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access_time January 16, 2020 at 7:41 AM in Previews by David Poole

Review in Progress | Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot

I’ve been hard at work on reviewing Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, and though I’ve experienced a good amount, I’m not yet ready to deliver my final review. We will hopefully have the game and review finished this weekend. For now, here are some thoughts about the game so far.

I’m really enjoying my time with Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot. It’s just a lot of fun to see the Dragon Ball world come to life in such a flourishing display. While there have been other games with similar features in the past, Kakarot presents it in a much more gorgeous way. That being said, there are still some areas that can be improved. Graphically, the environments and characters look do look great. Unfortunately, the NPC’s that you’ll find around the world will look straight out of a PS2 game. It’s a bit disappointing given the reputation that CyberConnect2 has built, and one wonders if they’ll even make any changes to these models.

The combat gameplay will be familiar to anyone that played Dragon Ball Xenoverse or its sequel. Players will navigate in a large 3D space and target multiple enemies at a time and take them down with melee, ki, and special attacks. Support characters will assist during select moments and will offer their own attacks and even Super Combos, an all out attack where everyone teams up against the opponent. Certain moments of the story battles showcase flashy animation, with multiple standouts like when Vegeta gets hit by the Spirit Bomb.

With the final game, we’re noticing a few changes from our preview builds. The emphasis on hunting seems to be entirely gone, only giving ingredients for food. In our previous preview, the game would have the player target specific animals in each area. It seems this feature may have been entirely removed. (UPDATE: The hunting targets have not been removed but are presented differently than in our preview). We’ve noticed that certain items and collectibles have also been rearranged a bit. The difficulty still seems to spike in certain moments too. Like our preview build, some fights were relatively easy while others can be a struggle.

While it’s great to see the world of Dragon Ball Z come to life, there are some moments we wish we could see fleshed out more. Despite being called Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, there are surprisingly a lot of moments of Goku that get glossed over. Goku’s run across Snake Way, his recovery after defeating Vegeta, and even his training on the way to Namek are entirely absent from the game. While it could be argued that those moments don’t offer much from a gameplay perspective, a cutscene or two would’ve been welcome for the presentation. Of course, these moments take the time to focus on other characters like Gohan or Piccolo. It’s not a bad thing, just an observation.

The Sub Story side quests are often pretty fun, and they offer some interesting details and insight for fans. Honestly, one of the best things about the game is something that may even go entirely overlooked. The game has the Z Encyclopedia, which offers a wealth of unlockable information for fans of the series. Relation charts, story summaries, collectible cards and more await inside this tome of Dragon Ball. It’s also worth looking inside, as players will unlock rewards for frequently taking a peek.

The game doesn’t have an “open world” per se, but instead breaks the game down into zones. Each one offers enemy encounters, bases to destroy, and tons of items to collect. I often find myself performing instant victories now by dashing through enemies and killing them in one blow. Saves time and is a great way to earn experience. Also, now that I’ve had time with the skill tree, using Z Orbs works in an interesting way. You’ll only be able to spend them on certain skill upgrades early on. Playing the game will unlock more nodes to claim, but it goes at a much slower pace than something like Devil May Cry. Regardless, it’s great to see a lot of attacks for each character, giving the combat more variety and depth.

I have many more things to say about Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, but as I’ve said before, I’m enjoying my time with it. It’s not a perfect experience, but so far, the good is heavily outweighing the bad. We’ll have the final review up soon, showcasing my final thoughts on the game. Until then, you can look forward to the game launching tonight at 9:00 PM PST. Are you excited for the game? Let us know in the comments below!

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