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access_time April 29, 2020 at 2:05 PM in Reviews by David Poole

Review | Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot – A New Power Awakens Part 1

As Dragon Ball Z holds a special place in the hearts of many fans, series creator, Akira Toriyama, found a way to continue his vision with the series, coming many years later. After two films, Dragon Ball Super was formed, bringing the series back with new stories to tell. Bandai Namco and CyberConnect2’s Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot told the original story, but fans found themselves wanting more. We had a great time with the game three months ago, and we were curious to see where the developers would take it next. Now it seems that the game is giving it’s own take on the Dragon Ball Z movie plot, though not quite in the way fans would expect. With A New Power Awakens, fans can now see the “Battle of Gods” take place in the game.

As mentioned before, this DLC takes a slightly different approach to this story, offering an original take. Players will be able to begin the A New Power Awakens even without even finishing the main story, which is a nice change. Upon starting, Goku and Vegeta wake up in unfamiliar territory. They hear the voice of an Angel, specifically Whis, as he tells them he intends to train them to their full potential. This take on the story skips all the build up with Beerus seeking a Super Saiyan God, which sours the presentation a bit. Funnily enough, Whis even comments on it, saying that they’re “cheating,” and that this was not the way the events were supposed to unfold. It’s a fun little jab given the context, but it’s unfortunate that the game takes a simplified route.

The bulk of this DLC is training with Whis, who offers sparring sessions to help level up Goku or Vegeta. Upon completing these sessions, players will earn sacred water, an item that provide experience to boost levels. There are different tiers of this item, which provides more experience at higher tiers. Oddly enough, these tiers also have level caps, meaning lower tiers can’t apply to players that have reached a certain level. It just feels like a weird decision when clearly, this DLC’s main goal is to level you up to the 250 cap. Of course, that doesn’t mean you won’t battle Beerus before reaching that level. After a single training session, Beerus immediately wants to fight, testing your potential.

This is where things get a little off track. Depending on the level the player is when they start, fights will offer an inconsistent experience at first. For example, I started the DLC at level 109, but my first sparring match was against a level 5 Whis. I channeled my inner One Punch Man, and defeated him in a single punch. The following battle with Beerus wasn’t too different, as I easily defeated him. This is clearly to make the DLC accessible, no matter what level you start it at. Unfortunately, this means those that finished the story and did all the sidequests will have to endure a series of easy fights until they unlock a worthwhile fight. Once you do though, you’re in for some intense action.

Whis will teach players how to achieve transformations, starting with Kaioken, and working players up to Super Saiyan God gradually. While it makes sense again for those jumping right in at a low level, it does give high level players a more humorous approach. This becomes clear the moment Whis “teaches” Goku the Kaioken technique, only for Goku to say he already knows it. No matter how you tackle the training, eventually, you’ll reach a new transformation. Once you achieve the level of a Super Saiyan God, Beerus wishes to test your new form. This results in an epic battle that definitely tests your skills in a gorgeous display of energy. With that in mind, it’s still not an impossible challenge.

Defeating Beerus as a Super Saiyan God is only testing the waters, as Beerus believes you can become stronger. His goal is to have Goku and Vegeta reach the level cap, coming at him with everything they’ve got in a one-on-one fight. This is where the true challenge lies, and honestly, it took everything I had to take down Beerus. That isn’t to say that there aren’t a couple other fun missions here. There’s even a special quest from the Oracle Fish specifically for Vegeta. It’s a fun mission that lets out some of Vegeta’s character more, and that’s always appreciated. No matter how you look at it, it’s clear the point of this DLC was to get Goku and Vegeta to be stronger. For what exactly, remains to be seen, but there are two more DLC episodes to come.

As far as the rest of the content, it’s interesting how the team built Beerus’s planet. You can explore during A New Power Awakens just like any other part of the story, but it’s pretty barren. It has the right look, but not much to actually do in this new area. There are Z-orbs to collect, and a few collectible items, but that’s pretty much it. With only Beerus, Whis and the Oracle Fish living there, there’s no hunting, and no resources to collect. Even the Supreme Kai’s world had more things to do. At least you’ll earn a couple of Soul Emblems for your efforts in the story, but not much else. On the plus side, there’s some new music to play around with in the field. Also, while this world is a nice addition, it seems some familiar bugs continue to show their ugly heads.

Part 1 of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot’s A New Power Awakens isn’t the story expansion that fans were expecting. Despite this, the clear goal of powering up our heroes seems to hint at a much bigger challenge. Perhaps we’ll end up fighting Gold Frieza, or maybe even Broly. We won’t know much until later, but hopefully the developers find a way to make the next DLC more eventful. For now, we have a somewhat shallow story that feels like it’s just an excuse to gain experience.

Final Score: 6.5 out of 10

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