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Game review: Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot and Bardock DLC (PS5)
Thu, 19th Jan 2023
FYI, this story is more than a year old

It has been three years since the original release of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot. The game came out for the PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch platforms. Fast forward to 2023, and the game is still alive thanks to its release on the newer PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles.

We reviewed the game back in 2020 and gave it a respectable score of 8.0/10. Although some of the battles might drag on for far too long, the game is great for those that want to relive some of the more memorable moments from the popular Dragon Ball Z timeline. Sadly though, you don’t experience Goku’s stories from Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball GT or Dragon Ball Super.

Anyway, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot looks good on last-gen consoles, but the game looks and performs much better on the PS5 version we got to test. The first thing you will notice about the next-gen version of the game is that it loads much faster on the newer hardware. You don’t have to wait too long to accept new missions in newer areas.

Visually, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot looks brilliant playing on the PS5 console. The game can now run at full 4K at 60fps, and there are more details in the outer environments as well. That being said, some of the character models look pretty similar when compared to the PS4 version I played three years ago.

Gameplay-wise, nothing has really changed from the last-gen versions from 2020. You still have to go through tons and tons of enemies with long life bars before you end each chapter with an epic boss fight. In the base main game, you go through the Saiyan, Frieza, Android and Buu sagas.

The next-gen version of the game is not the only thing that has been released in 2023. For those of you that have played the game before, you might be more interested in diving into the new DLC called ‘Bardock – Alone Against Fate’.

If you’re not familiar with Bardock, he is the biological Saiyan father of Goku/Kakarot, and he died a long time ago thanks to Frieza blowing up Planet Vegeta. In this DLC, we get to see a glimpse of Bardock’s life before his fateful end.

Before Bardock knows of Frieza’s plan to kill all the Saiyans, he and his crew are working for Frieza, wiping out civilisations to make the planets go up for sale. Basically, you play as the bad guys until Bardock gets punched by a special alien that lets him take a glimpse of his inevitable future.

The DLC itself follows the same kind of gameplay formula as the main game. Before you take on the harder types of bosses, you have to face hordes and hordes of lower-tier enemies. Sometimes you may have to take out 200 or 300 enemies at one time.

While this can get really repetitive, Bardock thankfully has a special attack where you can kill dozens of enemies in one blast. All you need to do is fill up your special metre in order to make this happen. The special blast also makes the battles far less annoying and lengthy.

The Bardock DLC isn’t that long, as I managed to finish it in around 90 to 120 minutes. Your experience might be slightly longer if you choose to play some of the optional side missions. The DLC also gives you a good insight into the history of the character if you never watched the special episode before.

One thing I liked about the DLC is that there is a surprise waiting for you once you have finished Bardock’s story. When you finish the DLC, a bonus chapter unlocks where you can play as a young Prince Vegeta. This portion of the DLC isn’t that long, but it’s cool to get to play as a kid version of Vegeta.

It’s also worth mentioning to buyers that the new Bardock DLC is part of Season Pass 2. This means you need to pay for a newer Season Pass if you want to play this DLC. Your old purchase of Season Pass 1 sadly does not carry over. Alternatively, you can also just pay for the standalone DLC itself if you want to.

Anyway, the next-gen version of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is great if you want to see the visual upgrades. Not to mention the Bardock DLC is fun if you are familiar with the DBZ timeline. That being said, the gameplay is still the same, and non-Dragon Ball fans might not be too interested in the fast-paced gameplay.

Verdict: 8.0/10