If you're an avid Dragon Ball Z fan, you probably started playing Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot early this morning. Kakarot is another stab at making an action-RPG in the vast Dragon Ball Z universe, following titles like the The Legacy of Goku trilogy or Xenoverse and its sequel. While the latter games focused on an all-new story and a player-created hero, Karakot is very much the story of Goku across all of Dragon Ball Z.
So we're looking at Greatest Hits tour for the Dragon Ball Z franchise, following its most iconic hero. While some recent Dragon Ball titles have played with RPG mechanics, Kakarot is trying to lean harder into the genre, packed with side quests, cooking, fishing, and the joys of level grinding. Bandai Namco and developer CyberConnect2 have crammed a ton of Dragon Ball lore into an open-world RPG, with a reported 40 hour main story campaign at the bare minimum and an 80-100 hour benchmark to polish off everything.
Problem is, we haven't had even 40 hours with the game yet. USgamer received the Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot code on Tuesday. In-between writing and covering other titles, we simply haven't had the time to drink deep of everything in the game. As such, we can't really give you a full, comprehensive review of it yet.
As an early impression of my opening hours with the game, I'd say that it seems like CyberConnect2 needs to figure out where Kakarot was headed. Playing through the Raditz arc, it does pull off the major beats as a high-speed recap of Dragon Ball Z, but I think the game itself needs to be more. The combat isn't the focus; it's solid, but I can see myself getting tired of it over the course of 40 hours without additional mechanics. The RPG aspects don't feel integrated enough into the rest of the game either. There's no RPG-style choice available, since you're following the story beat-for-beat, and cooking and fishing don't feel meaningful enough so far.
Caty took a look at an earlier version of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot at E3 2019, and found an experience that was lacking. "While the action itself is clunky and the open-world doesn't take advantage of the rich aesthetic of Dragon Ball Z, the start of that golden music cue did admittedly bring a smile to my face. I can't say I had a swell time demoing Dragon Ball Z Kakarot, but I can say that at least it's not being shy about callbacks to the anime that helped make Dragon Ball a sensation across the world and remain beloved even three decades later," she said in her preview.
So there's our early impressions, which aren't always emblematic of the whole game, especially in terms of RPGs. Perhaps Dragon Ball: Kakarot still has room to grow. But for lack of a Hyperbolic Time Chamber, we haven't put enough time into the game to complete a proper review.