Among the giants of the Anime world, Dragon Ball Z has a special place among the fans. Created by Akira Toriyama about 35 years back as a part of one of the most successful manga series worldwide; Dragon Ball manga series. With its presence in every single type of media, video games are no exception. While every Dragon Ball video game was expected to be the next best fighting game amidst the likes of Mortal Kombat and Killer Instinct, Dragon Ball games carved a niche for themselves among the fighting genre. With the fighting mechanics and the game genre side-stepping into other realms, the Dragon Ball games have always been the unconventional cousin of western fighting games. Over the last few years, the style and approach of Dragon ball games have significantly changed which was very evident in Arc System Works’ Dragon Ball FighterZ.
The gameplay mechanics and how they tie into the storyline without drowning in too many fan service moments seems to have taken some significance in the recent few games Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot follows suit and delivers an incredible Action-RPG by playing only necessary cut scenes and letting us play the larger moments. While there are many flaws to this game, the simplicity of combat and the game’s faithfulness to the original series makes the game feel amazing as we play the star characters such as Goku, Vegeta and Gohan.
As a single-player-only game, CyberConnect 2’s simple but efficient flashy fighting mechanics are on point for this game. Unlike FighterZ’s complex combos, there is only one single button for melee and one for ki attacks. Dodge, fly and rush are also vital and all one has to do is remember the basic button combinations to dole out combos as any playable character has editable combo buttons. But beware it’s no simple feat to fight, it is all about Ki management and dodge timing. The bosses are no slouches and require perfect timing to fight against. Each boss has their own special move that you have to dodge and block against. Charging your ki and finding that sweet spot to Kamehameha the opponent is vital to winning matches.
While winning matches is necessary to progress in the game, it is not always necessary to “level up”. Ridiculous amounts of Experience Points are awarded to the player after every match to reach a certain level. Though you level up after every fight, you would be able to gain a certain super move only by training or collecting the “Orbs” sprinkled all over the map.
The game sports various RPG systems that are accessible through the community board feature where the player can use Soul Emblems to add perks to their character. Player receives Soul emblems for finishing certain side quests in addition to the ones received from the main story. These Soul emblems can later be applied to Various Community boards to add perks to your character. While these provide a depth of options to level up your character, certain features like Cooking, Development seem very out of place for the game’s structure.
Side quests are almost always fetch or fight quests that are bland and don’t add much value to the main story. The game’s namely attraction i.e. collecting Dragon balls is boring and is definitely not worth the effort. Making Shenron and Porunga appear feels great, but the consequences of the wishes seem like they took a chunk out of the wish for wishing them.
The 4 story arcs – Saiyan, Freiza, Cell and Buu – are very concise and rarely fall out of pace, with all the extra fluff cut out. The fights make you feel powerful as the build-up and cutscene placement are spot on. Not all spectacular moments are designed frame-to-frame as the series, but they are crafted in such a way they that is very much nostalgic and enjoyable.
While there are technical issues like the weird camera angles, driving mechanics and unnecessary RPG features plague Dragon Ball Z Kakarot, the game is great when it hits and falls very short when it misses.
Scoring 8 out of 10, this game is your best shot at experiencing the Z saga with maximum style.