Dragon Ball Z’s story has been told and retold probably over 9000 times, and now that we’ve got the obligatory “Over 9000” reference out of the way, here’s everything you need to know regarding the upcoming Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot.
- It’s developed by CyberConnect2
If you’re unfamiliar with CyberConnect2, chances are high that you’re probably not a huge Naruto fan, as it’s the developer behind the fantastic Naruto Ultimate Ninja and Ultimate Ninja Storm series. It’s also well known for the .hack games, but if you ask me, the one game that is most relevant in this discussion is Asura’s Wrath.
Why does Asura’s Wrath matter in a Dragon Ball Z game? Because Asura’s Wrath is literally “Anime: The Game.” Right down to the eye catches at the midpoint of every chapter, even to the next episode previews at the end. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot seems to be going for the same kind of thing, with every chapter made to feel like an episode of the anime, complete with the classic Dragon Ball narrator reading the episode titles at the start of the chapter. Beyond that though, if there’s one thing that CyberConnect2 has proven over the years, it’s that it is the master of anime spectacle. I honestly can’t think of a better developer to handle the more spectacular moments of Dragon Ball Z’s story than them.
- It’s an Action RPG
In a departure to previous Dragon Ball games, Kakarot is a full blown action role-playing game, complete with character levels, a world to explore, NPCs to talk to, sidequests to take on, items to use, moves to equip, and so on.
One of the coolest aspects of the world exploration from what I experienced in my hands on time, was the ability to sense energy levels in order to pinpoint areas of interest, with NPC characters having small blue auras, and big story-driven enemies like Raditz having massive red auras. It was a really neat intersection of something that is true to the show and something that’s super useful from a gameplay perspective.
- But it’s also kind of a fighting game
It’s important to note that even though Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is an action RPG, it’s also not super far off from previous 3D Dragon Ball fighting games as far as combat is concerned. The fighting system felt very similar to the previous Dimps and Spike developed Dragon Ball games, and also a little bit like CyberConnect2’s own Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm games. It’s still a 3D arena fighter with the camera locked to your opponent, giving you freedom to move around towards, away, and around your enemy. There’s a button for melee attacks, for ki attacks, one to charge your meter, dodge, super dash, guard, and if you hold down the shoulder button, you can utilize one of four special moves, like a kamehameha, a meteor smash, one of those super cool gut punches they always do in the anime, and more.
The big difference here is that the fighting system isn’t being balanced with PVP in mind. It’s PVE all the way, which allows CyberConnect2 to tip the scales in the opponent’s favor from time to time, and have them utilize special moves that break the typical rules of combat.
- It really likes the song Cha La Head Cha La.
As it should, that song is awesome. A slower variation of the song plays while Goku is exploring the world, but when the action picks up in the fight against Raditz, the full version with vocals starts swelling underneath the action, and I swear to god, I got goosebumps
- There’s Some Non-Canonical Elements
While it seems like the main story of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot will follow the main plot of DBZ to a T, it also seems like there’s going to be plenty of room for the developers to play a little loose with the series canon through Side Quests. In the short E3 demo, we already caught a glimpse of that with Goku reuiniting with Eighter, who sends him on a little quest to destroy some robots that are causing a ruckus. In my own playtime, I also ran into another character who never appeared in the Saiyan arc of Dragon Ball Z in Nam.
- Goku Can Fish With His Tail Fishing
Speakling of Non-Canonical elements. Apparently Goku still has his tail… He stuffs it somewhere in his gi and… he can stick it back into his tailbone and… fish with it.
You know what, some of you all might think this is dumb, but I’m here for it. It makes no sense, but it shows a willingness to be weird, and I think that’s super important for a game like this.
- Side Activities
In addition to fishing, Goku seems to be able to engage in several other side activities. He can fly around collecting Z orbs, a form of currency; he can hunt deer to collect meat, which can be eaten to give him a boost to his melee attack stat, he can mine ore, and if we take a look at the area map on the dragon radar, there’s also areas for him to hunt dinosaurs, trade in materials at a trader, and cook food.
- World Map
Unfortunately, we don’t have any video footage of this, but it is something that I was able to experience in my hands on time and we do have an image from Bandai Namco. If you fly as high as you can go, eventually you’ll leave the area you’re in and end up in a world map where you can overlook the various areas you can travel to. In this image we see Lucca Village, where Radditz’s saiyan pod lands; olive village, which I’ve never heard of; Goku’s House; Kame House where Master Roshi lives; Orange City, which was later renamed Satan City after the Cell Games, and is the city where Gohan and Videl go to high school; and Yamcha’s hideout, which is interesting because Yamcha’s hideout really doesn’t have any significance to the story of Dragon Ball Z.
It’s worth mentioning that in my hands on time, I was able to pan the camera to the left and noticed a few other key locations, like the site of the World Martial Arts Tournament, a Rocky Field that served as the site of Vegeta and Goku’s fight, and another city or two that I unfortunately don’t remember the names of. I wasn’t able to take any pictures or footage, so this is all going off memory. Take that as you will.
- It Will Feature Backstories That Weren’t in the Manga
The Bandai Namco US twitter account recently tweeted out a picture with a note from Akira Toriyama, stating that Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot will include backstories that haven’t been told in the manga, which, I mean that’s very vague, but potentially exciting. Here’s hoping that these are actual canonical backstories of characters that we care about, like… I don’t know, Goku’s training on Yardrat that led to him learning Instant Transmission. That’d be pretty cool to have that gap filled finally filled in. There’s a ton of exciting possibilities that this could point to, or… maybe it could just be random side quest filler. Like Goku punching deers. Let’s stay optimistic.
There’s still a ton of information to be revealed in the coming months, but that’s everything we know, along with a little bit of fun speculation. For more Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, make sure to check out our E3 interview with the game’s creators, along with the E3 2019 trailer. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is coming as a PC game, a PS4 game, and an Xbox One game and doesn’t have a set release date, but is coming sometime in 2020.