The Dragon Ball series by Akira Toriyama has had a huge resurgence in the last five years with a new hit series Dragon Ball Super and the critically acclaimed Broly Movie.
Debuting in 1984, Dragon Ball is the epic story of Goku and the Z warriors as they protect Earth from powerful villains throughout the universe.
Fans have had their fair share of Dragon Ball Z games over the years, from the iconic Budokai series to the phenomenal FighterZ which came out just last year. But the latest venture into the lore takes a step back from the beat em up genre.
Publisher Bandai Namco have once again teamed up with CyberConnect2 after having success with previous anime series such as Naruto, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure and “.hack”.
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is an action RPG with a big emphasis on role-playing. Players will explore the world of Dragon Ball Z, playing through a large portion of Goku’s life taken directly from the source material. Fans will also be happy to hear creator Akira Toriyama says the game will tell stories not found in the original manga.
The title Dragon Ball: Kakarot would suggest that this outing would only allow you to play as Goku (who is also known as Kakarot) but that is not the case. Fan favorites such as Gohan, Vegeta and Piccolo return as playable characters to relive their iconic moments from the series as well.
Bandai Namco hosted an exclusive event in London to preview the game ahead of its launch in January 2020 and invited the Mirror to try it out for ourselves.
Dragon Ball: Kakarot mixes classic RPG elements with fighting game mechanics. Players can explore locations previously seen in the TV show and comics but Kakarot isn’t exactly an open world game. It does have open areas but it isn’t part of one large sandbox. New areas are unlocked as the story progresses.
DBZ: Kakarot relies heavily on staples from other RPGs, including levelling up, exploration, NPCs to talk to, side quests to take on, items to use, different moves to equip and more.
Players and fans will appreciate the amount of detail that has gone into recreating some of the series most recognisable locales. The World Map will allow players to travel in numerous ways to iconic locations from the show such as the Kame house. Familiar faces such as Android 8 return as NPCs for side quests and this is just a small sample to what to expect from the full game.
One of the first things you are taught in the game is fishing. Goku wears a fake tail and uses it to catch huge fish. In addition to this players can fly around collecting Z-Orbs, a form of currency; he can hunt deer to collect meat, which can be eaten to give him a boost to his melee attack stat and he even can mine ores.
DBZ: Kakarot keeps true to the original show by including loads of techniques that helps keep game play fun. Characters will have the ability to sense energy levels on the world map in order to pinpoint areas of interest, with NPC characters having small blue auras, and bigger enemies, like early antagonist Raditz, having massive red auras. Using these abilities can lead players to discover other hidden easter eggs throughout the game.
A lot of fans would say Dragon Ball’s main attraction is its fighting set pieces and DBZ: Kakarot does a great job shifting from exploration to battle. When walking or flying around the world as one of the characters, it controls like a typical third-person game but as fights commence the perspective shifts to a 3D fighting game.
The fight system is reminiscent of CyberConnect2’s Naruto Storm series. There is a button for melee attacks, one for ki attacks, one to charge your meter, dodging, super dash and guard. Players can also assign up to four signature moves like the Kamehameha, or Special Beam Cannon.
As players progress through the game other characters will be added to your roster so you don’t have to fight alone. Players can also assign special moves to these support characters which adds an extra layer of customisation.
DBZ: Kakarot also introduces a few other features to help with learning new skills and upgrading stats. The Skill tree system will allow players to learn new skills by spending Z-Orbs, which are found in the fields or obtained by defeating enemies.
There are six different types of Z-Orbs to collect, skills will require different amounts. Soul Emblems can be earned by completing the story and side quests. Placing Soul Emblems on the community board will grant players different upgrades, and certain combinations can be used to get special power-ups.
Based on what the Daily Mirror saw at the event, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is set to be a fun action RPG for fans of the original series that stays true to elements of its story and pays homage to its most memorable moments. The amount of fighting and exploration on offer will let players revisit what makes the show so great and feel as if they were in an episode themselves.
Dragonball Z: Kakarot is coming out on January 17 2020 on PS4, Xbox One and PC