This is normally where my review would go for Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, but I haven't put in enough time just yet to be able to give a fair critique. It's a very lengthy and extensive game, and to try and rush out a definitive score so soon would be doing it, and you, a disservice.
Since my impressions of the first 15 hours are particularly positive, I wanted to write something up to talk about some of the things I love so far, and one thing I don't.
5. The RPG Elements Are Extensive
Much was made before release about the fact that Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is a fully-fledged RPG, and I'm happy to say that so far it is absolutely living up to expectations.
Both you and your enemies deal numbered damage and level up, side-quests litter the explorable map and characters can (and should!) increase their stats by eating. It's a very different feeling type of Dragon Ball game compared to what we've seen before, but that's absolutely a good thing. Really Dragon Ball is all about leveling up and training, so it fits perfectly!
As I said before, Kakarot is a massive game. It's not just the epic battles you'll be doing here, but all of the great slice-of-life stuff that makes Dragon Ball so loveable.
There's never really been a fully-fledged console-RPG set in the Dragon Ball universe, but with Kakarot I'm beginning to think there's a lot of potential there.
4. The Presentation Is Fantastic
As is to be expected from CyberConnect2, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot has some fantastic presentation values.
Character models and environments are suitably impressive, but it's the particle effects from stuff like Kamehamehas and explosions that are particularly cool. One of my favourite touches is the use of original Dragon Ball tracks and sound effects. The sound is one of the most iconic parts of the Dragon Ball experience and it is replicated perfectly here.
It's fair to say that console Dragon Ball games in the past have had two distinct graphic styles. Dragon Ball FighterZ represents the best of the 2D style, and Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is now the best of the 3D style.
3. Exploration Is Fully Fledged
For big fans of the series, exploring the world of Dragon Ball has always been a distant dream. The best we've had is things like Conton City in Xenoverse and some of the more detailed maps in Budokai Tenkaichi.
This isn't the case in Kakarot though. From Capsule Corporation all the way to Korin's tower, Kakarot features areas from all over the series. The world is split into different sub-sections which is a slight shame but it's a worthy trade for the detail on display here.
Not only is the world of Dragon Ball fully recreated, but the options to explore it are great too. Flying around is fast and fun, but just running around on the ground and jumping everywhere is great fun too. We've never had a Dragon Ball game that puts this much emphasis on movement, and it's great to see.
2. It Doesn't Go Easy On You
Getting beaten up by Jeice and Recoome is something I haven't experienced in a Dragon Ball game in my whole life, and I've played pretty much all of them. Really though, that's exactly how it should be in relation to the story, and I was grinning from ear to ear about actually being challenged.
You are really expected to eat food, train and carry items on you to be able to get through battles in Kakarot. It's a distinct possibility that some enemies will simply be too tough for you to handle, which is just crazy in a Dragon Ball game. It's a power fantasy, but you have to earn it.
It's not the Dark Souls of Dragon Ball games or anything stupid like that, but expect to put in the training to get through some of the harder fights.
1. It's Packed With Fan Service
Moreso than any other game in the franchise I've seen, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is absolutely stuffed with little things for the fans.
It's all the little things that most Dragon Ball games sidestep that make Kakarot so interesting. Having to train as Gohan, getting your driving license as Goku and making absolute fools of dinosaurs, it's all in here and it's all great. Even better than that is the introduction of new canon elements to the story.
I'm not even far enough into the story yet to have seen it all, but I'm actively excited to get there.
Let's talk about the one thing that I don't love so much.
1. The Controls Are A Pain
The only annoying thing that I've found with Kakarot so far is how difficult it can be to control. Even worse, there aren't any ways to configure the controls to your liking, which seems like a pretty basic thing to include.
Flying around is almost perfect, but if you want to go up or down fast it better not be at an angle. The amount of times I've shot up into the sky or down into the ground trying to hit a specific point is crazy. Guarding also initially felt like it was on the wrong shoulder button, leading to me getting punched by Raditz a few times too many.
After ten hours with the game, I felt like I'd gotten more and more used to it, but it still feels cumbersome. Maybe that complaint will go after I've fully finished.
If you can't tell already, my first impressions on Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot are very positive. As both an RPG fan and a Dragon Ball fan, it almost feels like it was made for me, but I also think it'd be great for fans of either. My full impressions shouldn't be too far behind.