Ever since I was a little kid, I've always wanted the ability to go Super Saiyan. I may have blond hair already, but it's just not the same. And, despite there being loads of Dragon Ball games for me to relinquish this desire with, they tend to be embroiled mostly in the fighting aspect of the anime/manga series, which makes sense. The foundation of Dragon Ball is martial arts, so I can't knock on that, but I can knock on developers for not yet making an open-world game set in Toriyama's immensely beautiful fictional universe.
In comes Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, much like Goku himself, to save the day. Releasing some time next year, Kakarot focuses on the life of Goku, relinquishing all fans of their desire to relive the events of their favorite anime like never before. Yeah, so you might have played out scenarios in previous games, but were you able to freely roam about the world like a Dragon Ball version of The Witcher 3? Definitely not. Showcased at Gamescom in Germany just last night, an all-new trailer gave fans a preview of the Cell Games. Is it me, or is Gohan looking madder than ever?
Fans may be skeptical, it's in our nature since most Dragon Ball games are typically arena brawlers or fighters. I still play Xenoverse 2 with my buddies (I'm best as Goku Black Rosé), but apart from that, there's Jump Force, though that's for all-encompassing anime aficionados. There's even the Dragon Ball Super card game for the more board-based gamers, so there really is no shortage of Dragon Ball iterations - just the open-world kind.
Haven't you ever wanted to do more than simply watch each episode, especially since so many of them are filled with expositional banter and characters powering up? Kakarot will give players the keys to Toriyama's classic, inviting us all to see a whole new Dragon Ball Z, unlike any game before it. We'll be able to face off against classic foes, like Frieza and Cell, while also staving off other threats, like Radditz and Buu. Also, you're not constrained by simply one player, various other characters will be available for dynamic playability.
I've read the manga series, so I can attest to the brilliance of Toriyama's craft, even if I've only read it in English. Speaking of, I'm still waiting for Volume 6 of Dragon Ball Super to be released come September, and even that is as tense and action-packed—if not more so—than its predecessors. By far, the original Dragon Ball remains my favorite, because at least in those moments Goku's ineptitude and childish demeanor actually made sense and were hilarious. Nowadays, I find they've made Goku far dumber than he really is, almost a punch-line in order to subvert the audience's expectations of his grandeur. Maybe Kakarot will bypass this stigma, as Toriyama himself has said the game will follow a never-before-seen backstory.
Kakarot might be the best idea since Legacy of Goku. Initially released way back in 2002, it was the first title in a 3 game series that played on the (wait for it...) Game Boy Advance. I poured hours of my life into this game and its sequel, which came out in 2003. Somewhat like Kakarot, the series allows you to relive specific moments throughout Dragon Ball Z, one of which I'll never forget: Trunks witnessing the death of Future Gohan. Though they weren't really open-world, the games did give you some freedom to traverse parts of the story at your own leisure, which was a nice touch. But, could open-world functionality lead to failure?
On March 22nd, 2005, a little known game was released by Atari called Dragon Ball Z: Sagas. It followed the Dragon Ball Z storyline as a 3D action-adventure across 19 levels. On paper, it may sound promising, but a whopping 3.8/10 by GameSpot and a 4/10 by IGN should be enough to prove not all Dragon Ball games are foolproof, especially when you account for the amount of effort put into each title. Limited by the hardware of their time, Sagas I think tremendously suffered from "new direction syndrome." Kakarot should heed this dilemma. Don't try to revolutionize the Dragon Ball Z experience. Aim more toward reaching the audience with immense set pieces, beautiful open landscapes, narratives true to Toriyama's masterwork, and finally, the most dynamic fighting sequences of any Dragon Ball game to date.
Kakarot will enliven the franchise in the way that Super couldn't. The sequel, which ended last year, feature awesome fighting scenes and truly remarkable characters, like Zamasu and Beerus, but lacked the narrative beauty of the originals. There were stakes, sure, but they just weren't the same. I think Kakarot, on the other hand, will give fans exactly what they want. With a completely new backstory, along with all-new characters being introduced, the upcoming title is sure to be a blast. Especially when adorned in the context of a Grand Theft Auto-esque open world, Kakarot already exemplifies a brilliant idea that others should follow (namely Pokémon, Gundam, and Naruto.)
A trip down memory lane, a pure nostalgic adventure of a story you could never forget, all at the control of your own fingertips - this is the promise of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot.
Finally, we'll all be able to go Super Saiyan like never before, come early 2020.