E3 2019 Hands-on – Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot
When I first heard of the then-called Dragon Ball ProjectZ, I was underwhelmed. Given the large amount of games based off Dragon Ball (and anime in general) released every single year, I had no idea of what would the developers do in order to make this game stand out from the rest. I was further underwhelmed when I found out the game was being developed by CyberConnect2, the same developers behind the many Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm games out there, a series of titles I’ve always found unappealing. Then came E3 2019 and I got the chance to play the now christened Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot and I realized how wrong I was.
Yes, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot‘s gameplay is reminiscent of Ultimate Ninja Storm‘s cel-shaded action RPG mechanics, but there’s more depth to it and a lot of fan service to make us forget that we’re playing yet another Dragon Ball Z for the hundredth time. The gameplay has been clearly inspired by the Xenoverse games as well, due to its similar lock-on, quick teleportation, and quick special attack prompts. Given that the Xenoverse games are my actual favorite DBZ games of all time, even more than last year’s FighterZ, that’s a major plus for Kakarot.
I only had the chance to fight Raditz (as well as a few Red Ribbon robots on my way to the boss fight), and even though I’m sick to death about that samey scenario, Kakarot knew how to make the fight fresh yet again. Not only are the visuals fantastic and the voice acting sublime, but the game triggers the same DBZ episode title cards and tunes whenever you start a mission, as if you were playing an actual episode of the show. The fact that I was listening to the immortal “Cha-La Head Cha-La” while fighting Raditz only made things even more amazing to someone who has been watching DBZ ever since kindergarten in the early to mid 90’s. I’ll have that song played at my wedding, that’s for sure.
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot features a great combat system, a nice open world mechanic, fantastic visuals and voice acting. It’s probably the most “fan servicey” Dragon Ball Z game ever made; tailor made for fans to relive their favorite moments of the show with an even more appealing level of fidelity than Xenoverse did years ago. I used to think that game was going to be underwhelming, but it quickly won me over after one E3 demo. I can’t wait to put my hands on Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot. It might actually turn out to be the best DBZ game ever made. There, I said it.