Relive Goku’s life in this RPG
Fans of the popular anime series Dragon Ball Z are in for a treat, as CyberConnect2 Co., Ltd. dropped a game that will give gamers everywhere a chance to experience the saga of the famous Saiyan. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is an action-RPG that presents the same story of how Kakarot—Goku’s Saiyan name—fights enemies to save planet Earth. It allows gamers to step into the martial arts-appropriate shoes of their favorite fighters to engage in battles, make friends, and explore various worlds.
An RPG that is not an RPG
Technically, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is a role-playing game. However, it is not super customizable. It is more like a hand-holding RPG on rails that tells you which character to play, and by extension, when you will be able to upgrade that character’s stats. It even tells you where you’re going and when.
Those are the restrictions of following a preordained story. However, the game—though not fully explorable—has many open areas that you can wander around in. That means you can go off on side quests to break the boredom of having to follow a linear storyline.
There are various tasks that you can perform. This includes racing, Dragon Ball-collecting, fishing, hunting, fighting dinosaurs, and even random battles. However, most of these are largely unrewarding. A lot of the activities only reward you with items you can use to cook or boost your stats temporarily. It also doesn’t help that these boosts are quickly made redundant by the game’s RPG leveling system, which means that the side tasks are only there to give you fun.
It is also a little frustrating that you cannot veer far from the narrow storyline of the game. But, on the bright side, you can get a chance to visit places you’ve always loved from the anime series. These places include Orange City or Goku’s home, Yamcha’s hideout in the desert, and even Gohan’s high school.
Of course, it won’t be a Dragon Ball game without fighting. However, if you play the game expecting battles on par with Dragon Ball FighterZ, then you will be disappointed. In fact, the game’s battle mechanics are much closer to what you’ll find in Dragon Ball Xenoverse.
The game pulls back from the RPG’s traditional combat style and adapts a more fighting game-style of combat. This means over-the-shoulder action, simple controls, and a combat system that is fun but not all that complex. You can launch a variety of attacks. However, not all of them are equal—basic melee attacks and specific explosive attacks are always effective.
A plethora of issues
The fighting aspect in Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is fun. However, it results in more issues. The biggest is in the unique abilities of the UI. For one, there is this feature called Super Armor in fighting games, which lets characters take damage without flinching, allowing them to push through certain high damage techniques. The enemies in this game have access to that armor at an alarming rate.
The other issue is that certain attacks have little two-second cutscenes, where the cameras focus on you or your opponent. Sure, it’s cool, but it affects your battle. You cannot move when the camera focuses on your opponent. And if you initiate a special attack before these cutscenes, it gets canceled. The worst part is that your enemy can still move even if the camera is focused on you.
To top it off, the game is prone to crashing that stops certain cutscenes loading. Worse, it sometimes boots players out of the game. There is also some screen-tearing, but it can all be solved with better equipment.
Nostalgic but problematic
Dragon Ball Z is one of the popular franchises, and there is an undeniable and incredible love for this source material. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot’s concept of reliving the saga is probably the most efficient way to enjoy the story of Goku. However, it is not enough to only give players a load of nostalgia. The game, while staying true to the story, is marred by issues upon issues that it is no longer enjoyable to play. The game quests and mechanics do not serve a purpose. The app is not technically refined and user-friendly, and you would just end up frustrated instead of entertained.