Gaming is in my DNA. I live and breath videogames. Staying up to date on anything related to videogames. I play videogames professionally and I am not afraid to criticize a game for its flaws. Playing Modern Warfare in my spare time, you will know if you find me there.
Dragon Ball Z Kakarot is the latest in the long entries of Dragon Ball Z titles, although unlike many recent ones, DBZ Kakarot takes a break from having online-centric features to being a sole driven single-player only title. It’s a nice change-up as Cyberconnect2, the developers behind the excellent Naruto Storm series, have finally been given a chance at the DragonBall series and it certainly is a great one.
A Familiar Tale…
Starting our review off, the story. The story of Dragonball Z Kakarot takes it’s course over the original four main series arc, them being Saiyan, Frieza, Cell, and the Buu Saga. It’s a story that concluded it’s original run nearly 25 years ago and eventually spawned some spin-offs, retelling, and multiple games to tell it. Honestly, if you’ve played and watched everything related to the Z series then there isn’t a whole lot new in terms of the major plot, although this isn’t to say that is a bad thing. The campaign can stretch somewhere between 30 to 40 hours in length, and to my recollection, this would be the very first Dragon Ball Z game that actually took you through the entire series story without skipping major plot points or cutting it into multiple games. So to say the least, if you haven’t played or watch anything related to Dragonball Z, Kakarot would be an excellent place to start. As for what is “new” for old-time fans, expect to see many of the non-Saiyan Z warriors to be more fleshed out, along with fan favorites such as Launch and many more to return.
As for the gameplay, it feels very similar to that of the Xenoverse series. Combat is easy for anyone to pick-up, yet as you progress through the campaign the difficulty quickly ramps up to offer a great amount of challenge. As you progress through the story there is also an upgrade system that players can continue to level up to gain stronger versions of attacks and new techniques. It isn’t overly complicated and makes for a nice little power boost between arcs. A few complaints I did have, there was some odd input lag I was experiencing where my guarding and super attacks weren’t responding until a few seconds later. I did ask another reviewer if they had been experiencing the same problem, in which they declined so it could be an isolated issue. I also wasn’t a fan of the spam attacks bosses would do during their phases as it would get annoying at times and felt like a cheap way to drag fights.
More Than Fighting
Outside of the standard fighting segments we also have multiple large hub locations we can freely explore to do activities such as collect Dragon Balls, training challenges, side-quests, and timed trials. The upgrade system mentioned earlier also runs off of collectibles known as Z Orbs, which are gained from missions and are littered all over the maps. I’d say it’s one of my bigger complaints as I found myself not collecting them when freely exploring due to how annoyingly it can get to have to backtrack or break from the flow of travel.
For the presentation, while I feel the Naruto Storm series offers better visuals, DBZ Kakarot still looks pretty top-notch. There are recreations of full cutscenes that I genuinely thought looked better than the actual show, while other times, due to the lack of character movement and them having their backs turned against the player, it just looked off. I don’t necessarily feel that Cyberconnect put as much love as they did for the Storm series when it came to animating whole scenes, but then again those games spanned across four titles for all their arcs, whereas here it’s all of Dragon Ball Z. I will say, the big highlight is definitely the visuals behind Super Saiyan form as I feel it’s by far the best visual representation out of any of the games thus far.
As for the soundtrack, I don’t particularly remember a whole lot of the tracks presented in the game but they’re very similar to the original run of DBZ (Japanese) and even Dragonball music. I will say, as far as I know, there isn’t anything scored by Faulconer in the game, which is a bit of a bummer if you grew up with that track. A minor complaint I do have is the constant repeated phrases characters would do. During combat, it wasn’t bad, but out in the open world when enemies would spam endlessly, the character (mostly Gohan) would constantly repeat the same line over and over. Again, a minor complaint.
Overall, I feel that Dragon Ball Z Kakarot is a step in the right direction for the series. While it does tell the tale that we have all known forever, there is a lot that went into making this game to offer an enjoyable experience. And the big bright side of things is if Cyberconnect ever decides to do a sequel, we can at least look forward to them touching upon the Dragon Ball Super series now that Z is out of the way. Regardless, if you are a big fan of the series or want a perfect place to start, then Dragon Ball Z Kakarot is a definite buy. Easily being able to offer over 40 hours of story content, and even more for side content, DBZ Kakarot is an exceptional welcomed title in the franchise.
Power Level Off the Charts!
If you read any manga or watched the television series, then the story of the game will be quite familiar. I was pumped full of nostalgia because I had not watched any episodes in such a long time. It was nice to relive the moments in the game.
The game retails for full game price and depending on your playstyle, you can easily get a minimum of 20 hours worth of gameplay which makes it worth the cost.
- Visuals suitable for the series
- A full package campaign that’ll easily hit the 30 hours mark, and more with side content
- Explores additional side stories of characters fans have always wanted more of
- Easy combat accompanied by a large skill tree
- A large amount of repeated dialogue
- Loading times are rather long and frequent
- Subtitles were missing for some scenes as were the actual voice dialogue. Hopefully fixed in later patches
- No New Game Plus, post-game content is pretty light unless you like fighting the same characters.
Review code provided by the publisher. Played on PS4. Read our review policy and scoring system right here.