Being another iteration of the same Dragon Ball Z story that has been retold by various titles over the years, it’s been easy to be skeptical thinking about whether Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot might bring anything new to the table to be worth the investment. According the latest reviews and initial impressions, reception appears to be generally positive.
At the time of writing, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot currently has 11 Metacritc reviews from critics with an average score of 78 out of 100, with the highest so far being a 90 by GAMINGBible. The lowest so far has been at 65 out of 100 by JeuxVideo. Nevertheless, outlets giving positive scores around this level so far seem to be praising the visually pleasant graphics, exploration, length and depth.
Role playing game elements have been the big unique selling point in the marketing for Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot. Stat-boosting activities like fishing and cooking along with side quests from various and obscure Dragon Ball characters have been pitched like a new form of filler to differentiate the Dragon Ball experience. The reception of these newly-integrated elements has especially been varied from outlets, who have only so far given out their initial impressions of the game.
IGN, who gave out their first impressions in more of a Q&A form, said that “Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is, at the very least, a good, if a bit unpolished game”, whilst “the RPG mechanics are a little convoluted in Kakarot and not entirely necessary”.
Kotaku’s Ethan Gach, is especially critical of the game’s new integrations in his first impressions:
Unfortunately, each of these elements is so haphazardly cobbled together that playing Kakarot doesn’t feel like living in a place where houses can fit inside capsules and orange rocks bring people back from the dead so much as being a tourist in a chintzy Dragon Ball Z theme park. Side characters lurk around every corner, sometimes engaging in conversation, rarely with any larger purpose in mind, seemingly situated as greeters to remind you that you are totally in the Dragon Ball Z universe and not just an oversaturated grassy plain.
It really seems to vary, because according to Ryan Gilliam at Polygon, the new layer of depth actually improves the Dragon Ball experience for all players:
The games used to be in a rush to get to the “good stuff,” but Kakarot is comfortable mirroring the flow and pace of the show itself. Fans may get more of what they love about the source material, and newcomers are going to get a lot more of the weird stuff, for better or worse.