I am a huge Dragon Ball fan. DBZ is my favorite anime of all time, so naturally, when Dragon Ball Z Kakarot was announced, I was ecstatic. I was also a little skeptical, considering how the game was promising to retell the entire DBZ saga. Having played all the Budokai Tenkaichi and Xenoverse games, I was hoping for something different this time, but as they say – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Dragon Ball Z Kakarot is a single-player RPG made by CyberConnect2. Yep, the same devs who made the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm games. Going over the list of games they’ve made, it’s easy to see why this game feels like a last-gen game at times. It has a semi-open world with tons of side quests, collectible orbs scattered across the skyline as well as having standard RPG skill trees. I went over most of these in my first impressions, so I won’t be repeating most of them again.
The game can be divided into 2 parts – Fighting and exploration. So let’s break them down to their core.
Combat in Dragon Ball Z Kakarot
The fighting is very reminiscent of the PS2 era’s Dragon Ball Budokai Tenkaichi games. Even the controls have taken a lot form those games, which is a good thing for me. You melee with one button, charge up with another, dodge with one and blast projectiles with another. It’s pretty standard, though a little button mashy at times. I do wish that there were options to remaps certain functions, at least on the face buttons, but alas that option isn’t present here. I reviewed the game on a PlayStation 4, so my experience with the controls is only limited to the Dualshock 4 controller.
You can also pull off advanced moves like combos, transformations as well as partner assists while engaged in combat. Transformations are only activated through completing certain story missions, as you would’ve guessed. So to even get to Super Saiyan 1, you’ll have had to play about 10 hours into the Frieza saga. Yep, it’s a long game. The long cutscenes also add up, with the annoying addition of the “Press X button to skip dialogue” feature. I despise it in every game ever made. It doesn’t let you just sit back while dialogue is going on. However, being as big a fan of Toriyama’s anime/manga franchise I am, I was willing to let it pass. The game, when compared to the anime, can feel short. The anime sits at around 112 hours, and the game is around 40 hours long if you power through the story without engaging with side content. That’s a decently long game.
Let’s go back to exploration. When not in combat, you can fly around hub worlds while collecting orbs to boost up your skills. There’s a huge skill tree for every character, and there’s also a community system that grants bonuses to perks in certain factions – like fighting, cooking, and even “adult knowledge”. That one’s got Master Roshi as it’s central member, so you know what that means. The game also has a fun Z encyclopedia, which is filled with information about the characters, world and the main sagas, with much more to unpack. In the deluxe editions of the game, you can also listen to the entire soundtrack from the encyclopedia, which is joyful.
And then there’s flying, which can tedious after a while. The flying controls aren’t the best, but when compared to the Xenoverse games, it’s angelic. CyberConnect2 has certainly nailed the feeling of flying at high speeds in the world of Dragon Ball. The distinct aura of character’s powers while tearing through the skies is present here in full force. As Goku, you can even use the flying Nimbus during the start of the game, which is a really fun addition.
Dragon Ball Z Kakarot is an excellent addition to Akira Toriyama’s infamous Dragon Ball franchise, While the game retells the classic story that we all know and love, I do wish we got to see some more original things in there. The game captures the feel of Dragon Ball so well that I can highly recommend it to someone who has never seen or read DBZ. For more information, you can watch my first impressions video here, with a full video review coming soon.