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  • Writer's pictureGaming and Tech

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot

Updated: Mar 21, 2022

Game Review

By Miles Stebens

Image courtesy of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot press kit via IGDB

Price: £49.99 Game Length: 50-70 hours Developer: CyberConnect2 Publisher: Bandai Namco Free demo available on Steam!

Thanks to the Development Trust Fund, I was able to finally snatch a game that has been patiently sitting on my wishlist for months: Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot. Now, the Dragon Ball saga has yielded its fair share of games, so what makes this one an exciting find for longtime fans such as myself?

While I absolutely loved competing in world tournaments and fighting battles against my brother in games such as Dragon Ball Z: Budokai (2002) and its sequel, there has always been that one crucial missing element. Instead of reading the manga for the 15th time or re-watching the anime, I was itching to live through the story I grew up with myself. While there have been games that include a story-mode in which you can follow the main events, there has never been an open-world RPG like Kakarot. Despite being named after Goku (whose Saiyan name is Kakarot), he is thankfully not the only playable character. So far, I’ve unlocked Piccolo, Gohan, and Vegeta. Secondary characters, such as Krillin, can also at times be added to your party to help you during fights.

The fighting controls are fairly easy and intuitive, which is a welcome relief after trying (and failing) to figure out how to fight properly in Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi 3 (2007). I admit, that was a worry before buying the game, but I’m glad to report there is nothing to fear. Of course, that makes it all the more devastating that Kakarot, while providing a brilliant story-mode, doesn’t include the world tournament or multiplayer mode many of its predecessors thrived on. I guess bestowing the power to destroy all of my enem- I mean, friends, on me was more than the creators could stomach.

Image courtesy of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot press kit via IGDB

The game is split into four main storylines: the Saiyan Saga, where Earth is threatened by Raditz and later Nappa and Vegeta; the Namek Saga, where our heroes go to the planet Namek to collect the Dragon Balls; the Android Saga, introducing the androids and Cell; and the Buu Saga, with, well, Buu, in his various incarnations. Now, I’m aware that none of this means anything to people who are not familiar with the franchise. As someone who has been waiting for well over a decade for a game such as this, you must excuse my excitement.

I’ve just started the Namek Saga after 20+ hours of gameplay, which means I am maybe about a fifth of the way through. The game is huge and ridiculously addicting – you’ll want to just keep exploring, fighting and levelling up. As someone who is very familiar with the story, it is a delight to relive all of the iconic moments, which are made into cutscenes so you can fully appreciate them. Those who are familiar with the events of Dragon Ball (detailing Goku’s childhood) will appreciate that a couple of the more known side characters make an appearance, too. All the same, I do think that the game could also be a tonne of fun for newbies to the franchise – you don’t need to know anything about the characters, as you will slowly unravel everything.

As I am still relatively early in the game, there are features I have not unlocked or discovered yet (such as driving around in hover cars, apparently). One of the gameplay features you’re taught at the very beginning is fishing! Who doesn’t love a calming fishing session? (Looking at you, fellow Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley fans.) Fishing is fairly important as it gives you meat that you can use to make meals to regain health and energy. Similarly, you can gather other ingredients such as eggs, vegetables and fruits, as well as hunt deer and the like (thankfully without gruesome moments of them being slain – there is literally just a little poof and then you have some meat in your pockets).

There’s two ways to eat the food you’ve gathered. Either the manly-man way of roasting an entire gigantic fish on a stick, or you can have Chi-Chi (Goku’s wife and Gohan’s mother), as well as any random female NPC, fix you up a meal. While those meals certainly look mouth-watering (think Studio Ghibli), I am disgusted at how it reduces Chi-Chi – whom Goku, the greatest warrior in the galaxy, would not dare cross – to a complacent wife/mother whose entire purpose it is to cook meals for you, the male fighter. Now, Chi-Chi may, unfortunately, not have had a lot of character to start with, but they could at least have tried to not be quite as blatant in their sexism. She barely puts up a fuss at Gohan (who, at this point, is, like, 6? But that’s a whole other can of worms) leaving planet Earth to go to Namek. Manga Chi-Chi would never.

The game may not be quite everything I would want, but, as my main wish was to have an open-world RPG set in the world of Dragon Ball, I am very happy with it. After all, what more could I want than a game welcoming me home with a cinematic opening recalling the anime, including the iconic titular song, transporting me 15 years into the past?


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