There have been quite a few Dragon Ball Z games made over the years, and not all of them have been good. This year brings a lot of new games to the table but one of the ones I have been looking forward to the most is Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot. Good first impressions make or break a game’s longevity and success - here are my thoughts in my first few hours with Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot.
Like any of the television episodes, we start our game with the iconic opening theme for Dragon Ball Z and then we go right into the action. You will learn some of the mechanics right away in a spar against Piccolo, and the rest follows suit as you begin your journey through Goku’s life. The type of Dragon Ball game I have been wishing to play for a long time has finally come. A role-playing game centered on the Dragon Ball universe, where you can learn new attacks, power them up, and even get extra boosts from your community.
There are some keys to this game that you will learn early on, like how combat is, how to use your community to increase your stats, your skill tree, and more. Some important pieces of the game are all around you as you journey through the world, like the orbs that help you to level up your super attacks. Yes, I said world. Finally we have the most open-world gameplay to date. There is a map that allows you to select the areas on the planets where you would like to travel to, but then you are placed onto a very large open area, kind of like Star Wars The Old Republic maps in. So far, I have played into the time where Gohan is training with Piccolo for the fight with the Saiyans.
It is a cool feeling to just free run - or fly - around the map collecting ingredients for cooking, orbs to help you level up, and all manner of side quests, for example helping Nam to sell some stones to feed his village, or helping Eighter fight some Red Ribbon Army robots. There is also a mini-game that allows you to fish with your Saiyan tail to collect fish ingredients for cooking.
Orbs come in several different colors and you will need to collect a lot of them to help level up your characters skill trees. These orbs are sorted by areas where the green ones are found around forests, blue ones around water, and so on. These Z-Orbs are also earned after winning a battle as well. These will not help to increase your character stats, but they will help you increase the level of your super attacks. Locating these is as simple as going into your character menu and opening up the tree of your choice.
Learning to dodge and counter will be a must for you early on in the game, and still further into the game with boss fights. As opposed to other Dragon Ball titles, this one is not specific to just fighting, as it gives you the opportunity to go through the whole story of the franchise from the Saiyan Saga to the Buu Saga. Fighting feels a little bit easier with the button setups that are available. Super attacks that are locked can be learned by finding training areas around the map, generally marked by a blue glowing mark on the ground. Certain characters have access to these locations while some do not. It is just a matter of finding them.
Being able to choose different characters to be in your party, in the game world, is now a thing. In other games you can pick a party but only use them in normal fights, but in Kakarot you can actually walk around and fly around with your party members. You can also play as more than just Goku. So far I have taken control of Goku, Piccolo, and Gohan, and I have enjoyed every minute of it. Each character has their level and skills to learn, so when you take them for a spin don’t shirk away from the random encounter fights. While most of these random encounters are basic, some are harder to compete against, like the Red Ribbon Army leftover robots because they were a group of four to six against one.
This game just has so many things to do that it will make your head spin, and I have only just scratched the surface of the game with my four hours of play time. The game is said to expand the Dragon Ball lore as well as taking you through the Buu saga. This is the culmination of the entire Dragon Ball Z saga before Dragon Ball Super. I will say this in closing, I have been anxiously awaiting this game from the moment I saw the first trailer, and it has not disappointed me so far.