Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot: A New Power Awakens Part 1 Review – Not Quite Battle of the Gods

    Title: Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot: A New Power Awakens: Part 1
    Developer: CyberConnect2
    Release Date: April 28, 2020
    Reviewed On: PS4
    Publisher: Bandai Namco
    Genre: Arena Fighter

It is a fantastic time to be a fan of Dragon Ball. Not only have we been receiving consistent content from the anime and manga offerings for the past five or so years, but we’ve also got some fantastic video games based on the series.

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot was the first open-world RPG in the series, taking players through the entire Dragon Ball Z story. Sure it had a few issues that crept up, but I still loved the experience. Though I completed the game back in January, I’ve been anxiously awaiting Kakarot’s DLC, and now that wait is over with A New Power Awakens: Part 1.

A New Power Awakens: Part 1 brings with it a new area, new training missions, new items, a few new sub-stories, and a new transformation for Goku and Vegeta. If this sounds like a lot, don’t be fooled, it really isn’t.

Let’s get this right out of the way: this really isn’t a story DLC. The folks at Bandai Namco have been quite forward about this, warning that the DLC is more akin to a few of the main game’s sub-stories than a whole saga. Those looking for a sizeable new story expansion to Kakarot will have to wait until later this year when an original story episode is released.

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A New Power Awakens: Part 1 is basically an abridged version of the Battle of Gods movie/arc from the anime. It sees Goku and Vegeta being teleported to a mysterious new planet by Whis, the angel attendant of Beerus, the god of destruction. Whis informs the duo that he sensed they wanted to become stronger and offers to train them in hopes that they may become powerful enough to train with Beerus.

Though I would’ve preferred a full Battle of the Gods story episode, the way that the story is abridged for Kakarot is fine. Whis even acknowledges that the events of the DLC aren’t really happening the way they are supposed to, which was a subtle nod to fans. Hopefully, the developers are saving a full Battle of Gods story episode for a future Dragon Ball Super themed Kakarot sequel.

Though the DLC doesn’t really have any top quality cutscenes to go along with it, the developers added some amazing animations to go along with Goku and Vegeta’s Super Saiyan God transformations. These animations looked amazing and were really the highlight of the extra content.

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The entirety of the DLC can be complete in around two to three hours and even less if your Goku and Vegeta are at a high level. It seems this has been designed so that players can access it whenever they want, even at the very beginning of the game. This means that a few of the training missions available to you will be at an incredibly low level; I’m talking level 5 kind of low. When I began, both Goku and Vegeta were around level 100, which, as you could have guessed, allowed me to blast my way through everything.

The DLC is not only set up in a way that allows players to access it from the begging of the game, its almost designed with this in mind. Whis brings two new training modes to the game: Super Level-Up Training and Limit Break Training. Super Level-Up Training presents a group of battles that reward new “Sacred Water” items upon completion.

Each battle features several challenges that reward extra Sacred Waters if completed. The Sacred Water items basically work like the “Rare Candy” item from the Pokémon series, rewarding lump sums of experience points upon use. Playing these levels and pumping your characters full of Sacred Water is basically an easy way to level up.

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The Limit Break Training battles, on the other hand, will be of more interest to players. Completing this mode with Goku and Vegeta unlocks the “Super Saiyan God” transformation for each character. Though, similarly to the Super Level-Up battles, the majority of the Limit Break battles will be incredibly easy for players that have finished the main game.

Only the final battle against Beerus, which unlocks the Super Saiyan God transformation, will prove to be a challenge. This is, of course, unless you begin to access this DLC from the second you start playing the game.

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After completing all of the Limit Break battles for Goku and Vegeta, players will have finished the “main quest” of A New Power Awakens: Part 1. The real challenge in the DLC, however, is beating a level 250 Beerus boss that becomes available the second players start the expansion.

The only way to really stand a chance against Beerus is to grind your way up to level 250 by playing the Super Level-Up battles over and over again and pumping Goku or Vegeta full of the Scared Water items you earn. The enjoyment you get out of this really depends on if you enjoy grinding in video games. While I can get behind grinding occasionally, the amount of grinding in this DLC felt unnecessary.

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Sadly, most of the time players will be spending with A New Power Awakens: Part 1 will likely be spent grinding senseless battles to get to the main event against Beerus. However, the fight and how the game presents it isn’t interesting enough to warrant going back to the game for. Unless you are really clamoring for more Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot content, it might be best to wait until the second part of the DLC is out for a complete experience.

Score:
/10
Review copy purchased by outlet or reviewer

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Jake Yoder

Lover of all things gaming, anime, film and theatre. Shonen anime/manga enthusiast.