Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot review | Under 9,000

An anime-infused open-world action RPG soon loses its sheen. Here’s our review of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot…


 

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is a comprehensive retelling of the original anime show, this time in the form of an action RPG, but one hampered by repetitive open-world design and a tedious structure.

Kakarot doesn’t operate in a true open-world style, instead looking more to something like the Yakuza series for inspiration – that being a selection of interconnected areas separated by loading screens, all of which you’re navigating by flying about.

As you might expect, given this is based on a comic and TV show about a bunch of superpowered people (and aliens).

Those schooled in the world of Dragon Ball Z will take a lot away from Kakarot with its presentational elements. Not only are you met by an array of familiar faces, but the whole thing looks fantastic – its resemblance to the show is uncanny.

There are areas where things look a mite less polished, especially in some outdoor environments, and I did meet a fair few glitches in my playthrough – like when young Gohan found himself stuck in a bit of furniture. While this kid is one of the strongest beings in the universe, apparently Ikea sofas are a bit too much for him.

The core of any Dragon Ball tie-in, though, is the battling – and it’s a mixed bag at best with Kakarot. Fights are twitchy and responsive, with a hell of a lot of dodging along the way. While there are elements of customisation to be found, each character sees very limited fighting options, so any personalisation immediately falls flat.

Things are mixed up by non-story missions seeing multiple party members at your command, but there’s no escaping the fact it’s very samey. By the time you’ve put away Frieza (which isn’t that far in), you’ll already have settled on a battle strategy for every fight – and there are still dozens of hours left to play.

The game goes for a big RPG swing with its Community menu, a grid-like system where you boost stats by placing characters together in different categories and feeding them items you’ve acquired in order to bag some rewards.

It could be a big, deep, and interesting aspect of the game, except I hardly touched it in my entire playthrough and saw little-to-no negative effects as a result. That’s not exactly a glowing endorsement for what should be a core, strategic aspect of the game.

Those who come into Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot blind will find little to redeem the experience; this is very much fan service, and your enjoyment absolutely depends on your affection for the universe.

While this revisiting of the mythology – in yet another video game – is where it all shines, generally speaking, the whole package feels like a missed opportunity. Just when you’re picking up steam, the game throws you into another battle you’ve already fought, or pushes you to another section of the map that’s at least one loading screen away.

Just like the wait to get to the end of the Cell Saga all those years ago, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot’s shine quickly wears off, and it soon becomes a tedious slog.

Highlight

It’s hard to say Dragon Ball Z is hilarious or any such compliment, but it has its moments – and many of these have been translated into a selection of goofier side quests in the game. Getting your driver’s licence as Goku or tracking down the philandering Yamcha were particular highlights.

Verdict: 58%

Little in the way of variety or innovation and a dull open world spoil what should have been a wish (to Shenron) come true.

Genre: Action RPG
Format: PS4 (tested) / PC / XBO
Developer: CyberConnect2
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Price: £44.99
Release: Out now

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