CyberConnect2 is no stranger to developing anime fighting games, having previously worked with the .hack and Naruto franchises. Bandai Namco has handed Dragon Ball Z to CyberConnect2 in hopes of delivering a fresh take on the popular storyline. With Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, CyberConnect2 has succeeded in presenting the story in a fresh and engaging way.
At E3 2019, fans had the opportunity to view a brief presentation before going hands-on with the demo. The demo focused on one of the earliest fights in the series: Raditz.
The open world is reminiscent of the Budokai series. Players will need to fly to people and objectives on the map to obtain side missions and progress the story. Earth and other planets on which the story occurs feels more in-depth than in the Budokai series due to the size. While the demo did not have many optional quests, the worlds will reportedly have a bevy of objectives for players to complete.
Players have the option to ride on Goku’s Nimbus or fly to travel between locations. These two appeared to be purely based on preference as each felt and controlled the same as the other.
While the central storyline focuses on what occurs in Dragon Ball Z, the optional objectives will contain references and callbacks to the original Dragon Ball. For example, the demo presented the option of completing a mission for the android known as Eighter. The mission called for Goku to defeat some low level enemies. Players will need to complete side missions to gain experience to level up Goku throughout the campaign.
With the number of fights that occur in the Dragon Ball Z story, the combat could not afford to be lackluster. CyberConnect2 is using the major fights to give players an idea of what facing such staunch competitors was like for Goku. If the rest of the game is similar to the Raditz fight, the developer will have succeeded in transferring the fights from the anime to the game.
The battle against Raditz felt as unbalanced and unfair as the anime depicts. The fight occurred in several phases, with the first phase seeing Piccolo fight alongside Goku. Raditz was clearly much stronger than Goku and Piccolo. The action was fast paced, with ki blasts and special attacks being fired from all over. The game definitely rewards players who do not button mash and tries to string combos together alongside the AI.
The AI teammate appeared useful during the fight. Piccolo was capable of maintaining Raditz’s attention while Goku charged for a Kamehameha attack. At no point did the AI companion seem to be just ‘in the way’ or of no use.
The second phase of the fight showed the real difference in power level between Goku and Raditz.Raditz began utilizing his Double Sunday attack that engulfed a large portion of the environment. Dodging the attack was not intuitive as the flight controls did not feel as smooth as when traversing the world.
Due to the disparity in power levels, the fight lasted for some time .Attacks felt as if just enough damage was chipping health away while despite the lack of massive damage since Goku was nowhere near Raditz’s power level.
With so much happening on the screen during the fight, the game had some noticeable lag. The framerate would drop once too many ki blasts or special attacks occurred simultaneously, . This happened only a few times throughout the fight, though may be something to be concerned about as the game gets closer to release.
CyberConnect2 has managed to create something fun and fresh despite the numerous games already based on the popular Dragon Ball Z series. Traversing the open world is fun, while the combat captures the unbalanced nature portrayed in the anime. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is sure to be a game for newcomers and lifelong fans of the franchise to enjoy.