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DNF Duel: A Slap Up Overview

12 min

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DNF Duel: A Slap Up Overview
Dungeon Fighter Duel

DNF Duel

DNF Duel is an upcoming fighting game built on Dungeon Fighter Online from South Korea, where it is known as Dungeon & Fighter Online, set for release on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5. Initially announced in late 2020, not much was known about the game until December 2021, when new character trailers and an open beta were announced quickly.

With that said, It would be unjust if we didn't let you in on what makes this fighting game one to keep an eye out for this year. 

Enter Dungeon Fighter Online

Originally released as Dungeon & Fighter in South Korea, then as Arad Senki in Japan, DFO is one of the most well-known successful video games of all time, that has received Japanese anime and manga adaptations, and a spinoff fighting game, being developed by Neople, Arc System Works, and Eighting.

Dungeon Fighter Online is free to play multiplayer 2D retro-style side-scrolling arcade hack and slash, massive online role-playing game where players traverse 2D screens while fighting hordes of monsters with some social aspects, including Guilds, PvP Arenas, and Party Play. 

Within the game, players can select from various classes, fourteen of which are primary and two unique, with each class bearing its own exclusive set of fighting skills necessary to face off against the dangerous monsters and creatures that dwell in the dungeons of Arad. As adventurers rise in level, each class can specialize further into subclasses possessing unique mechanics and thematic differences, opening up even more skills.

To wrap it up, Dungeon Fighter Online was a unique game when it launched and still is; its enormous success, mainly attributed to its performance in Asia,  is evident in it being the world's highest-grossing MMORPG, out-earning World of Warcraft and other media franchises such as James bond, Avengers, One-Piece, Superman, and Final Fantasy. As of December 2021, the original PC version of Dungeon Fighter Online has grossed over $18 billion in lifetime gross revenue and exceeded 850 million registered users worldwide.

DNF Duel Official Launch Trailer

Enter Dungeon and Fighter Duel

DNF Duel is a spin-off fighting game from Dungeon Fighter Online, which tells the story of a planet called Terra, which was blown to pieces by a terrible war, with the city of Terra, which became known as Pandemonium, sent floating across space and time, and visiting alien planets, floating above them and taking the strongest aliens that existed from each one, and are known as the apostles. Pandemonium has appeared above Empyrean, a part of planet Arad, floating upside down, with apostles transported to Arad, causing widespread disasters.

The Dungeon Fighters

Although they don't have names, the characters in DNF Duel are entertaining to play. Moreover, the cast looks excellent, with many designs taken straight from DFO's martial arts that meet traditional fantasy art styles.

With a launch roster of 16 characters, each playable character represents the different classes available in DFO and has been transformed into fighting game archetypes as well, so far consisting of the Berserker, the Grappler, the Inquisitor, the Striker, the Ranger, the Hitman, the Dragon Knight, the Vanguard, the Kunoichi, the Crusader, the Ghost Blade, the launcher, the troubleshooter, the Swift Master, the Enchantress, and the Lost Warrior.

Everyone feels different, and each character has their own unique set of crazy attacks, but simultaneously, because of the streamlined control scheme, each character has a similar feel regarding gameplay.

DNF Duel Character Trailers

Controls and Universal Mechanics

The game's simplified controls, combo systems, and universal mechanics make DNF Duel similar to Dragon Ball FighterZ and Granblue Fantasy: VS. Each character has two normals, A and B, which act as lights and mediums; you then have "Skill" moves, Heavy attacks, and "Magic Skill" moves, as EX moves. The Skill and Magic Skill moves are devastating and often have a vast range.

Like other 2D fighters, DNF Duel uses Numpad Notation with technical inputs like quarter-circles Dragon Punch motions being optional, with the developers instead choosing to focus on players just hitting a direction with the D-pad and single button.

Awakening Skill Super

For offense, there is a grounded feel to the matches where you try to whiff punish your enemy while moving in and out of range to bait an opponent, with much emphasis placed on trapping your opposition in the corner, as you can practically juggle your opponent with your different attacks. The longer you can keep them suspended, the more potential you have to extend your combo.

You can also cancel any move into a special, giving you a lot more freedom and creativity with your offense and combos; granted, DNF Duel only has two Normal attack buttons, which in combination are used to throw, and is just another way the DnF developers have simplified the execution required to pull off combos.

