Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot – Review
Follow Genre: RPG, Fighting
Developer: CyberConnect2, Bandai Namco Entertainment
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Tested on: PS4

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot – Review

Site Score
5.0
Good: It offers a great way to relive the whole story from the original series at a faster pace with great graphics
Bad: The battle system is very disappointing
User Score
6.3
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 6.3/10 (3 votes cast)

The time has finally come for the highly-anticipated ‘Dragon Ball’ RPG, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, to be released. It is one of the first RPGs in this anime’s franchise and it revolves around Kakarot or Goku, the name given to him by Grandpa Gohan when he found him after his journey to Earth when he was still a young kid. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot starts its story directly after the events of the Dragon Ball series and ends with the Majin Buu Saga. The promise was that it would be an innovative game with many things to do, and sure, there’s pretty much to do, but many things don’t feel as rewarding as they should.

Story

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot follows the main story of the Dragon Ball Z series with Kakarot as the main protagonist in this game. While the game is named after Kakarot, you also get to play as other Z Fighters like Krillin, Gohan, Piccolo and Vegeta. When not progressing through the story, you can travel to different areas you already discovered and fly through these areas while collecting orbs, fighting some small fries and discovering new items to use on your journey.

The game also features some “extra” story content in the form of sub-stories which will often show up while traveling to the next main story objective. Aside of the conversations that will or will not add something to the story, these missions are mostly comprised of finding items or battling a group of enemies. The cutscenes of the main story in the game are great because they perfectly reenact the story of the series, which makes the game perfect for reliving the story of Dragon Ball Z while also fighting in these immense larger than life battles.

Graphics

The world of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot looks amazing. You can see that a lot of work has been put into creating each area. You can find a lot of recognizable areas from the series and you won’t tell them apart from the series. All the characters look exactly the same as they did in the series. While some of the most exciting moments in the battles are visualized perfectly and look stunning, not every fan-favorite moment has been captured in this game. What also disappoints is that all the super attacks don’t really have a small cutscene, while much older games like the Budokai Tenkaichi and Raging Blast games did have this, what made these super attacks look a lot better.

The game will seamlessly switch to battles on the spot as the whole area can be your battlefield, which prevents any loading screens from appearing. After defeating your opponent in these main story battles, you’ll see cutscenes of some of the most exciting moments of these battles with awesome graphics and effects, which has never looked this good in any Dragon Ball Z game up till now.

Sound

The sound design has been handled perfectly. Making the game start with the original intro from the series makes fans of the series very excited to even start the game. Throughout the game, you’ll hear all the sounds, music and everything you know from these series. There is only one bug that makes the sound of an enemy flying away repeat multiple times when ending the battle with a blast attack like a Kamehameha.

All the original actors have been used for the voicing of all the characters in both the English and Japanese languages, so everyone sounds just like they do in the anime series. Despite having all the voice actors, a lot of conversations aren’t fully voiced, diminishing a lot of conversations to single voiced words. For a better RPG experience, they should’ve put some more effort in fully voicing all the conversations in the game. What could also annoy you after a while, is that characters don’t have a lot of variety in what they say when you fly near enemies, catch a fish or anything else while in the overworld.

Gameplay

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is a fighting game that introduces the action-RPG genre to the Dragon Ball games. Before the release, a lot of functions were already explained in trailers and it looked like the game would really have a lot of potential and had a lot of different things to do. Now, after release, not everything of that appears to be true. While there surely are different things to do in the big areas, these aren’t actually as fun as they promised to be. Also because the game follows the flow of the original story of the Dragon Ball Z series, there is not really that much to do in upgrading and there are no customization possibilities.

To increase Goku and the other Z fighter’s potential, there are two things you can use to increase power permanently throughout the game. In the Super Attack Skill Tree, you can increase the level of your super attacks and increase the power they deliver. Although there is a whole skill tree available, you’ll only be able to acquire one or two upgrades at a time, because you need to progress through the story to unlock them. While progressing through the story, you’ll acquire a lot of these orbs after each battle that is story related, reducing the number of orbs needed to be collected from the overworld to a minimum. You can also increase your power, effects of meals, amount of items earned in battle and much more by putting emblems onto community boards. There are several community boards, each correlating to a different effect. In these boards, you can set medals to increase a board’s level and by connecting specific characters together, they will grant some extra bonuses. For example, Goku and Gohan will grant a Father and Son boost. These boards will let you earn more items, gain more experience, deal more damage, buy items cheaper at stores and much more as they level up by adding more medals. Getting new medals for your boards is tied to the progression of the story and the completion of sub-stories.

The battle system in Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is one of the worst of the Dragon Ball games in a long time. The overall attack system feels limited as everything is reduced to the usage of one button. This button serves as a spam button for a melee combo, as the other attacks aren’t really effective against opponents. The flash-dodge system we grow accustomed to in the other fighting games is interesting and has even improved in this game, but it doesn’t make up for the somewhat stale and dull fighting mechanics the game throws at you.

Not only is the fighting system dull and uninspired, but it also feels as if it’s broken and unfair. You’ll notice that your opponents will never budge when you hit them with your melee combo or even your super move. You, on the other hand, will get stunned or thrown around like a ragdoll. When you do manage to pull off a great move, it’s possible it’ll get interrupted by a cutscene for your opponent’s signature attack, nullifying your move in the progress.

As they announced in all the trailers prior to the release of the game, there are other things to do than follow the story of Dragon Ball Z. You can go fishing, collect orbs, fight against enemies in the overworld, eat meals at Goku’s house and gather materials. Flying around the world is fun to do for quite a while, but it doesn’t really feel useful. Battling against the many small enemies that you find in the areas is one of the dullest things to do. You’d think that they would offer a bit of a challenge but most of them are killed before you even complete a combo. Combine this with an awfully small amount of experience you gather by defeating them, it’s just a waste of time. The sub-stories will disappear when you continue in the story without completing them, but after you’ve completed the game, you can return to various time periods.

Conclusion

While the story and all the exciting battles are perfectly visualized in this game, the battle system definitely lacks a lot of depth and could have been so much better if they used the already amazing battle systems of older games. The vanishing of your super attacks when enemies launch their “special” move and their ability to being able to ignore all your incoming attacks is just unreasonable. Flying around the various areas of the Dragon Ball Z world is definitely fun and can keep you entertained for quite a while, but if you’re done with that, it just feels like a way of transporting to the next quest. All the activities you can do in the overworld are rather dull and don’t really add up to the feeling of playing a real RPG. As a fighting game, this game has definitely disappointed, while it also isn’t an AAA-quality RPG, something we definitely would’ve expected after all the announcements before the release.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 6.3/10 (3 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot - Review, 6.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Nickskuh


Administration is my job but gaming is my passion!

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