With so many Dragon Ball Z games out there, Kakarot stands out as a promising large-scale RPG adventure so let's get ready to battle.
I consider myself a fan of the Dragon Ball Z games as they've always provided over-the-top action that's as much fun as it is a spectacle to behold. However, I still wasn't expecting to love Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot as much as I have. So, where do I begin? It's basically an RPG where you traverse large open environments while taking on enemies, completing quests, and finding goodies. As you progress through the story, you'll take part in epic battles with familiar foes that'll keep you on the edge of your seat. As a result, the formula essentially involves more relaxed moments as you explore, talk to characters, and level up which contrasts beautifully with the action-packed fights in-between. I'll discuss the gameplay more in-depth in a bit but let me just say that it all works together to make 1 engaging tale.
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot's graphics are top-notch for an anime game. In fact, I don't think I've ever played a 3D game that's as faithful to its anime roots as this. Everything is animated gorgeously and watching the characters interact will both warm your heart as well as get you pumped for the next battle. The bright and colourful environments also come to life with plenty of delightful details such as dragons soaring overhead and deer frolicking in the forests. On top of all this, the cutscenes feel like they're ripped from an animated film and the audio is spot-on with suitable music, satisfying effects, and a wonderfully talented and familiar English voice cast.
The core combat in Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot will have you perform melee attacks and long-range Ki Blasts as you soar through the air while dodging incoming projectiles and blocking punches. You can also spend Ki to unleash equipped Super Attacks and even command allies to deploy their own Super Attack Assists. If you're ever in a pickle, you can even use equipped heal items for quick recovery. Beating on your opponents while firing an onslaught of projectiles and causing massive damage with well-timed Super Attacks is immensely fun even though it's not the most inventive combat system but I'll describe its downsides in more detail later on.
For now, allow me to discuss the RPG elements. There are far too many to list without this review sounding like an instruction manual so I'll just go over the substantial facets. One of my favourite aspects is the Community Board where you place Soul Emblems of characters in order to earn boosts such as decreasing purchase prices and increasing your strength. These boards act like puzzles as certain characters enjoy being next to each other which makes them more potent so optimization becomes a tricky endeavour.
There's also standard stuff like purchasing character-specific skills via trees, cooking meals to provide boosts, giving presents to characters to make them offer additional boosts, and gathering encyclopedia entries which will grant you items and such. Oh, and collecting all 7 Dragon Balls so you can wish for deceased characters to return is a very cool addition. Like I said, it's a lot to take in.
As I've already touched upon, there's a lot to see and do in the world of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot. Simply exploring the many areas that are found within the world map can be fun on its own as you discover secret caves full of treasure and take on exceptionally difficult optional enemies. Those who prefer more structured free time can complete a variety of Sub Stories which are clearly marked and range from simple fetch quests to tough battles. No matter how you play, it's very rewarding to watch your encyclopedia expand and I imagine filling that out completely would require a great deal of time and effort. Speaking of which, the main story takes about 30 hours to beat.
Okay, it's about that time to talk about the less desirable aspects of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot. First, I'm kind of disappointed that combat doesn't rely more on strategy. To be clear, there is a solid amount of variety, especially in the story battles as you'll find yourself avoiding lasers from a top-down perspective and weaving through projectiles in a locked third-person view and such. Although those moments are awesome, I still didn't feel like I was using much strategy throughout and you can even beat most regular enemies by merely tapping the melee attack button. Additionally, the RPG elements can make battles even easier by allowing you to easily purchase and equip 999 heal items, etc. Finally, the graphics in battle frequently get obstructed by clouds of dirt and special effects which can be downright disorienting. I wish that you could see character outlines whenever they were blocked by such effects.
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot may not have the deepest combat mechanics but there's no denying just how exciting it is to play. From its jaw-dropping action to its top-notch presentation, this is one epic RPG that fans and newcomers alike can easily enjoy.
- + Action-packed combat with plenty of variety and intricate RPG elements
- + Awesome visuals, cutscenes, and audio
- + Lots of cool content to unlock and master
- - Combat doesn't rely enough on strategy
- - RPG elements can make things too easy
- - Graphics get obstructed easily in combat