What is DBZ Kakarot? Well it is a faithful retelling of the major plot points of the Dragon Ball Z anime TV series that ran in the 90s, but in video game form. As a kid in elementary school, I would always want to watch this because it was so epic, what with all the flashy and hyped up battle scenes and free flying.
As the title of this article suggests, it’s a childhood come true. I was always glued to the television screen when this anime came on. I remember an episode where one of the characters, was teaching his future wife-to-be how to fly. During the commercial breaks I would try to fly based on those “lessons”. I was a kid then, had a pretty active imagination and I really REALLY wanted to fly.
Now, years later, I can vicariously experience flying without having to be in a metal body with wings attached and the fighting is absolutely crazy. For those of us gamers who have heard of and enjoyed the Dragon Ball series, this open world RPG has got us curious.
This is going to be a gaming review on this latest installment of the Z Fighters franchise. I’ll be going over the story, fighting mechanics, the open world RPG mechanics and other miscellaneous things that can be done in the game. In the end, I’ll also be giving it a score and throwing my two cents in on what I thought of the game as a nostalgic fan of the series.
Is it a Faithful Retelling of Dragon Ball Z?
You bet it is, this installment does a good job of condensing 100+ episodes of this epic saga into an action packed and hard hitting package. Playing through the game reminded me of how much I enjoyed the anime and how awesome it made me feel as a kid.
Here is a short overview of what this game is about for those of you not familiar with the events of the anime or have not even heard of it:
The main hero is a guy named Goku who is carefree, naive, goofy and insanely powerful. All he cares about is food, training and fighting tougher enemies to get stronger. Through a series of events and due to his extremely kindhearted nature, he ends up being Earth’s unsung savior many times over.
For some reason, all the bad guys come to this particular planet and Goku is always at the center of every battle that decides its fate. These battles are fought through martial arts, which is the world’s most important sport, absolutely everyone either practices it or watches it.
It covers all four sagas in chronological order, each focused on tougher enemies that are threatening the existence of life itself. As you progress, you will see familiar faces and be able to take part in fights that determine the fate of the world and even the universe. It’s full of cutscenes and battles that are so exciting that it’s hard not to get hyped.
Might not seem appealing to those that haven’t heard of Dragon Ball Z, but it’s a complete nostalgia trip for anyone familiar with the TV anime series.
The Fights are Legendary
Here’s where we get into the good stuff. The fights? Absolutely spectacular, extremely fun and packed with so much action that it’s surprising the screen didn’t burst. Each major battle against the iconic characters is just so empowering, but against the regular mobs, it can feel a bit tedious.
In my experience with the game’s battle system, I found that the best way to handle enemies is to keep your distance and fly around until their hissy fits are over and then go in for the win. Sure you can dodge and guard, but dodging can be a little tricky, I just couldn’t get the hang of it, if I ended up dodging something, it was probably more due to luck than good timing and skill.
Guarding can be useful against enemy projectiles, but it’s pretty easy for them to break it, so just use it to get behind the enemy and counter them, though it takes like half your Ki which is this game’s equivalent to stamina.
As a side note as well, there are healing items available, though I didn’t really use them too much. Heck, at one point I forgot they even existed which probably could have saved me from a lot of raging. To be fair though, the battles are actually pretty easy so they don’t really push you into needing a healing aid, even when fighting the big bosses.
Overall, the combat is very flashy, hard hitting and absolute mindless fun. After enough battles though, when you’ve got a strategy down, they’ll all start to feel the same, but at least nothing can beat you then.
How does the World of DBZ Kakarot Play?
Alright, let’s get into how Dragon Ball Z Kakarot plays. It’s like a semi open world, each region is surrounded by invisible walls that let you know you’re close to the border by prompting you to go to the world map and travel elsewhere. Each region in itself is decently sized, but is bland to look at.
There is wildlife and other people there, but they’re all on the ground and you’ll most likely be traveling via flying, which is the next best thing about this game besides the battles.
I found the environments and textures to be very boring to look at, made me feel like I was playing in a clay landscape, though it was vibrantly coloured.
As you fly around, you’ll notice these coloured orbs that you can collect, these are actually used to upgrade your skill tree. I guess it’s used as a little encouragement to explore the map, other than that, there really isn’t much reason to.
