Dragon Ball Z Kakarot Mobile is the first major AAA to be launched in the rich year of 2020. All the advantages on its side are a priority: Dragon Ball Z series adapted, several characters to embody, an RPG aspect, very dynamic fights, the original music of the anime or even developers who have proven themselves with Naruto. On paper, Kakarot seems to be well on the way to do as well in its respective domain as Dragon Ball FighterZ in the fighting one. In the end, if the result is far from being bad, let’s say that the whole thing constantly oscillates between nostalgia, excitement and frustration.
Analysing the success of Dragon Ball Z Kakarot Mobile over the years, one thing is astonishing, to say the least: just like the newcomers, the early fans (including yours truly) remain excited about the idea of a new game based on the saga, even if it adapts the story they know by heart for the umpteenth time. While some games, like Dragon Ball Z Kakarot Mobile, are based on precise gameplay and a sumptuous production intelligently integrating a fan service always serving the staging but also the teams we choose, Kakarot opts from the start for a story centred more than ever on nostalgia and the desire to please the “Gagabalians” through its cinematics, the original music, the NPCs from the Dragon Ball universe that we will be able to meet and much more. Yet, as strange as it may seem, his desire to stick to the anime to the millimetre is as much a strength as a weakness.
Once Upon A Time Dragon Ball Z Kakarot Mobile
Beginning with the Saiyan arch and ending with the Buu arch, Dragon Ball Z Kakarot Mobile is a wide sweep. If you like figures, you should know that if you spend some time to settle some side quests and to do a minimum of levelling for some more difficult fights, you should have about 30, 35 hours before seeing the end of the adventure which proves to be very faithful to the manga and especially to the anime whose staging is sometimes inspired by the close-up. Except that here it is, as faithful as it is, the realization proves to be much less striking than that of its model and this for many reasons.
Already, beyond the censorship that places Kakarot at the level of Dragon Ball Z Kai and no longer the original series, Dragon Ball Z Kakarot Mobile director has taken much less time to set the stakes, completely minimising the dramatisation of most of the sequences. Conversely, we will often have the right to some rather indigestible kinematic/dialogue tunnels, which here too, serve the balance of the whole. On this subject, one will retain a clumsy construction asking us to constantly travel between the places constituting the map, sometimes for a simple line of dialogue, this being synonymous with countless loading times. Let us also mention that certain cult passages of the anime which took advantage of unpublished compositions, in order to sacralise the moment, are here much less impacting, without nuances, the original music (sometimes rearranged in a not always very happy way) leaving their place to silences most of the time. It is difficult to explain this choice (probably for rights reasons) but it is impossible not to feel enormous frustration at the very bland treatment of Piccolo’s sacrifice, the Passing of weapons among Freezer and Trunks, or killing C-16s as a catalyst to the creation of Gohan. Next, one will find it strange that certain cut-scenes (those of Buu’s bow in particular) are much more mastered through distortions of the image and a pencil-like aspect to accentuate the impression of speed or the power of the blows.
It is also regrettable that CyberConnect2 completely avoided certain events that could have been conducive to interesting mini-games or side quests in Dragon Ball Z Kakarot Mobile. One will think in particular of Goku’s journey to Kaïo’s house or the one to Namek, here reduced to a few fixed and/or cinematic screens. Strange all the more that the developers could have used the anime’s fillers, not always very happy in the case of the series but perfect for a video game. One will nevertheless point out the sequence of the license passage, very funny in the series but here reduced to a mini-game without any sensation of speed. The baseball match with Gohan is worthwhile, though, because it requires the click of a button to bring the ball much further than possible at the required time.
An Action-RPG A Little Too Vegetative?
As we said in our preview, if Dragon Ball Z Kakarot Mobile looks like a Xenoverse from afar, it presents itself as a true solo Action-RPG with what it implies or at least should imply. At first glance, the title integrates what is needed: Exploration, the evolution of statistics, acquisition of new techniques and fights. In reality, it works quite well, at least from a structural point of view. Thus, by progressing through history or by doing side quests, one will reap EXP and recover orbs. The first element will of course be used to level up and improve our attributes, while the second will allow us to unlock and improve special passive or technical skills. However, one will find it a little silly to have lined the premises with these famous multicoloured orbs since by fighting, by succeeding in side missions or simply by progressing in history, it is possible to recover large quantities of them. Moreover, from the bow of Cell, once you have recovered the 7 crystal balls, you can obtain an enormous quantity of orbs and Zenis or face your previous opponents again. In short, in addition to gamification minimizing the immersion, the interest remains limited.
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