Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot Fleshes Out All That Fighting

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot Preview

Some things are as certain as the sunrise. Such as death, taxes, or another new Dragon Ball Z game. Bandai Namco Entertainment showed off Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot at this year’s E3, a massive 3D brawler that focuses on the story of Goku. The difference this time is that the game is also an action RPG.

Beyond the usual bevy of brawling, there are some legitimate RPG elements thrown in the mix. You can explore a series of sandbox stages, engage in sidequests, meet with the locals, and gain experience. That last one creates something of a weird conundrum. Overpowered opponents are a critical component of the DBZ story. So, if you grind levels for a while, does that invalidate said essential story element? Or do the tough bosses go from impossible to barely beatable? I didn’t have enough time to successfully stomp Raditz during the demo. As such, I was unable to answer this question. On the other hand, the presence of grinding might be good news, if you’re sufficiently in love with the combat.

Flying around the map is a pretty great addition to the usual DBZ formula, though the Nimbus cloud is oddly slow. You can move faster without it, in fact. The smattering of side activities seem like a fresh shift in the winds, though it’s more or less illusory. Whatever side quests or activities you engage in just end up being more fighting, or hunting for food, which is just fighting in disguise. Even the addition of levels and experience is just a new way to cram yet more battles into a narrative already stuffed with them. This only leaves the battles themselves.

Last Time On Dragon Ball Z…

After FighterZ, the regular style of Dragon Ball Z combat feels lacking. Yes this is the more thematically appropriate method of acting out these massive fights, but we’ve been here before so many times. The core combat mechanics have been slightly tweaked and shined up with every new version of the system, but the essential experience is more or less unchanged. Whether this works for you or not will play a major role in determining your excitement for Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot. As for myself, I’m less than optimistic. Unless Bandai Namco and CyberConnect2 aren’t showing their whole hand, I might have to give this one a pass when it comes out next year.