A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
While characters like main protagonist, Goku, believe they're saving the world from evil, quite a bit of gameplay focuses on fighting, which isn't very positive. In fact, in one early scene with his son, Gohan, the hero tells him how much he likes fighting and would train his son to do the same.
Positive Role Models
Goku is a young dad who wants to take care of his family, but he enjoys fighting quite a bit -- based on his comments and actions -- which might be considered negative. Also, some might not like that he goes home and within a minute asks his wife to make him lunch.
Ease of Play
Not too difficult to pick up and play. Mandatory tutorial early on, where you must fight an enemy in a 3D space (suspended in air), but you're taught controls as you go along, so there's no space to practice before you've got to use these abilities to be successful through the story.
Violence & Scariness
No blood or gore, but plenty of violence. Much of the gameplay involves martial arts fighting against enemies, whether punches and kicks or energy blasts. Some non-playable cutscenes have violence, such as someone's arm being severed (not graphically depicted), someone impaled on a laser beam, hunters shooting character in stomach.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Several suggestive references, including Master Roshi being "pervy" and a "pervert," mention of a "risqué magazine," and another character who's talked about for his questionable actions toward women. An adult magazine is seen. Shows women with deep cleavage, but no nudity.
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Mild profanity, with words like "bastard," "ass," "damn," and "hell."
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Products & Purchases
Based on the Dragon Ball Z series, which also has apparel, toys, TV shows and movies, comics, and more. It offers an optional season pass, with additional content (levels), but it costs extra to play.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is an action role-playing game for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PCs. The story, which is the latest installment in the Dragon Ball Z universe, lets you explore an open world, taking on quests and side missions to power up your hero so he can take on more difficult opponents in his path. Much -- but not all -- of the gameplay focuses on martial arts combat. Players can kick, punch, and use special magic attacks to defeat enemies. In the dialogue, there are comments about "perverts" who "kidnapped girls" and references to (and images about) adult magazines, although nothing's shown. Mild profanity includes words like "bastard," "ass," and "damn!"
Is It Any Good?
If you believe the hype, you'd think this RPG would be the first major blockbuster game of 2020. But it may only satisfy serious fans of the franchise -- for nostalgia's sake -- rather than deliver a compelling game experience. On one hand, Kakarot offers a lot of variety in game styles, but it doesn't excel at any one of them. Fighting is fun, especially when you learn to link together damaging moves and combo attacks while simultaneously hovering in the air and avoiding enemy fire. But despite leveling up and facing new kinds of enemies and bosses, the action grows stale after a short while. Many of the side quests, like collecting items, can also get tedious as you complete them over time. Worse, the open world isn't very open, so you'll hit invisible walls often and hear repetitive audio tied to completing your task. Some adventuring elements are fun, like racing, but others are boring (such as collecting apples). There are also several cutscenes you have to sit through, which include painfully fake dialogue with your son, spouse, and master (as you'll see at the start of the game). Also, the long load screens really start to annoy, and don't seem to have any explanation as to why they're so lengthy.
Gameplay does get more interesting when you encounter (and then play as) other fighters, and the story takes a few twists and turns. Again, there's a ton of content here, but by the time you get to the fourth section, Majin Buu Saga, you realize the game doesn't really build up to anything significant. It's just more of the same. For the most part, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot -- while pretty, long, and easy to control -- eventually comes off as a somewhat bloated collection of gameplay mechanics that doesn't really excel at any one of them. Die-hard fans of the franchise may disagree, and that's OK, but if the game developers are looking to broaden the appeal of this beloved series and amass new fans, this isn't the title to pull it off.
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