Interestingly enough, the move lists show that the characters will utilize three buttons; Skill, MP Skill, and Awakening Skill. The skill attacks will serve as standard attacks and MP Skill for special attacks. After reaching a critically low amount of health (30%) in DNF Duel, characters automatically gain access to their Awakening Skill Supers which cost no MP to use, can only be used once per round, are performed with a single button press, and do various things such as recover guard gauge, MP Skill, increase damage, and more.

Conversion Mechanic

For defense, the guard button allows you to block attacks and, when used in tandem with directions, enables you to Dodge and block high and low attacks. Also, an invincible attack called Guard Cancel that launches the opponent away on hit can be performed while blocking. It costs 100 MP and cannot be achieved without at least 100 MP, which leads to Exhaustion, a temporary negative state that occurs if a character reaches 0 MP.

There are two types of HP (Hit Points) in the game; white damage that can be recovered if you are blocking or not taking damage, and red damage cannot be recovered. MP, which is needed to perform special attacks, can be recovered by not using it and allowing it to recover typically. Suppose a player executes a special using a simplified input; in that case, the MP meter will have a whole second delay before refilling, whereas performing a special with standard input, your MP will fill almost immediately after the skill is performed. A player can also recover MP by landing regular attacks or using a conversion. Conversion will recover a portion of a character's MP at the cost of causing red damage to the character.

Game Modes

Local mode

Free battle allows facing an opponent with options for a round limit, time limit, and more, while Arcade features fighting against a series of opponents with customizable settings for rounds. Story mode combines over a decade of lore, condensed into a new chapter of the DFO universe using a stunning motion comic style and a revolving cast of characters. Survival is what the name says, as it involves you facing off against a string of opponents one after the other, the difference is that your health carries over between rounds based on the score earned from fights.

Online mode

Online play is essential for sustaining the Fighting Games Community. Much like Arc System Works Guilty Gear -Strive-, DNF Duels' online multiplayer supports rolled-back netcode, which results in a relatively smooth experience even if you're playing against someone halfway across the world with high latency. Ranked matches aim to climb up the competitive ladder to be the best or at least part of a small handful; ranked matches are about testing your skills online. After a few games, you'll receive a Rank and can compete against others in the same skill brackets. Wins go towards increasing your rank while losses reduce it.

Practice mode

You can practice the characters in Training mode to figure out game-breaking combos before jumping online. While Tutorial teaches you the basics of movements, defensive techniques, canceling combos, awakenings, and much more


Player Profile lists your name, online ID, ranked match history, and the number of player matches for others to see. A Replay library is available to rewatch any of your previous ranked matches to pick up tips or study an opponent, a handy tool for streamers and content creators. A gallery simply for admirers of the art and music, as it contains stunning illustrations from Dungeon Fighter Online to unlock and Back Ground Music tracks to listen to along with each character's voice. You can also watch the opening movie along with other videos and a Glossary, which is handy for those intrigued by the series to keep track of everything from regions, names, and organizations.  

DNF Duel: Impressions and Roundup

DNF Duel shares much of the fast-paced gameplay and anime-style graphics with Guilty Gear -Strive-. However, its gameplay is more grounded and relies more on special moves, while the controls are straightforward.

The open betas gave fans a look at gameplay, which confirmed suspicions that the game is an anime-style 1v1 fighter, a feel of the game mechanics, showed some neat ideas like Conversion and the absence of air dash and air block. The most impressive thing leading up to this release of DNF Duel is the developers, the way they communicate, and rollout trailers and talk to the fans, which seems they are much more willing to work with their community to create an excellent game, which is the way to do it.

Regarding the source material, there has been a lot of effort and attention to translating the MMO classes into fighting game characters, with many moves found in DFO faithfully brought over to DNF Duel. The game also has one of the best base rosters of characters in a fighting game. The biggest question, however, is that DNF Duel is a $50 game, which means it will be relatively limited in terms of its offerings, but there might be fewer or more elements to the game than initially assumed.

DNF Duel sets to carve out a niche for itself as it will be involved in many competitive events, including Arc World Tour 2022, a worldwide tournament tour with a $200,000 prize pool split between DNF Duel and Guilty Gear -Strive-. Those who purchased a physical or digital copy of the PlayStation version of DNF Duel during the pre-order period will receive an extra gift and early access, respectively.

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