I am Son Goku and I am a Super Saiyan!

Title: Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot
Platform: PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 (reviewed)
Developer: CyberConnect2
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Release date: Out now.
Tl;dr: Relive the tales of Goku and his friends throughout the stories of Dragon Ball Z in this open-world action RPG
Price: £50/$60
Family Focus?: Click here for more information

The Dragon Ball franchise is no stranger to video game adaptations, in fact, they’ve been making these games since 1986 for the NES or Famicom to our Japanese friends and as of July 2016, they’ve sold 41,570,000 units which is crazy for video games based off an anime/manga series. The Dragon Ball series was a huge part of my childhood and Goku has always been a personal hero of mine and a huge influence on my personality so getting a game with a heavy focus on Goku is amazing, but did it live up to my standards? Let’s find out!

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is an open-world action RPG that follows Goku and his friends from the Saiyan saga up to the final showdown with Kid Buu in the Majin Buu saga. However, it’s not just the same old retelling of the Dragon Ball Z story as there are various side quests that take you to familiar locations with familiar faces as you see a little more into Goku’s life and interact with friends that he hasn’t seen since he was a child in Dragon Ball. It’s not canon to the story, however, even though Akira Toriyama is at the helm but it gives the story a little refreshing take instead of battling your way through the same old villains again, one fight after another.

The open-world aspect is great. I find myself aimlessly flying around collecting Z-orbs or getting into random encounters with robots, Saibamen and Frieza force soldiers. It feels great to soar through the sky at speed with Goku or chill-out whilst riding Nimbus – the magical yellow cloud. The combat is incredible as it’s much like a 3D fighting game with the commands being mapped to L1 and one of the face buttons but the battles against fierce opponents actually feel like a hurdle our heroes must overcome rather than just spamming them to death in most fighting games.

Like most open-world adventures you can farm materials such as crystals, meat, and fruit and vegetables to aid you in your quest, with the food giving you temporary stat boosts when cooked into a delicious meal at different cooks or you can go back to Chi-Chi and she’ll cook a massive three-course meal… well, a hundred plates worth with Goku’s bottomless stomach. Crystals, minerals and machine parts are for creating and upgrading your vehicles which you use in races and time trials that are scattered around various parts of the world.

Graphically, the looks of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is incredibly faithful to the anime which should be expected as CyberConnect2 developed the game, and they also created the Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm series which achieved similar results on the last generation PlayStation 3. The graphics shine the most in cutscenes however as you can feel every emotion the characters are going through with scenes like Goku turning Super Saiyan for the first time or Gohan wowing everyone with his incredible power-up after Cell provoked him into Super Saiyan 2. Basically, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot looks incredible and I love it!

Audio design is amazing too, with the sound effects coming straight out of the anime and the soundtrack having some callbacks to the original Japanese score which fits perfectly, I mean, I love the nostalgia of the Bruce Falconer score from the dubbed version but the Japanese score just feels right! I think this game preys on your nostalgia of the series as there are so many cool easter eggs and moments that make yearn to go back to the days of watching the episodes on Toonami or CNX back in the day.

I’ve sung Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot’s praises through this review so let’s highlight the few negatives I’ve found during my adventures with Goku. The game has crashed on me a few times in my 45 hours with the game but not just straight up freezing and booting back to the XMB but the game locks the controls after using some menus, leaving you no choice but to close the application and restart the game. Load times can be cumbersome when hopping between maps but Bandai Namco has already confirmed an upcoming patch to reduce the load times.

So there we have it! Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is a super fun game which is aimed at the fans of the series, however, that doesn’t mean newcomers can’t enjoy the solid combat and open-world exploration that the game has to offer and if you’ve never witnessed the story of Dragon Ball Z then this is a fresh experience for you.

The Good

  • Expands on the lore of Dragon Ball.
  • Looks insanely like the anime with certain moments being captured perfectly.
  • Combat is tight and enjoyable as well as the open-world experience both of which make you feel like Goku!

The Bad

  • Some performance issues.
  • Load times can feel tedious. (These have now been adjusted.)

Family Focus

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is rated PEGI 12 and T for Teen by the ESRB. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot contains cartoon violence, as well as various, swear words and suggestive themes.

This review is based on a code provided by PR for the purposes of this review.