Eighting, Neople, and Arc System Works. Those who’ve played Arc System works’ games, especially the Guilty Gear series, may recognize the similarities between those games and Duel mainly through its art style, character designs, combat structure, and overall aesthetic. However, the games are not as similar as you may think, as DNF Duel is set in Neople’s Dungeon Fighter Online MMO series, and as such has its own lore, story arcs, and unique characters. The game’s characters are also well designed and the few stages, including their backgrounds, are well crafted, dynamic, and vibrant. 

However, the gameplay is the best aspect of the game. Players have 16 characters to choose from, ranging from heavy hitters, balanced fighters, gun-slinging zoners, and more. Players can use the standard fighting game moves such as running, blocking, standard attacks, rolling, grabbing, jumping, dodging, and more. 

Additionally, all attacks in the game have been categorized into a four-button layout of Weak, Medium, Skill, and Magic. While the weak and medium attacks are exactly what they sound like, Skill attacks serve as the maneuverable and stylistic special attacks which significantly damage the opponent. Also, special attacks can easily be linked together to perform a myriad of combos. In contrast, Magic attacks are much more elaborate and can include heavy projectiles like literal nukes, teleportation, and more. As is standard in fighting games, each magic attack uses up the player’s Mana meter depending on the amount of damage they dish out. Then there’s “Awakening,” a mechanic unlike any I’ve personally seen in a 2D fighting game. 

Once a character’s health reaches 30%, Awakening kicks in and provides extra abilities and advantages depending on the character. For example, Launcher gains more damage in this mode while Berserker gains health with every hit he receives. Lastly, when timed right, an awakened player will also be able to use their Super which is their ultimate one-and-done attack seen in every fighting game and features highly animated, highly elaborate cutscenes. My only issue with DNF’s gameplay overall is that the combat, while highly engaging, isn’t as in-depth as the developers’ other titles as it lacks some mechanics like a double jump or an air block, and the game’s combos while fluid are very limited for every character. 

Other than that, the game provides all the gameplay modes every fighting game fanatic could ever ask for, such as the standard arcade mode, the brutal survival mode, and the training mode, which I really enjoyed and spent hours on while trying to learn each and every character to better acclimate myself to the combat system.  As for the online mode, I’m happy to report that I had a smooth time with the lobbies and matches, thanks to the rollback netcode. And then there’s my favorite mode, the story mode. While the narrative in DNF Duel is admittedly lackluster and cookie cutter, the characters showcase their personalities quite well, and the mode’s callbacks and in-game glossary allow new players to understand the series’ lore.

Overall, DNF Duel succeeds at being a great and entertaining fighting game with amazing animations, beautiful character models, and engaging combat despite sporting less fleshed out mechanics than the developer’s other titles.



DNF Duel

Review Guidelines

While feeling a tad bare bones, DNF Duel still manages to be a highly entertaining 2D fighting game among many coming out this year.

Abdul Saad is an avid gamer and computer geek. He's been writing for four years on news, reviews, previews, and more on multiple gaming sites. When he isn't writing or playing the latest JRPG, he can be found coding games of his own or tinkering with something electrical.

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