For the longest time, Dragon Ball games were primarily RPGs, not fighters. It wasn’t until the Super Nintendo’s release that the series began transitioning away from RPGs in favor of Street Fighteresque combat. Come the current generation and Dragon Ball RPGs are all but extinct. Making Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot quite an interesting title.
An action RPG, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot marks the franchise’s first RPG since Attack of the Saiyans on the Nintendo DS. Bandai has kept surprisingly quiet on the game, revealing new information rather carefully, making Kakarot an incredibly difficult game to make heads or tails of. Thankfully not all hope is lost as juicy information on the game does exist.
10 Xenoverse Style Gameplay
Perhaps disappointingly, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot seems to be lifting its combat mostly from Xenoverse. While the familiarity might prove comforting for some fans, Xenoverse isn’t exactly known for its mechanical depth. It certainly doesn’t have enough to carry an action RPG, that’s for sure.
That said, Xenoverse gameplay isn’t bad, just a bit too simple for its own good. Ideally, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot would opt for more involved gameplay, but there is potential for Bandai to flesh out Xenoverse’s combat. In a best-case scenario, Kakarot might be able to redefine the combat well enough for Xenoverse 3 to excel when it inevitably releases.
9 Plenty Of Side Quests
Dragon Ball’s story is surprisingly on-rails, especially once hitting the DBZ era. This is not a series that stops to take its time (in the manga, that is.) Toriyama goes from beat to beat with a surprising amount of elegance. For an RPG, that would mean that a straight adaptation would have no room for side quests.
Thankfully that is not the case and it seems that Bandai is actually emphasizing side content. Which makes sense all things considered. Don’t be surprised if most of the game’s length is actually side content. Dragon Ball is long, but it’s long due to its fights, not its story beats.
8 It Won’t Be Open World
Or at least not “open world” in the way it’s become known in the current generation. Audiences will undoubtedly be able to explore Earth and Namek to their heart’s content, but everything seems to indicate that the game’s areas will be smaller and more contained. Think Ocarina of Time, not Breath of the Wild.
Some might find it disappointing, desiring to really take to the skies as Goku, but this isn’t a bad thing. Far from it. If anything, this will allow Dragon Ball’s many areas to better breathe without filler or fluff, a novelty to be sure for fans of the anime.
7 New Toriyama Approved Story Beats
Bandai has taken a very interesting approach with Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot’s marketing. Not only does their care with the game seem to imply that it’s a more refined title than many previous outings, but the fact that Akira Toriyama will at the very least be approving new story elements also gives Kakarot more legitimacy.
It’s not only fleshing out the world of Dragon Ball but its themes and arcs. That’s incredibly impressive for a video game adaptation. In an ideal world, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot might actually be good enough to usurp Dragon Ball Kai as the definitive DBZ adaptation. Of course, that requires putting a lot of faith in Bandai.
6 There’s A Party System
As a consequence of Bandai’s rather reserved approach to marketing, many fans erroneously believed that Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot would be a solo voyage. All initial gameplay footage showed Goku alone, after all, so it only makes sense to come to such an assumption. Fortunately, that’s not the case.
Revealed early on— but apparently not early enough— Goku will have allies accompany him on his adventure. Piccolo, in particular, will be a party member during the early Saiyan arc, following Goku around as the pair search for Gohan. Gohan, Kuririn, and Vegeta are definite party members, but hopefully, fans will be able to add Yamcha and Tenshinhan to their parties as well.
5 A Traditional Leveling System
It seems almost a given that an RPG would have a leveling system, but this hasn’t always been the case with Dragon Ball. The earlier Famicom titles didn’t feature traditional leveling, using a Battle Power system instead. While an interesting mechanic, it is for the best that Kakarot is keeping things simple as far as leveling goes.
There’s no real reason to overburden players with an overly creative leveling mechanic if it ultimately doesn’t add much to the game. Although it isn’t clear whether or not Kakarot will use Xenoverse’s leveling system exactly as is, it’s safe to assume that it will, albeit with its own quirks.
4 The Story Goes Up To Freeza (At Least)
This is a bit of a double-edged sword and it’s likely Bandai is reading responses carefully before revealing more information. On one hand, of course, fans want to experience all of Dragon Ball in one game. On the other hand, it’s better for an adaptation to focus on a few smaller arcs in order to tell a more cohesive story.
If Kakarot only goes up to Freeza, it’ll be able to flesh out those smaller moments that other games miss. If it goes up to Majin Buu, it’s relegating itself to ultimately missing out on material due to time constraints and in-game pacing. If nothing else, fans will definitely fight Freeza on Namek.
3 Soundtrack Composed Of Shunsuke Kikuchi Remixes
Far and away the coolest aspect about the game, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot isn’t just adapting the manga, it’s doing everything it can to adapt the feel of the anime as well. In remixing Shunsuke Kikuchi’s original soundtrack for Dragon Ball Z, fans will be able to experience the series all over again for the first time.
Kikuchi’s sound is such an important part of Dragon Ball Z’s atmosphere that it adds yet another layer of legitimacy to Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot. This is the sound that Dragon Ball was always meant to have, and the remixed variations will no doubt add a lot to the game while being palatable to a modern audience familiar with Suimoto’s score.
2 Combat Is Unbalanced (For Now)
Unfortunately, while Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot’s presentation seems out of this world, reported gameplay has not been stellar. Like Xenoverse before it, it turns out that Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot has some serious balancing issues, making combat pitifully easy and Goku far more overpowered than he should be.
That said, Bandai could easily fix this. Several games balance themselves through patches after launch and Kakarot still has a healthy enough development cycle left where any kinks can be ironed out. Hopefully, fans will be able to indulge in a challenging Dragon Ball game for once. The franchise’s RPGs have been too braindead for too long.
1 Goku Isn’t The Only Playable Character
While it was confirmed that Goku would have party members, it wasn’t confirmed that anyone else would actually be playable. Given the fact that Bandai titled the game Kakarot, of all things, it’s natural to assume Goku would be the only playable character. Thankfully, that is not the case.
When it comes down to it, Dragon Ball Z doesn’t work from just Goku’s perspective. It isn’t quite an ensemble, but Gohan, Piccolo, and Vegeta do all contribute a lot from their own point of view. As it so happens, they’re all playable characters with Vegeta being playable once players reach Planet Namek.