Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is the newest entry in the long line of video game adaptations of the world-renowned anime and manga created by Akira Toriyama.
Developed by Cyber2Connect and published by Bandai Namco, DBZ: Kakarot proves itself a worthwhile and engaging experience, when following the Z Fighters’ adventures against ever-growing host of enemies and threats they encounter.
The game, insofar as I have played, is as faithful an adaption to the source material as you can find. It breaks down each saga into, well, their own saga, and further divides big moments in the story into episode-sized portions.
The anime series is infamous for its filler arcs and episodes, and the game, to its credit, doesn’t shy away from that.
Throughout the game, fights against underlings and henchmen feel bloated, akin to entrée after entrée, leaving you full before the main course ever arrives.
Combat in DBZ: Kakarot is not what you’d expect from a traditional JRPG. Instead of the methodical, turn-based battles the genre is mostly known for, the latest retelling of Goku’s adventures features combat much more in tune to the likes of 2015’s Final Fantasy XV, or the now-delayed Final Fantasy VII Remake.
Instead of waiting your turn to strike your enemies, battles instead consist of free-moving action sequences. Goku has exactly one physical attack button, alongside a ki-blast button, a charge button and a dodge button.
As well as that, L1 contains the powerful energy blasts that the series is known for, such as the Kamehameha, or Vegeta’s Galick Gun. R2 on the other hand offers the player the ability to transform (given that they have unlocked the transformation).
Combat is fast and frenetic, and succeeding in the various battles you find yourself in depends on how well you utilise the blocking and dodging mechanics.
Your survival relies on implementing these two defensive measures into your routine, paired with timing your attacks carefully. One thing I found is that certain attacks will lock you into a forced perspective, and thus leave you unguarded against enemy attacks.
This style of gameplay admittedly did grow on me, the more I played, although the inclusion of only one physical attack button did leave much to be desired.
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot – Verdict: 3/5
Reviewed on PS4
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is a fun and enjoyable Dragon Ball experience, full of the action and humour the series is known for.
The game is a great jumping-in point for newcomers and veterans to the series alike.
I think the Kakarot offers itself as one of the best ways to consume the story of Dragon Ball, minus the episodes of screaming and filler. It is a faithful retelling of the series, with an engaging path of progression for each character.
Not only that, but the action seems a bit more methodical than most button-mashing Dragon Ball games, although to only feature one physical attack button in a Dragon Ball game is an astounding choice.
While there are more detailed JRPGs out there, Kakarot scratches the itch of both Dragon Ball and JRPG fans alike.
• Great intro to the Dragon Ball Z story
• RPG mechanics work a treat
• Charming world
• Control mapping is odd
• Some traversal woes
• Occasional filler quests
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