Not too long ago, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot screenshots confirmed that Super Saiyan 3 Goku and Super Vegito would be playable in the forthcoming action RPG. This seems like a wise move given the two forms' popularity, but given their role in the story, how much will players actually be able to enjoy these characters? Based on the Dragon Ball Z anime, as well as a little guesswork given the semi-open world exploration present in the game, here's how much players may be able to enjoy Super Saiyan 3 Goku.
Looking at Dragon Ball Z, it's worth reiterating how powerful this form is and how it is often achieved under unusual circumstances. Goku was dead when he achieved Super Saiyan 3 the first time, and Goten and Trunks could only do so with their combined power as Gotenks sometime later. The very first time Goku used this form on Earth, it nearly tore the planet apart (with Goku later learning to manage this nasty side effect while in Super Saiyan 3), something that we will likely see in Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot.
The very first enemy on Earth that Super Saiyan 3 Goku on Earth is against Majin Buu to buy Trunks time to find the Dragon Radar. King Kai keeps screaming that Goku will while away his time on Earth using the power of this form, so a short, perhaps even timed, battle between Goku and Majin Buu (original form) will likely be the character's first appearance. After teaching Goten and Trunks the Fusion Dance, Goku has to return to Other World.
His next appearance in the anime sees Super Saiyan 3 Goku face off with Super Buu who has first absorbed Gotenks and later absorbs Adult Gohan. This forces Goku to eventually fuse with Vegeta, creating the powerful Vegito who is also one of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot's playable characters.
The next fight is after Super Buu transforms into Kid Buu and finds Goku and Vegeta on Kai's World. Goku tries facing off with Kid Buu in Super Saiyan 2 but has to become Super Saiyan 3 to challenge Kid Buu's power. There are multiple breaks that could see some of these fights divided into a technical few, but overall, it seems like players will only have three major fights as Super Saiyan 3 Goku: Majin Buu, Super Buu, and Kid Buu.
Notably, however, there is an open-world element to Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot that will perhaps allow players to explore some sidequests as Super Saiyan 3 Goku. The biggest limit to this is the semi-open world nature of the game. Unlike something like Skyrim, where players can return and pick up anything no matter how far into the story they go, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot has chronological limits. Regardless of battle or training options, players will not be ascending to Super Saiyan 3 in the Frieza saga or anytime before the event chronologically occurs.
This means that only during the Buu saga could players even potentially do this, and it's not 100% if that's the case. Assuming that this is treated like a transformation, it stands to reason that Goku could go Super Saiyan 3 during side quests of the Buu saga, even if this theoretically broke canon or the limits of the form's power. This would be a great move for fan service, but that's not the only challenge.
For the majority of the Buu Saga, Goku is actually in Other World, meaning players will likely not be playing him for the majority of the saga - unless this was, of course, in Other World. That said, there seems to be two viable options here. Assuming Goku is playable in Other World and considering Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot will not be a stranger to original content, it's possible we see Goku achieve and test this transformation there. It also makes sense given the way that Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot's level up system affects gameplay, so testing the waters and training SS3 Goku could logically occur here.
Secondly, it stands to reason that there will be quests that can be completed after the defeat of Kid Buu, so fans should have some time near the end of the game to flex their muscles. While this remains to be seen, given the immense popularity of Goku's Super Saiyan 3 form, it would make sense for Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot to milk these end-of-saga transformations for all it could.
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is set to release on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on January 17, 2020.