Bandai Namco has had a few announcements coming out of Tokyo Game Show 2019, among them being an official release date for Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot. We now know that the company will be releasing the action RPG title on January 17th, 2020 of PC, Ps4, and Xbox One. We also now know that the Buu story arc will be included as one of the many storylines you will be exploring. Ever since the game was announced and showed off bits and pieces during E3, we kind of assumed everything DBZ was on the table. With the inclusion of the Buu story, it’s pretty much a given that the company will be adding all the DBZ stories.
Dragon Ball Z has been in a good place since last year’s excellent Dragon Ball FighterZ, and Bandai Namco is trying to keep the streak alive with Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot. This isn’t a straight up fighter: Kakarot breaks out of the fighting game genre and lets players explore the world, playing through a good chunk of Goku’s life (yes, again). It’s an action-RPG, which isn’t a first for Dragon Ball games, but few of them have made their way to PC, and so far Kakarot looks like a fun one.
This dramatic trailer teases Gohan’s arc in the Cell Saga and recreates key moments from the anime in Kakarot’s beautiful 3D style. You’ll be able to play as Gohan and seemingly train alongside Goku.
The 10-minute demo gives a good sense of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot’s scale and adventure-combat loop. Players are given lots of freedom to explore, with flying your primary means of travel (though you can also see Goku running at super speeds, too). Flying around just looks fantastic. When Goku’s not breaking the sound barrier with his boost, you can see the wind flatten his hair before it bounces back to spiky anime perfection. The flying reminds me of Anthem, but with personality.
Fighting looks more-or-less like a Dragon Ball Z game, but it’s cool that battles happen dynamically wherever you are in the world, instead of separately rendered locations.
What type of game is Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot?
Kakarot is an action-RPG, but also kind of a fighting game. When flying around the world as Goku, it controls like a typical third-person game. When a fight breaks out, perspective shifts to an over-the-shoulder fighting game. Outside combat, you can free roam locations to complete side quests, mine minerals with Ki blasts, and fish (more on that later).
What sets Kakarot apart from the countless DBZ fighting games is its emphasis on RPG progression. Gameplay is consistent with the anime story arc, meaning Goku doesn’t start out with his most powerful moves. Speaking to Kotaku at E3 2019, Kakarot director Hara Ryosuke explained the decision. “The idea is to immerse the player into what Goku is feeling in those different moments.” It’s a small thing, but it could be novel for Dragon Ball Z fans looking for something different—many past DBZ RPGs, like The Legacy of Goku, have been on handhelds.
Who’s developing Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot?
CyberConnect2 is heading up Kakarot, which is a pretty stellar fit. The studio has a long history making anime fighting games, particularly with the .hack games and the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja series. The Ultimate Ninja games are highly-accessible fighting game fun, so Kakarot will likely be no exception.
Kakarot follows the story from the Dragon Ball Z anime (mostly)
Yep, they’re doing the mainline Dragon Ball Z story again. There’s not that much DBZ material out there, so I guess it makes sense to go with what fans already know and enjoy the most. Though, CyberConnect 2 is taking creative license with the side quests. I hope you’re ready to beat up Raditz, gather some dragon balls, and bring your friends back to life.