DNF Duel was released on 28 June 2022 for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and Steam. The game was co-developed by Arc System Works, Eighting, and NEOPLE.
Two of these companies are pretty well-known in the fighting game community. Arc System Works has the whole Guilty Gear franchise under its belt. On the other hand, Eighting has worked on several notable titles like Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and the Bloody Roar series.
Now, despite having two of the best fighting game developers behind the game, what happened that made the game fall flat on its face so quickly?
The game saw more than 12,000 players playing it on its release, but it all fell quickly. While the fall in concurrent players of any fighting game is quite common after the first month of release, what happened to DNF Duel was much worse.
Now, DNF Duel has barely any players left, and it’s next to impossible to find an online match. And, if, by any luck, a new player can find an online match, they’ll likely be combo’d to death by any slightly experienced player.
That is the nature of DNF Duel. The game requires next to no execution. Combos and characters are super easy and do a lot of damage.
One might think that the easy combos mean that the game is beginner friendly. And, yes, the game indeed has very friendly inputs. However, the issue here is the combo starters. You can easily launch someone for a combo by pressing anything in neutral. And if the opponent is blocking, then no worries. Just keep attacking, and it will work out.
If you’re on the receiving end of pressure in this game, the best you can do is hope for a miracle. DNF Duel does offer a dedicated tech called Guard Cancel to deal with pressure, but it can easily be baited out and is heavily punishable.
Speaking about death combos, or the touch of deaths (TODs), you’ll find an abundance of those in this game. The combo routes are linear and repetitive, which can get boring quickly, even if you’re the one landing those combos.
Other than combos, the character, and their skills are also quite overpowered in this game. The devs did release a minor patch update in an attempt to nerf some issues. However, that failed to do anything promising, and the game is still the same hell as it was before.
The devs didn’t outright abandon this game, even if it hasn’t received any DLC yet or consistent patch updates. They released a statement almost a month ago that they are aware of all the bugs and issues the players are encountering in the game.
ICYMI: Here's the full announcement from the #DNFDuel Production Director. pic.twitter.com/RfmdTTPPM2
— CEO Gaming (@CEOGaming) September 25, 2022
The game’s Production Director also stated that there are currently no signs of DLC. But they’ve thought of a way to balance out the game. And that is by buffing everyone accordingly, so each character is broken, instead of nerfing overpowered characters.
For now, the number of players continues to decline, and I doubt there’s anything that can revive this game. We can’t hope for a miracle like the Guilty Gear Xrd received in the form of a rollback netcode, which revived the game and brought many old and new players back to the game.
That is because DNF Duel already features a rollback netcode sinch launch.
Things could have turned out differently if the devs rolled out patch updates more frequently to balance the game in the early days of the release. A DLC announcement might have attracted a few players back to the game. But none of it happened. And here we are with a game that had the potential to be so much more.
And it’s too late now; DNF Duel is dead, and nothing can bring it back.
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