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access_time June 16, 2021 at 6:00 AM in Reviews by David Poole

Review | Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot – Trunks – The Warrior of Hope

It’s been well over a year since the release of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, but it’s finally the end of the road. After continuing the story with A New Power Awakens Part 1 and Part 2, “Kakarot’s” part in the Z saga is finally done. Of course, to the surprise of many, CyberConnect2 went in a different direction, wanting to tie up one loose end of Z’s story. In order to do this, they would instead focus on a world without Goku, the titular character. This would mean telling the story of Future Trunks, giving one of the darker stories of Dragon Ball Z time to shine. Trunks – The Warrior of Hope marks the final DLC for Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, providing fans with a good send off for the Z saga.

Many fans of the Dragon Ball saga would be familiar with the History of Trunks storyline. As a TV special, the story acts as the origin for the warrior of the future that would go back in time to warn the Z fighters of the impending Android threat. In this timeline, Earth’s greatest defender Goku dies from a heart disease, preventing his revival from the Dragon Balls. Months later, Dr. Gero’s creations, Android 17 and 18, emerge and wreak havoc on the planet. The remaining Z fighters do their best to defend the Earth, but unfortunately all perish. All except for Gohan, who manages to survive for many years. With little hope left, he helps to train Trunks, the young son of Vegeta, in an attempt to one day vanquish the Androids.

This story creates a different world from the main timeline. One where death and destruction lie around every corner. Cities are now crumbling ruins and a third of the population is gone. The Androids kill for fun and have no remorse for their actions. For 13 years, Gohan and Trunks survive, lying in wait as they train in secret. Gohan becomes a Super Saiyan during this time, and his goal is to have Trunks reach the same transformation. This is where Trunks – The Warrior of Hope begins, as players will have a moment of calm before the storm. It’s one of the better Dragon Ball Z stories, and Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot tells it well. It even goes above and beyond to show a bit more of the aftermath, but we won’t spoil it here.

Unlike A New Power Awakens, Trunks – The Warrior of Hope doesn’t carry over any stats from the main game. You start out around level 30, which is far from the previous level 300 cap set in the game. It was kind of refreshing to start at a point where I wasn’t so powerful, that flying through enemies would instantly kill them. That being said, the difficulty for this DLC seems to be inconsistent with the story. With all the talk about how powerful the Androids are, they actually vary in difficulty. One mission will task you with getting their health down to 40% in a relatively easy fight. Another one will have them brutally beat you to a pulp.

These fights with the Androids aren’t too different than previous boss fights in the game, though their teamwork can be pretty ruthless. A new mechanic utilizes Red Ribbon Army drones to detect you and alert the Androids. If you don’t manage to destroy the drone in time, you might summon a fight with the Androids. This new feature is unique, but ultimately feels like a way to make the game more of a chore. There are three different kinds of drones, but the most important one is the master drone. Destroying this one destroys all the drones in an area, and even earns a machine part. I found myself destroying tons of these drones, only to not find the experience rewarding enough. It’s honestly just a big time waster.

One thing to note here is how the developers handle Gohan’s story in this DLC. Acting as the mentor for Trunks, he continues to deliver positive encouragement to him, even when times are tough; and things do get tough for Gohan. At one point, Gohan will lose his arm, though he doesn’t let that deter him. Of course, the inevitable comes for Gohan in an incredible display, using a rare moment to tell a story through gameplay. It’s a moment that’s easily the highlight of the story, and CyberConnect2 does it masterfully. Gohan’s voice actor, Kyle Hebert, also does well to sell the performance. It also happens to be the trigger that Trunks needs to finally turn into a Super Saiyan.

Moving on from that moment, Trunk continues to live his life, training to one day defeat the Androids. His mother Bulma is also building a time machine to hopefully help another timeline. Throughout the DLC, you’ll do various tasks like collecting materials and fighting lots of robots. Some of these quests even give good nods to the classic Dragon Ball series. During your exploits, you’ll discover a large amount of abilities for Trunks to learn. This includes Gohan’s Masenko technique, as well as several of Trunks’ own signature “Burning” attacks. And of course, he’ll also wield his trusty sword. While the battles don’t get quite as animated as previous ones, there’s still plenty of spectacle to behold from these attacks.

Gameplay won’t change from the traditional format of the open world action RPG. You’ll still fly around and encounter enemies, entering brief bouts with them until victory or death is reached. Gathering Z Orbs will help to further elevate your skills, and you’ll gather D Medals to unlock new technique training. Since this story takes place outside of the main story, you’ll start fresh with resources too. Of course, cooking and vehicle crafting are still part of the game, though the vehicles still have very little purpose.

Putting Trunks in the protagonist role feels very different from playing as Goku, as it should. Goku’s carefree lifestyle and lack of knowledge makes him a bit more of a confident goofball. Trunks on the other hand is less talkative, more cautious, and in many cases, naive. His reactions to certain events give a different flavor of the game, and it’s nice to get a different tone. Part of this is thanks to his voice. Alexis Tipton provides the voice for young Trunks, displaying his lack of confidence, as well as his reliance on Gohan. Of course, the fan favorite Eric Vale plays the older and more mature Trunks, becoming a more stoic hero in his experience.

Trunks will have to take on the Androids, but he’ll also have to close the loop by defeating Cell. He’ll even have an extra surprise along the way that doesn’t go quite the way people might expect. Either way, despite the darker tone, this is still a Dragon Ball story. There are still plenty of fun moments and nods for fans to see. You’ll interact with several classic characters that have survived the onslaught of the Androids. In the original TV special, these were characters that went overlooked, so it’s nice to see them here.

The story will take roughly ten hours to complete, especially if you do all six substories. It’s a much longer experience than the previous DLC, though destroying drones would definitely add to that time. Aside from the pacing and difficulty balancing, there are a few other problems to mention. First off, while the majority of the voices are performed admirably, there’s a few line deliveries that don’t work very well. Some of it may be partly due to the sound mixing, and it might also be due to editing too. Aside from the voice acting issues, there’s also an issue with performance. I ran into quite a few moments of temporary freezing, not only during gameplay, but also during cutscenes. It was pretty surprising considering that this wasn’t an issue with the main game.

Overall, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot – Trunks – The Warrior of Hope is a great send-off for the game. It tells a grim story with a light at the end of the tunnel, and respects the source material perfectly. It’s the longest DLC chapter for the game, and while it might not offer anything as exciting as hordes, the story makes up for it. This content shows that this is still the definitive way to experience the Dragon Ball Z saga while also enhancing it. Fans of the series and of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot are likely not going to be disappointed.

Final Score: 8 out of 10

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