Whether you're an existing fan or completely new to the world of Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot remains a relatively accessible retelling of Akira Toriyama's timeless series. Taking the form of an action RPG spread across large, fully explorable maps, this is a mostly accurate adaptation of the source material, hitting all of the major story beats and fleshing them out with some amazing cutscenes.
The game's presentation can be a bit hit and miss, though. The fully animated cinematics we just mentioned are a sight to behold, but they're often sandwiched between awkwardly static dialogue scenes. Kakarot's a big game — a full playthrough will likely take you around 40 hours or so — and it's clear that corners had to be cut in order to make sure all of the main plot points are covered.
But if you can get past the inconsistent quality, there's a lot to like about Goku's adventures. On a fundamental level, simply flying through the skies and exploring Dragon Ball's colourful world is a delight. Taking on side quests, interacting with all kinds of characters, and beating up optional bosses make for enjoyable diversions outside of the main missions.
Of course, combat is a crucial part of the experience. The system's easy to grasp, but there's just enough depth in discovering ways to weave super moves into your combos, and having to learn an opponent's attack patterns. Repetition does set in later on — especially when you're grinding through the basic enemy encounters dotted around the map — but the game manages to capture the speed, impact, and awe of Dragon Ball Z's trademark action.
And it all plays best on PS5, no question. This current-gen port offers a 60 frames-per-second performance mode which brings some welcome fluidity to battles. More frames means more responsive controls, and that's a big improvement considering just how rapid the combat can be. The graphical upgrades are decent as well, with enhanced character models, environmental detail, and lightning effects resulting in a genuinely pretty game at times — if you can overlook some distractingly muddy textures.
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is accessible anime fun. It's easy to argue that this is still the best retelling of Dragon Ball Z's story in video games, and although it's simplistic and a little bit rough around the edges, the gameplay ultimately hits the spot.