The tale of Goku and friends looks better than ever but is there anything else on offer?
One of the major releases to kick off 2020, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is developed by CyberConnect 2 and published by Bandai Namco. It’s a massive action RPG that promises the most definitive video game adaption of the series yet. Out on January 17th 2020 for Xbox One, PS4 and PC, here are 15 things to know before buying it.
Covers Major Story Arcs
The main appeal of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is the inclusion of all the major story arcs. It starts with the Saiyan Saga from battling Raditz to Nappa and Vegeta before heading off to Namek to deal with the Ginyu Force and Frieza. Players will also battle Cell and the Androids and eventually collide in the ultimate battle against Majin Buu.
Main and Support Characters
There’s a fairly strong roster of characters available to play as, which is to be expected. Goku, Gohan (including his Great Saiyaman avatar), Vegeta, Future Trunks, and Piccolo are all available for battle. You also have support characters like Krillin, Tien Shinhan, Chiaotzu and Yamcha who can be called in for special attacks like Krillin’s Destructo Disc or Tien’s Solar Flare.
During key gameplay moments though, other iconic characters will become available. Majin Vegeta will go up against Majin Buu while Super Saiyan Gotenks, Super Saiyan 3 Goku and Super Saiyan Vegito will each contend separately with Super Buu. Even Gohan in his Ultimate form will have a chance to fight Super Buu, though it doesn’t necessarily end very well for him.
Seeing Goku and friends flying through the various zones dotting Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot might make it seem like an open world game, but it’s actually divided into several different zones. Producer Hara Ryosuke and director Kimoto Kazuki told DualShockers in an interview that these areas are “very large” and “wide expansive” zones which open up as the story progresses. As for how to choose zones, simply fly all the way up – eventually you’ll zoom out and an overview of all the zones will be visible. Choose a zone to go to and you’ll descend accordingly.
If you’ve played or even seen the Dragon Ball Xenoverse games, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot’s combat is going to be very familiar. As a three-dimensional beat ’em up, which allows for both ground and air battles, players will have basic attacks, Ki blasts, the ability to charge Ki, assist moves, items and Transformations. Each character has their own unique moves and transforming will open up more options like Super Saiyan 3 Goku gaining the Super Kamehameha, EX Spirit Bomb and Dragon Hammer Strike moves.
Side Activities, Training and Eating
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Dragon Ball Z game without training. You’ll still complete side quests and activities for XP, visit different retailers, engage in mining and even go hunting. However, it’s training that will unlock special moves down the line. Eating is also important since you can temporarily boost stats with meals. Apparently, Chichi, Goku’s wife, offers the best stat bonuses with her meals though how often these will be available is unknown.
Along with XP, players will be earning Soul Emblems – these serve to boost your stats and provide different “effects”. Collecting them means completing different side missions. In essence, they sound like bonuses on top of the usual XP grind which is a nice incentive to go out of your way. However, you can also battle old foes for Soul Emblems, which is an entirely separate mechanic onto itself.
Collect Dragon Balls, Battle Old Villains
Again, since this is a Dragon Ball game, players can collect the Dragon Balls. How you’ll go about this – whether it’s by just exploring the world with a radar and playing games of “hot and cold” or through completing different missions – is still to be revealed. However, the Dragon Balls can be used to revive major villains. This allows for bonus battles with their own side stories – complete them and you’ll receive Soul Emblems and XP as rewards.
New Character Interactions
The Dragon Ball franchise as a whole has a large cast of characters, many of whom Goku didn’t interact with in the Dragon Ball Z arcs. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot will offer a chance to meet those pre-Saiyan Saga characters, some who have grown up and may offer different side stories and side quests. These could then reveal conversations between characters that have been unknown till now.
Along with new character interactions which can potentially open up different side stories, there will also be some new backstories that weren’t in the manga. These are being penned by creator Akira Toriyama himself so while potential retconning could be made, there’s also potential for some memorable new developments. We’ll have to see how that pans out and hope it doesn’t break continuity.
Dragon Ball Z has a lot of fighting but there are also some more light-hearted moments. Remember the anime filler episode about Goku and Piccolo learning to drive? That’s being included with players needing to unlock a driver’s license. This gives access to a car that can be driven across the various areas and which will could have its own minigames or missions. Another minigame is included based on teenage Gohan playing baseball and trying not to reveal his strength.
New Original Character
Along with new backstories and interactions, there will also be a brand new character named Bonyu designed by Toriyama. Formerly of the Ginyu Force, Bonyu will be available in a special training mission. Pre-ordering the game will unlock the mission early so it might be worth it to find out what her story is.
Switch Version Not Planned
If you were hoping for a Nintendo Switch version to play on the go, there’s some bad news. Bandai Namco has confirmed that Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is only planned for the Xbox One, PS4 and PC. This doesn’t complete rule out a Switch release for the future since it should be able to handle the visual fidelity (as seen with Dragon Ball FighterZ). Just don’t hold your breath in anticipation.
Xbox One X and PS4 Pro Support
There’s yet to be confirmation on whether the game will run at 4K resolution on PS4 Pro. Xbox One X players needn’t worry though – 4K support has been confirmed in the official Microsoft Store listing. Other visuals enhancements have yet to be detailed but it seems the sharpest console version could indeed be the Xbox One X.