Title: Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Genre: Action, Adventure, Role-Playing Games (RPG)
Platform: Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC
Age Rating: PEGI 12
Release Date: 17/01/2020
Price: £49.99 -Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
I want to start by saying that I am a massive DBZ fan, and have been since I was a child so this review might be ever so slightly biased due to the nostalgia overload that was my 47 hours with the game.
Dragon Ball Z Kakarot is an open-world adventure RPG developed by CyberConnect2 and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. The game is a retelling of the anime which ran in Japan from 1988 to 1995, which follows Goku and his friends on their quest to keep the planet safe from all sorts of powerful extraterrestrial life forms.
The story is told over 4 Sagas with each one having a number of playable characters to use to explore the somewhat limited open-world environments or take part in some of the most iconic battles from the anime with some of the earth’s greatest villains.
Looks and Sounds
DBZ Kakarot uses Unreal Engine 4, which helps the colours look bright and vibrant as well as making the character models and environments look sharp, especially with HDR on the PS4 Pro. It looks and sounds exactly how I remember it from the TV adaption from the early 2000s. The music and sounds used while exploring or during intense battles bring me back to watching the same moments on Cartoon Network when I was nine years old. Each punch or ki blast has a satisfying sound and equally brilliant feedback on the Dualshock 4.
Kakarot is split up into three different gameplay elements, the open-world exploration, combat, and RPG mechanics.
The open-world gameplay is pretty straight forward with very few controls to get to grips with, using the analogue sticks to navigate and the R1 and R2 buttons to adjust how high / low you want to fly.
Within the open world, there are a number of things for you to explore and collect. There are Z Orbs and D Medals which you need to take part in training activities. They also allow you to upgrade and learn new super moves. There are also food and building resources which are used for cooking up stat-boosting meals and building things like the car and bipedal robot which will then allow you to take part in various races spread throughout the open world.
Littered across the 8-10 open-world locations are several shops in which you can buy resources and items to recover health during battle. There are also many different side missions to explore that introduce many other familiar faces from the DBZ Universe.
Arguably the main aspect of Kakarot is the combat, which was undoubtedly the highlight of my experience. I think for me the thing that impressed me most about the combat was that how using only two or three buttons made me feel powerful and made the combat feel fast and fluid, which in my eyes is what DBZ is all about. Some of the initial boss fights are quite challenging, and my first encounter with Radditz took me several attempts before finally beating him. The combat feels difficult without feeling unfair and has an excellent sense of achievement when you land that finishing blow.
The final gameplay element is the RPG mechanics which are made up of a levelling system allowing you to become more powerful, this can be achieved by doing main or side mission, and as you increase in level, you can also learn new special moves and techniques. Another element is the community boards, which by using items called Soul Emblems can permanently boost specific stats and also grant bonuses.
Each Soul Emblem represents a character from the DBZ universe and will specialise in a different skill that will be more effective when applied to a specific community board. There are seven boards in total which are, Z Warrior, Cooking, God, Training, Development, Adult and Adventure. Each board grants different skill boosts and bonuses; for example, the Z Warrior board can give increased attack power for certain types of moves, whereas the Cooking Community Board can grant increased Meal Effect duration.
Also when adding Soul Emblems to the Community boards it is possible to have increased bonuses and boosts if the characters that are placed next to each other have a relationship or past in DBZ. Placing both Goku and Gohan beside one another on the Z Warrior board triggers the ‘Ultimate Father-Son Team’ bonus increasing both Soul Emblems Z Warrior Proficiency and grants an attack power boost.
This is the Dragon Ball Z game I have wanted since I was a child, and while I will admit that the game isn’t perfect, it did bring back some awesome childhood memories that scored it some extra points. I would recommend this to both new and existing fans of the series that want to experience the DBZ universe in all its cel-shaded glory.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot from the PlayStation Store on the following link, https://store.playstation.com/en-gb/product/EP0700-CUSA14835_00-NEWDBZRPG0000000