Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot offers players a nostalgic trip down memory lane, whilst also taking the game series as a whole into a new direction as an Action RPG game. Does the latest instalment of Dragon Ball Z offer us filler or fight? Lets find out
The latest Dragon Ball game goes down a different route to previous releases, offering a faithful retelling of of Akira Toriyama’s now legendary series. As someone who used to watch the original run of DBZ back in high-school, Playing through this was pretty much like a nostalgia trip seen as I’ve seen nothing of the series since. Going back to the beginning of the Kakarot saga was probably a good idea due to this and definitely allows for a more fleshed out story compared to other DBZ games given the focus.
Delivery is a little inconsistent though, offering well detailed cutscenes intersperse amongst the vast amount of dialogue sections. Still, there’s plenty to see and even more to unlock if you spend enough time exploring during the games ‘RPG’ sections. The in-game encyclopedia is vast, so if you’re new to the series and curious, or long time fan looking to freshen up, there’s plenty of information about the saga as you progress through the game. Clocking in at around 40 hours, there’s certainly plenty to get through.
As you would expect from Bamco nowadays, there are times when Kakarot can look spectacular with its anime inspired visuals. Everything looks as it should, with character detail spot on when compared with the series. Environments look decent, with added destructibility, and the key set pieces are easily recognisable. It’s the special effects done when unleashing a special move that are the start of the presentation, looking even more flamboyant & detailed than in the anime at times.
Performance is rock solid for the most part, probably a given at this point due to the developers experience. The game was played on a Ps4 Pro though, couldn’t see much of an upgrade really, so may have been using the Boost mode. Audio fares just as well as the rest of the presentation, there’s some recognisable tracks mixed in with plenty that fit the bill. There’s also a surprising amount of voiced dialogue in the game too considering the depth afforded to the story, and it definitely adds to the well produced presentation of Kakarot.
Given the series, you’ll be surprised to find most of your time won’t be spent fighting. With the fights here though you usually go one on one during a set piece from the show and will generally fight it out until one is left standing, with the occasional multi fighter bout to spice things up. Whilst seeming simple at first, the fights do take some getting used to due to their 3D movement and general pace – Just be mindful of the odd difficulty spike too that will see you pummeled. Bouts will generally play out like previous Dragon Ball fighting games, with mastering the dodge to keep some distance and keeping an eye on your energy for crucial attacks being the optimal pathway to success for me.
When not punching foes through mountains, the destructible aspect of environments is still cool, the game takes a breather with some ‘open world’ downtime. This is where the games ‘RPG’ aspects tend to come into play, with various activities and also side quests to take part in as you explore your immediate environment. To be honest though this part of the game does feel a little undercooked and superfluous on occasion, the orbs needed to improve abilities for example are pointless to gather when story fights offer so many upon completion. Fans will certainly appreciate the side quests etc and being able to explore the world of Dragon Ball Z though, so long as one isn’t actually expecting an RPG.
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot does pretty much exactly what it says on the tin, offering fans a faithful re-telling of some of the most nostalgic moments from the classic series. The game is clearly a big undertaking & a labour of love for the developer, but there are some glaring inconsistencies that detract from the overall experience. Still, even though it plays out more like an RPG-lite than anything else, there’s still plenty of content to get through and Kakarot is certainly a release that Dragon Ball fans will appreciate.