Developer: BANDAI NAMCO, CyberConnect2
Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO
Platforms: PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC
Reviewed On: Switch
Release Date: 31/08/2021
Reviewed By: Keith Lavelle
Review Rush was kindly supplied with a review code.
Being a massive DBZ fan, I could not turn down the opportunity to play through the main story arcs in an RPG setting. I had to review this. How does it compare to the anime and manga? Let’s find out.
In Dragon Ball Z Kakarot, you play as Son Goku and his Universe 9 Z Fighter friends. Going through the major story arcs in this recreation on the manga. With the most prominent characters in each arc being present. I was reminded of a few that I forgot about. However, DBZ is a long story so I will leave it there as I could go on for hours.
As well as the main game the Switch version also comes with new DLC, A New Power Awakens Set. This gives the players access to two new story missions based on the Lord Beerus arc and the resurrection F movie.
Kakarot has a lot of content to offer and if you are a DBZ fan, then you will love playing through these major story arcs.
As Dragon Ball Z Kakarot is an open world RPG, there is plenty on offer to explore. From Earth, to Planet Namek, and so on. Each lovingly recreated. There are three modes of travel, by foot, fly or vehicles. But let’s be honest if you can fly on your own or even cooler the Nimbus cloud who is going to walk?
As you traverse these open maps, you will have a few activities to do. Firstly, there are the main story missions. These see you play out the story arc’s main plot points. Collecting Z orbs is a must to upgrade attacks. There are side missions to do, from simple collect missions and battle missions. Son Goku can even tail fish with his prosthetic tail. You could even collect the seven Dragon Balls and get Shenron to grant a wish.
Even with these side activities, the world was empty spaces with Z Orbs floating about. Yes, you are flying around deserts, the sea and so on. I just wanted the world to have more life. There is, of course, plenty of fighting to be had.
While flying around the world, Son Goku will be attacked by enemies that inhabit the sky’s. These can be super quick fights or they can be some nightmares. More so the bosses that are located around the worlds.
The battle system is fairly straightforward. The game makes most battles take place in the air, however depending on how you attack and from what angle fights can be in water. There is even some environment damage caused by attacks or smashing your opponent in to the ground. These little touches make Katarot feel more like the anime I watched growing up.
The button layout is easy to get to grips with, melee attack, ki attack, dodge and power up; along with movement. Combining these simple attacks makes for some great combos. Mix in the more powerful Ki Attack, like the Kamamah , by pressing R1 and corresponding equipped attack. If you have a sub character with you, then it is also possible to get them to perform their own super attack. You are not the only one with majorly damaging attacks. The enemies also have them, but for us they are well telegraphed. If they hit, however, you will be stun locked and left wide open to damage. So monitoring the battle is essential.
I loved the battle system; it makes it accessible for most people, but it is deep enough for beginners and experienced gamers to have fun with.
RPG – It’s OVER 9000!!
Kakarot has two major RPG slants, first one is the bog standard power up and unlocking of new abilities. This is a standard for most RPGs just now. The other aspect that I enjoyed is the Community Board. Here you get Soul Medals and they can be slotted in to the boards next to starting soul. Doing so will improve experience gained, cooking skills and bonuses, Zenny collected and a few others. Soul Medals can also level up. Doing so will grant gifts relating to the board.
Fateful art style, almost.
Now, as we all know, the Switch is not as powerful as its other console buddies, so some exceptions need to be made to put Kakarot’s gaming experience first. This has been done in the graphics department. Some textures are a little washed out and the overall game is lacking some of the more refined polish to the art style. But, and importantly, it still looks lovely with its cell-shaded look that keeps true to the manga.
Dropping some textures means Kakarot runs at a near constant 30fps. There are a few noticeable frame rate drops more so in the boss fights. Where the game will occasionally slow for a moment. It is ignorable, as it is not too often and does not really disrupt the battles flow.
Overall Dragon Ball Z Kakarot is a fun game, that takes the player through most of the major events from the series. With a really fun and rewarding battles system. There is plenty on offer, more so if you are a DBZ fan. With a slight graphical down grade to keep the action flowing, I can live with it.
I would have liked to have seen more happening in the worlds but that’s a minor problem. I would definitely recommend Dragon Ball Z Kakarot to anyone who is a fan. If you have no clue what DBZ is, then it could be a good starting point to get in to the games and manga/anime.