There are some side quests, but they’re mainly about fetching, gathering or fighting something or another which can start to feel boring and repetitive.
Don’t dismiss all of them though, there are a few side stories that can give a little background on some of the more important friends and foes in the series. These are actually quite a bit more interesting than the majority of the available minor quests in the game.
Also, each saga is broken up by intermissions which are the only times that allow you to complete certain side quests. Upon reaching the end of the game, some of those minor tasks are locked and cannot be completed, so if you want to 100% the quests, make sure to do everything you can during those breaks.
Oh, a minor problem that I have with the game is how it’s locked to 30 frames per second (fps), if you’re on the PC, you can change the settings to get it to play at the full 60 fps, but there is screen tearing; v-sync will lock it back to 30. This limitation kind of dampens the fun, for me at least, since I like to play at higher, smoother frames.
All the Little Things
As a semi-open world RPG and one that is a faithful retelling of the Dragon Ball Z series, you wouldn’t think there would be much room to add some things to liven up the gameplay. This is partially true, since the most fun things are done through progression of the main story line, but DBZ Kakarot tried its hardest to pack the world full of things to do.
Among the mechanics that have been added to the game are cooking, fishing, racing and some kind of upgrading system as well as a few other small little things.
All these other activities are extremely minor and there really isn’t any point to doing any of it, in my opinion anyway. They feel like they’re just there as filler, because again, there isn’t much room for innovation in a game that just follows an already existing story.
The cooking has its benefits, but they don’t last very long and require you to hunt around for ingredients in a bland environment. The fishing though, can be good for a little laugh and mindless activity, but gets boring quickly. Racing is okay since you get to try different vehicles, in my playthrough, there were two different things you could race in, cars and a robotic walker, but they both still pale in comparison to flying.
As for the crafting part, well, I found it to be absolutely useless and felt like it was shoehorned in there, just to say that the game had a system in place for it.
Another minor thing that is a little better is that you can collect the Dragon Balls and make wishes with them. This is one of the more interesting mechanics included, they make it extremely easy to collect them too with the Dragon Radar. All you have to do is choose the region that has a Dragon Ball icon, travel there, pull up your map and put a custom marker pointing to the Dragon Ball.
As for the wishes that can be made, most of them are to bring back defeated enemies so you can fight them again, wish for more money, Z orbs for skill points and some rare materials. I just ended up holding on to them for the majority of the game since money is pointless, Z orbs just need you to fly around and collect them and the rare materials? What good are they for if the crafting and cooking isn’t even worth the time?
As you can see, there is ALOT of small little things included in this game in order to try to make it more explorable, but they are all just unnecessary. Main story line quests and some side quests are the only thing that makes you want to completely play through it.
The Verdict: 7/10 Overall Decent
In general, this game is for those players that enjoyed and wanted to experience the Dragon Ball Z anime series in a more interactive form. A huge part of what makes this game so interesting and more fun is the nostalgia which is a very powerful thing, it’s like wanting to be a child again, back to a simpler time (if you had a good and simple childhood that is).
It’s not a bad first game to get into, if you’re new to the fighter genre and are curious about this particular series of fight centric games similar to Dragon Ball Xenoverse or Dragon Ball Fighter Z and such, than this is a good starting point for some background information.
From the point of view of a person who has many open world RPG’s under their belt, this is a very mediocre game that leaves much to be wanted. I gave this game a slightly better than average score because of my fond memories of the anime and characters overall as well as the feelings of nostalgia it stirred within me.
In the end, it’s still up to you if you want to give this game a try, just letting you know to go into it with an open mind, who knows, maybe you’ll have more fun with it than you think, whether you’re new to these types of games or a veteran.
Are you a fan of the Dragon Ball series? If you are and you’re a gamer, did you give this a go? What are your thoughts on it?
If you’re new and are curious about this game, what do you think, will you give it a try or go in search of different one to try?
Let me know down in the comments below your thoughts about Dragon Ball Z Kakarot, I’d really appreciate hearing from you. If you’ve got questions, I’ll be happy to answer them as well! Thanks for checking the post out, hope to see you all later.
Also, if you’re wondering about a few other games than feel free to check out my other posts here. I’m a gamer for life, and there are a lot more to play and experience, I’ll be keeping track of the ones I’ve played here to help you figure out which one you’re going to try next.