There have been many Dragon Ball games. And just like the ever-lasting anime & manga, it never gets old. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot makes you experience its original story all over again from Goku’s perspective. You train, you fish, you eat, and you fight against epic enemies.
Playing this game makes you feel like inside of Dragon Ball Z. At least, just as long as you’re playing the main quests. Plus, the fantastic cast of secondary characters makes a great company along the journey.
Aside from the epic journey of our titular character, we also get a wide selection of secondary missions that include moments we’ve never seen before in Akira Toriyama’s saga.
Most definitely, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is a great experience and an excellent pick for your gaming PC.
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: CyberConnect 2
“Beyond the epic battles, experience life in the DRAGON BALL Z world as you fight, fish, eat, and train with Goku. Explore the new areas and adventures as you advance through the story and form powerful bonds with other heroes from the DRAGON BALL Z universe.”
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot – Review
I was hyped for the game since its original advertising spot. Coming straight from Japan, the clip showed kids and adults harnessing Ki and frying an imaginary Kame Make Ha on their regular days.
It wasn’t all for show, though. By night, they could play their dreams on Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot.
That said, it’s an absolute blast for DBZ lovers. You may know a couple of things about the anime saga and still enjoy Kakarot for its excellent action gameplay.
Everything about its single-player campaign it’s fantastic. It follows the cannon story of the original series from Radditz’s invasion to Majin Bu’s defeat. And it keeps expanding with DLCs to follow the story up until Dragon Ball Super.
Playing the campaign is epic, challenging, cinematic, and better than the show. Battles are fast, flashy, and easy to grasp. Yet, they require some thought to counter the special attacks of all of your enemies.
If it wasn’t for the lackluster side quests, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot would be a perfect action-adventure game. The title could be better without the semi-open world features that allow you to fly around and search for meaningless activities.
It helps, though, that we get the original Japanese actors of the saga. All of them put great effort to make the game sound as cool as it looks.
With over 30 games on its franchise dating back to the early ’80s, no one is strange to a Dragon Ball video game.
Their latest entry, Dragon Ball Z Fighter, became an instant hit. Kakarot is not an arcade, though. It’s a free-roaming action-adventure RPG game that recreates DBZ canon.
It’s rough on the edges, though. Vegeta would be disappointed. Still, the game overflows with passion and love for its source material.
Kakarot mixes arena fighting with a semi-open world adventure RPG. More specifically, it combines linear segments of storytelling with free-roaming. When you’re not out there stopping Freezer from destroying Namek, you can search around for side quests and collectibles.
As far as the story goes, the game covers the entire DBZ original anime. It goes through the Radditz & Vegeta (Saiyan Saga), the Androids & Cell (Cell Saga), and then the Buu Saga.
But the free-roaming is not as good. You’re going to do the kind of stuff you’d see on a Dragon Ball filler episode. Gathering ingredients from Bulma, stopping Red Ribbon Army Soldiers, whooping Tao Pai Pai’s ass. Not good content whatsoever.
It seems that the semi-open world features of the game are an afterthought, just to make the game a bit longer.
Super Saiyan Button-Mash
Once the fighting starts, the game is more akin to the Tenkaichi Budokai series. You fight in 3D, and you have a vast array of moves, attacks, and powers.
Still, combat is fast and easy. It focuses on one-button combos plus four customizable special moves. It goes a bit deeper than that, though, so the fighting never becomes tedious or automatic.
But yes, there’s a great extent of button mashing, more than on your traditional DB arcade game. However, you are forced to react to your opponent’s moves and adapt to many situations.
See, most enemies can block or absorb attacks to strike you back and stun you. The trick is balancing offense and defense while being extremely mobile. Lucky for you, the combat is smart and reacts quickly to your controller. You can always evade to cancel your enemies’ combos or step out from Vegeta’s Final Flash.
That’s not the best thing, though. The highlight is the cinematic cuts in between the fights, expanding the incredible action set pieces of the original show. Moreover, the cinematic cuts take the struggle forward towards a new phase.
Additionally, there’re cinematic action sequences on the battles as well. You have to react fast by pressing the right button, as we’ve seen on so many games. Not a new mechanic by any means, but definitely cool given that pressing a single key means creating a devastating Ki blast.
The Ki is the most important resource during battle
Managing Ki is critical. There’s a Ki meter that dictates your special moves, teleportation, super dash, Ki projectiles, and your transformations. You need Ki to fire your Kame Kame Ha as well!
Kakarot uses Ki for plenty of defense and offense. For example, you can launch an energy burst to stop an enemy charge. You can teleport to get close to an enemy and punish him.
On top of that, there’s a tension gauge that fills during your fight. Once full, you can activate the surge mode to cancel your foe’s special moves.
Your trump card is the excellent “Super Finish,” though. It’s an animation you see when you end a fight with a Surge-powered energy blast.
All of the enemies are distinct and dangerous. Since this is a single-player only game, developers were able to add moves that would be OP in PvP.
For instance, Kid Buu and Freezer can create energy beams that can destroy a planet, Vegeta has an outstanding Ki reserve, and Cell can split into 20 weaker versions. That makes every battle feel epic, long-lasting, and challenging.
These are the small nuances on an otherwise basic and flashy combat system. That makes the 33 hours campaing feel a bit repetitive half-way. Still, pushing through the enemies is rewarding enough to keep playing.
Still, if you’re here as a DBZ fan, you’re probably here for the story. And, story-wise, it’s even better than the anime.
Also, the Japanese actors do a great job of capturing the emotion of each scene. With flawless sound design and the same effects and OST of the series, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot truly feels like a work of passion. Akira Toriyama would be proud.
Underpowered RPG elements
This game is at its best when it’s an arena fighter as it keeps the action similar to other DB games.
Its RPG side, though, feels like Krillin entering the battlefield with a flimsy promise of victory.
Sidequests are plain and dull. They rely too much on banal jobs like finding ingredients for a dish or mechanical parts for Bulma. Even worse, you can help nameless NPCs fight against forgettable Red Ribbon Army robots.
These jobs are not rewarding, either. They offer meager EXP points that are nothing like what you get from beating the main villains.
Some side quests feel different, though. Additional missions that involve classical Dragon Ball characters are exciting and fun. But these are far and in between. Otherwise, most of the action you find on the semi-open world are different variations of protecting, defeat, and fetch quests.
Other RPG elements also get in the way of the otherwise epic gameplay. As you explore the map, enemies arere roaming the field, representing nothing more than EXP drops.
Goku also levels up along your journey. However, learning new skills requires you to complete troublesome combat challenges -tutorials. Still, unlocking new skills is one of the best parts of the game.
You can learn various levels of your energy blasts like the Kame Kame Ha or the Spirit Bomb. Or, better yet, you can learn Gon’s Scissors Paper Rock (Hunter X Hunter).
A couple of months after the game debuted, Bandai Namco was already working on new content.
The next piece of the story takes the first arch of the Dragon Ball Super series.
It’s not as good as the main game, though, as it doesn’t go beyond training with Whis and Berus.
The Power Awakens DLC will have a follow-up, The Power Awakens II.
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is the perfect game for playing the original DBZ saga. It’s a character-driven story full of epicness, growth, struggle, and redemption.
For an action-adventure game, it offers one of the best single-player campaigns I’ve ever seen. It would be better off without the side quests, though, but you can probably skip most of them and be fine.