BY DEAN MOSES
Game: Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot Price: $59.99
Rating: T for Teen
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Dragon Ball Z is an anime that has received an abundance of video game iterations over the decades. The show’s focus on flashy, high-powered combat has always made it the perfect candidate for fighting games, whether that be on the Super Nintendo or PlayStation 1 or 2, the series has had a long lineage. I, myself, have enjoyed my experience with these games since childhood, however, one on one fighters exploring the same, tired narrative can and did grow weary overtime. Thankfully, developers CyberConnect2 and BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment have done away with the limited fighting and replaced it with an open world, action role playing experience in the form of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot.
All the Sagas
Dragon Ball Z is a long-running television show in which all major storylines are split up into sagas. Incredibly, all the sagas have been adapted here, from the arrival of Raditz to the explosive fight against Majin Buu. If this all sounds like gibberish to you, don’t worry, here is a simplified explanation of the Z Universe. Central protagonist Goku is a powerful alien sent to earth as a baby to conquer us all. Instead of destroying every living creature, Goku became our world’s protector from evil forces, extra-terrestrial and otherwise. Goku is a Saiyan, a being with over-whelming power, allowing him to fly, process super strength, shoot energy blasts from his hands, and even transform into more powerful versions of himself known as Super Saiyans. We take control of Goku and friends as they battle to protect earth.
Come Fly with Me
The first thing players will likely notice are the controls, especially when free roaming around the open world. In comparison to re-cent games such as Spider-Man, controlling Goku feels a little stiff and unresponsive. Likewise, the transition between landing on the ground and soaring into the air could flow a great deal easier. This rigid control layout will take some time for players to become accustomed, yet this minor setback doesn’t diminish the overall experience. Playing as Goku, Piccolo, Gohan, Vegeta, and many more recognizable faces as they skyrocket around familiar locals from the anime is a wonderful feeling. This is not a dead, drab world, either. There’s plenty to see and do. We can hunt deer, find secrets that call back to classic episodes of the show, talk to well-known characters, collect orbs that increase a given hero’s power, and battle enemies in order to level up. There are also side missions to partake in and even activities such fishing spots and races to join.
Fans of the series will find themselves smiling at all of the little details, references, and obscure faces that pop up. With all the focus on these elements, the battles themselves suffer some-what… depending on your point of view. In previous titles gamers were required to input complicated button combinations if they wanted to pull off special moves in the style of Street Fighter and Tekken. Things have been made much easier to digest now though with each move being mapped to a single button, and special moves being performed by simply holding the trigger followed by one press of the game pad.
Choose your language
If you are like me, then you enjoy watching anime in its native language, thankfully Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot allows players to relive the show with either the American or Japanese voice actors. The game’s sounds are not the only aesthetically pleasing aspects. Colors shine from the screen with an unpresented amount of clarity. Character models are jaw-droopingly gorgeous, thanks in most part to its cell-shaded charm. This is truly Dragon Ball Z in 3D.
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot has a few missteps in terms of controls and some repetitive missions. However, fans of the iconic series will relish exploring its lush open worlds.