I’m a huge DBZ fan. Blah blah Toonami after school, you know the drill. So when I heard about this game, an open world RPG in the universe(s) I love so much I couldn’t pre-order fast enough. The trailers really sold it for me as well. I mean, what could go wrong, right?
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot takes us through the sagas we all know and love. The presentation is outstanding. I played on PS4 and was disappointed when my little HDR pop-up never showed up, but never did I think it was a problem. The narrator chimes in to wrap things up and the end of the sagas have cool “NEXT TIME ON DRAGON BALL Z” clip montages. Most of the original voice actors reprise their roles for the billionth time (I’m a pleb, I know; but dub DBZ for life) and regardless of the same old story they still do a good job. My absolute favorite part of the game are the cut scenes during battles, which are absolutely gorgeous. I wish they would remake the series in that style.
You’re gonna go from the Saiyan saga through the Buu saga leveling up your characters, filling out a skill tree for each and defeating robots. Lots of robots. Like, I don’t wanna see another fucking robot for as long as I live. The combat is relatively simple. You string together melee combos and finish off with one of your super attacks. Holding L1 brings up the menu to choose from (I recommend mapping similar attacks to similar buttons, such as kamehameha and galick gun on triangle, so as not to get confused with other characters). When unlocked you can freely transform in combat for boosts at the cost of a constantly draining Ki meter you need to continually charge or you’ll lose your form.
Boss fights are a lot of fun (except Kid Buu– annoying garbage). They each have their own unique attack patterns you have to figure out and dodge or block. I see a lot of people shitting on the flying controls (R1 and R2 ascend and descend) but after ten minutes of practice I was able to fly pretty precisely. If you are in a party you can have them fire off a move during battle at the cost of a small cooldown.
After you finish each saga you will go into an intermission. This is where you’ll spend the bulk of your time doing side quests, leveling party members, destroying towers and Frieza ships, collecting orbs, mineral and ingredients for cooking. It’s also the only parts of the game you can hunt down the dragon balls. Collecting all seven grants you one or more wishes that range from a payout of cash to bringing back an old enemy to fight again. Once used you must wait 20 real time minutes to hunt them again. The side quests are OK at best. They’re rarely voice acted other than grunts. Some are also time limited so keep that in mind. There are random battles, powered up villainous enemies that give you more orbs and experience when defeated. And you’ll want those orbs if you want the best moves which you’ll unlock in training. At this point you’re probably thinking “man, this guy about to drop 5 bibles on Kakarot I bet” but you would be very very wrong.
I love a lot about this game. The cinematics, combat and gameplay loop were ticking all my boxes. But now I’m about to shit on it. Enemies attacks are rarely interrupted, unlike your own. You’ll hit them full force with a masenko only for them to kick you and send you flipping around the map like an idiot. Hunting down the dragon balls was a lot like Anthem‘s loading screen problems. They’re scattered around the world map, each area requiring a loading screen of sometimes a minute or more (on a PS4 Pro). So that’s 7+ minutes right there not counting collecting them. Fuck, I hate those loading screens. I was done with this game heading into the Buu saga…
But pure spite kept me going. Some side quests require you to either be a certain character or don’t have one in your party. Someone wanted to give Master Roshi a present. Well, to do that we had to ask Krillin what he would like. KRILLIN MUST NOT BE IN YOUR PARTY. OK. Switch him out real quick and accept quest. KRILLIN WARPS ACROSS THE MAP SO THERE ARE ANOTHER TWO LOADING SCREENS FOR THIS STUPID QUEST.. even though he was just here. Each character only has one thing they say when chased by random encounters and it gets annoying real quick. Game crashed on me once. Most of the sub stories are lazy fetch quests. The game has no challenge at all; if you’re ever in trouble you just heal heal heal. I died maybe twice in a 40 hour playthrough.
In conclusion, I loved everything about this gave until I didn’t. If you are a major DBZ fan like myself then do play it. There is lots of fan service and you owe it to yourself to see the stellar cinematics. Combat is fun but simple. By about the 30-hour mark this game had worn out its welcome, although I’m just now getting to the endgame so that might keep me interested. 3.25/5 Bibles.