Dragon Ball Z is arguably one of the most celebrated anime and manga of all time, with its sphere of influence affecting almost all known modern shonen. The increasing popularity of the franchise has spawned a wave of different adaptations, including novels, one live-action film (that we shall not speak of), toys, and spin-offs (some of which we will not speak of as well). That said, Dragon Ball Z has seen a lot of success on the video game market, spawning dozens of games directly adapting the show, or loosely being inspired by its events. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, the latest effort from Bandai Namco and CyberConnect2, is perhaps the most faithful video game adaptation of the series to date - one that rises and occasionally stumbles based on these merits too.
Kakarot adapts the entirety of the Dragon Ball Z story - "entirety" not being an exaggeration either. Almost every single event, down to the smallest details and even minuscule filler, have been lovingly recreated in the game. Ditching its traditional fighting game model in favour of a heavy emphasis on RPG elements, Kakarot breathes new life into the gaming franchise. By adopting a bevy of ideas from previously established RPG titles like Persona 5 and Final Fantasy XV, Kakarot strips those more complex elements down to their bare minimum - which actually works to great effect. It makes for an easily accessible RPG that can be enjoyed by a wide audience without necessarily resorting to overly complex mechanics, more or less.
Every big story beat and battle is present; in some cases, Kakarot even goes above and beyond...
There's fishing, collecting Z Orbs to upgrade your skills, gathering resources and materials, and even a driving mini-game.
...it feels like a worthy refinement of the fighting mechanics that the third-person controls have been lacking since Budokai Tenkaichi 3.
Writer. Enthusiast of all things geek. Legend has it he completed Final Fantasy VII without a memory card.
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CyberConnect2, Bandai Namco Entertainment
Bandai Namco Entertainment
29 January 2020
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