At this point, I feel like the Dragon Ball Z franchise needs little introduction. The adventures of Goku and his friends are often talked about amongst anime and manga fans alike. When it comes to the video games based on the franchise, the medium has focused heavily on the action of the series while delivering the character growth in a small capacity. However, Bandai Namco seems to want to provide a much-needed story-centric Dragon Ball adventure by revisiting some of the best arcs of the series.
What comes of these efforts is found in Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot. Developed by CyberConnect2, players will discover a brand new kind of adventure based in the Dragon Ball universe, and it just so happens to be one that we are eagerly looking forward to playing more.
During a press event, we were about to spend more than three hours playing Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot from the very beginning of the adventure, here’s what we learned.
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot seems to attempt to do something that none of the Dragon Ball Z games have done before, which is properly showing character growth. From the beginning of the game, we see how Goku and Gohan interact and express their love for each other. Goku is set on teaching Gohan ways to survive and explore. These scenes are charming and engaging as Goku and Gohan meet different characters and set the story up. This is around the time that Goku’s brother Raddick comes to Earth to take it over.
Something that should be mentioned is that these story scenes slow the gameplay down a bit. Players will need to invest themselves in the world as they take on side-quests and grow their power. When a primary mission is completed, the story will progress, but along the way, players can explore the open world, take on side quests, and speak with the other Z fighters. Much of the game’s traversal elements are automated, so you’ll collect items just by getting close to them, and special wind tunnels around the map take characters through areas quicker. During my time with the game, I didn’t have a problem with traversing speed as I made my way to points of interest.
One thing players will need to pay attention to is food that can benefit them in battles. Animals can be hunted and taken to a campfire to be cooked. Consumed dishes will add an increase to a character’s stats. This affects both the primary and supporting characters, which could make battles easier. Furthermore, items and other consumables can be purchased and sold, but they can also help during encounters.
During my time with the game, the only random encounters that I found were against “Skull Robo” fighters. They were not very challenging, but they do have the ability to surprise you sometimes when you encounter a high-level one. However, I’m not sure if there will be other enemies who randomly encounter you throughout the adventure.
An important system in Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is known as “Z Community.” This feature allows you to use the skills of other characters to benefit you in other aspects of the game. There are several communities that players will unlock, from cooking to getting better rates at a store.
Players have control over this by placing characters on specific boards to level up them up and acquire the bonus. The further players get in the story, the more Soul Emblems they’ll gain access too, which can be equipped to a community board of their choosing. The benefits that this feature unlocks will do a lot for late-game bonuses and stat increases. Using the mechanic to its fullest will surely pay off in terms of gameplay rewards.
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot presents some of the best moments of the Dragon Ball Z series. Players will watch how Gohan finds confidence within himself and how Goku comes back from the dead to save Earth from the Saiyan invasion, amongst other stories. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot ends up combining the story and character building that fans love with a fast action battle system.
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is shaping up to be an accessible adventure for all gamers who wish to exist in this universe that so many of us grew up with. What I’ll be looking out for in the later parts of the game is how varied the side-missions get, along with how each character grows across multiple levels, but as it stands, this is the Dragon Ball game that we’ve been waiting for.
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