Out tomorrow, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot isn’t your usual anime video game tie-in.
I’ve spent a number of hours in its world now, and I have to say that I’ve been pretty entertained. It’s not the prettiest game in the world outside of its beautifully realised characters, and while there are a lot of systems to get your head around, in terms of gameplay it’s pretty simple. But it has two things going for it: freedom, and combat that can’t help but put a smile on your face.
While Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot isn’t an open world game, it feels like one at times. The areas you visit are huge, and each have a wealth of activities for you to do. If you don’t want to plough straight through the main story, there are many sub-stories to seek out and complete. They range from simple fetch quests to engaging in combat, keeping the gameplay varied while also rewarding you with valuable experience and items when completed. And though some may not be enamoured with the prospect, there are countless orbs – useful for powering up your characters – and other items to be collected on both land and in the air.
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is an action RPG through and through. By engaging in quests and combat you gain experience for your party, and via levelling up your stats are increased. Your stats can also be raised, both temporarily and permanently, by eating meals. You’ve got to get the ingredients to facilitate those meals though. There are also new Super Attacks to acquire, skill trees to work your way through, and a Community Board system that allows you to collect the Soul Emblems of those you meet on your adventures and put them to strategic use to provide a wealth of bonuses. If you like developing characters into forces to be reckoned with, you’ll be in your element.
The combat is the highlight of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, though. It’s not all that different from combat you’ll have undoubtedly experienced in anime-based video games that have come before, but it’s fast-paced and fun. When out in the field, battles seamlessly ensue when you get within range of an enemy, so you rarely find yourself twiddling your thumbs. The only bugbear that some might have is that for the most part, combat seems too easy. You’ll breeze through the majority of combat encounters without even really trying, but then, given a false sense of security, might struggle with a major story fight. By making sure you’re not under-levelled and also entering fights prepared, however, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot shouldn’t really challenge anyone.
In my time spent with Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot up to now, I’ve been fishing, flown around a lot collecting orbs, completed every side-quest I’ve encountered, ate lots of meals, and engaged in some epic fights. Not everything about the game has impressed me – the environments are a bit bland, for example, moving your character around the field is a bit twitchy, and the voice acting isn’t all that great – but I’m itching to play more of it, and that speaks volumes. Ardent fans of the franchise may find story elements to moan about, but those who are looking for an engrossing game based on the much-loved anime are likely to be happy with Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot. I know I am. Look out for a full review early next week.