Game review: Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot (PS4, Xbox One, PC) 6/10
Dragon Ball Z has forever seemed deserving of a ball-outta-the-park AAA video-game adaption more than most other TV series.
Its endearingly mawkish characters, never-ending chatter of 'energy levels' and explosions that would make Michael Bay blush all combine to make for the ostensibly perfect video game tailor-made to sate the appetites of the rabid millions-strong Dragon Ball fanbase.
While there have been many Dragon Ball Z video games, most are only available in Japan and the select few foisted on the western world have been ok-ish to very disappointing. Can Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, the latest effort from esteemed developers CyberConnect2, break the mould of generic cash-ins on the venerable anime series? Not really, but they certainly gave it a good go.
Where Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot excels is in the obvious departments one would expect of a Dragon Ball Z game worth its salt: storyline, combat and explosive symphonies of blinding colour and planet-rending explosions.
As it happens, Kakarot's storyline is a (mostly) entire and faithful retelling of the Dragon Ball Z series. Credit to the developers for cramming such an expansive saga into a 30-odd hour video game but they managed it with aplomb, so credit where it is most certainly due.
As for the combat, it is certainly button-mashy but there is a genuine nuance to the flurry of thoughtless movement that ironically does actually require a little bit of thought. It is not the most challenging combat ever to grace a video game by any stretch of the imagination but it doesn't ever reach the point of staleness - though it does occasionally threaten.
This flirtation with banality is largely due to everything outside of the three departments already mentioned. There is a distinct lack of polish in Kakarot that only gets worse as the game progresses, particularly in relation to the sound design and quality of voicing of some characters. What is even more offensive is the sheer drudgery and boredom wrought by the hideous side quests. Virtually every single one of these side quests is a simple "go there and collect this and bring it back to me so I can cook it in a pot or something".
Sure, developers are working to a time limit but it really pains to see a game so perfectly positioned to be the head-and-shoulders the greatest Dragon Ball Z game fall down at such simple hurdles and not capitalise on the hard work already made to bring it to such a place.