Dragon Ball Z is no stranger to video game adaptations, with nearly 50 games related to the franchise popping up over the years since the 1980s. The latest entry is Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, and while many are certainly feeling the franchise fatigue, as many are excited about what this newest game has to offer. After all, publisher Bandai Namco promised that Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot would be the most faithful telling of Goku's story.
Yet Goku's story isn't a simple one. It has crossed four different iterations of the show, reaching a total close to 500 episodes and still growing. Because of this, it's simple enough to get lost as to what Dragon Ball Z material could appear in Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, especially since the game also advertises that players won't just fight as Goku, they'll live as Goku as well. This includes filler content, mini-games such as fishing, and much more to populate the world of the game. Therefore, he's everything players need to know about DBZ before playing Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot.
Who is Kakarot?
The title of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot takes its name directly from Goku's Saiyan birth, and everything that happened before and after that is of extreme importance. Goku, who was named Kakarot by his Saiyan parents Bardock and Gine, was born shortly before the destruction of planet Vegeta. This destruction was caused by Frieza out of fear of the legendary Super Saiyan, but a handful of Saiyans did survive, including Vegeta, Nappa, and Goku's brother, Raditz. Goku's parents sent him to Earth to protect him, with Bardock dying in battle against Frieza and beginning the stories related to the Dragon Ball story arc.
One more key detail related to Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot and Goku's birth is the birth of Broly. Goku and Broly were born on the same day, yet Broly's power level was 10,000 at birth, a number higher than practically all adult Saiyans. Many considered Broly to be the legendary Super Saiyan that Frieza feared, but many others considered him a threat, as King Vegeta tried to have him executed. Broly is mentally unstable as a result of Goku's constant crying as a baby, because they were both kept in incubators next to each other.
What is the Z Saga?
As aforementioned, there are 4 major story arcs and sagas related to the franchise, namely Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT, and Dragon Ball Super. Bandai Namco promises this to be the most faithful telling of the Z saga to-date, likely meaning that content from other sagas will not appear in Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot. So, for those hoping for Super Saiyan 4 from GT or Super Saiyan God from Super, that doesn't seem likely.
The Z saga covers everything from the arrival of Raditz and the other Saiyans on earth to the defeat of Frieza, the epic moment where Goku achieved Super Saiyan status. From there, the next two major villains in the Z saga are Cell and Majin Buu, though the Androids and others are all related to that, of course. As of now, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is confirmed to include up to the Cell Saga, but in all likelihood, it will also go through the Majin Buu saga.
Yet, there's a ton of other content that seems like it will make its way into the game. Original stories concerning characters have been announced, as well as the inclusion of the driving episode where Goku and Piccolo attempt to get their driver's license. We also wouldn't rule out a Broly storyline since that is part of the Z saga, but it's worth mentioning that he isn't really considered canon.
All Super Saiyan Forms
Throughout the Z saga, the most common storytelling pattern includes training to defeat enemies and achieving a new status of power, a factor likely to be seen in Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot. While it may have been one of the more epic moments, Goku's ascendance to Super Saiyan during his fight with Frieza is later eclipsed, as the Super Saiyan limits keep getting pushed. This trend continues from Z into GT and Super, where Super Saiyan 4, Super Saiyan God, Super Saiyan Blue, and Ultra Instinct all come into play.
However, in Dragon Ball Z and likely Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, the highest form reached is Super Saiyan 3. After Goku achieved Super Saiyan status on Namek, Vegeta and Gohan would also later reach that point. Much later, Goten and Trunks would achieve this status as well. Gohan, in fact, is the first to reach Super Saiyan 2 status during the Cell Games, and Goku is the first to achieve Super Saiyan 3 in the afterlife. Gotenks, the fusion of Goten and Trunks, is the only other Saiyan to use this form (excluding fused forms of Goku).
While we can't say for sure that Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot won't extend beyond the Z saga, that seems like the most likely scenario, but given all the content there is to explore, taking place only in the Z Saga is nothing to complain about.
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot will release early 2020 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.