I love Dragon Ball Z games, they give you a way to experience epic moments from the Anime! I also love all the side stories that can be told through the use of gaming like the Dragon Ball Xenoverse games that give you a time travelers perspective on events. Unfortunately, most Dragon Ball Z games are fighters, and while they are a blast to play (mostly), nothing beats a good DBZ RPG! One of my favorite DBZ games has always been Legacy of Goku, despite its flaws it provided a great way to play through the early DBZ storyline. Legacy of Goku would receive 2 sequels that were even better in terms of gameplay but something about the early Saiyan arcs just get me all warm and fuzzy!
When Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot was first announced as a single player RPG experience I got very excited! After seeing the new trailer, revealing more info about the game, on Microsoft’s stage I was excited to see more. Could this finally be the game to surpass the Legacy of Goku for me? After a visit with Bandai Namco at E3 2019 I have come away even more excited than before. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot starts right where the DBZ Anime begins. Gohan has been kidnapped by Raditz and it is up to you to rescue him. This is exactly the fight my E3 demo covered. There is so much more to Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot however, there are side quests and interacting with numerous characters spread around each massive area. There is also the opportunity to fish or just hunt giant dinosaurs if your heart so desires! Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is not an open world game mind you but each of the games levels are massive giving you a ton to explore.
You can get around the world by either flying on your own or on Goku’s cloud pal Nimbus. There is also walking and running but when flight is available why on earth would you do that?! Probably to check out all the side quests and optional activities! During my time with the demo I did a quick fly-by of some of the world. While flying around the map I would occasionally be attacked by flying robots which engaged the games combat system. Combat felt great and executing attacks with a ki blast finisher was very satisfying. You can also execute special moves like the Kamehameha, but these moves are limited in use. Goku also has a dodging ability which is very useful for getting around attacks and continuing an assault on a target. If the tide of the fight turns against you there is also a block that can greatly reduce the amount of damage you receive!
During my demo time I got to fight around 4 sets of robots and 3 dinosaurs before I decided to finally take on Raditz. Raditz was in a truly different league than my lower powered Goku, just like in the anime. Since many of the past DBZ games have been fighters balance is a key aspect of the design. With Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot that balance is tossed out the window as Raditz blasted away my face! Using tons of dodging and blocks I was able to finally whittle away at Raditz’s health. For the first half of the fight I was battling alongside Piccolo. For the second half of the fight rest squarely on me as Piccolo charged his Special Beam Cannon attack. Raditz also introduced new attacks as the battle raged on and the sheer size of the fight was breathtaking! After defeating Raditz my demo came to a close.
Overall I found the demo to be a great foundation and it showed a lot of promise! While the fighting system might seem simple compared to the DBZ fighting games, but it felt good for an RPG. I think my deepest concern with Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot will lie in its pacing and I hope that the full game will knock it out of the park! Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot will be launching in Early 2020 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.