HomeNewsDragon Ball Z: Kakarot PS5 & Bardock - Alone Against Fate Review...

    Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot PS5 & Bardock – Alone Against Fate Review – Looks Finer Yet Still Hasn’t Reached Its Final Form

    Developed By: CyberConnect2

    Published By: Bandai Namco Entertainment

    Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PC, Xbox Series X|S

    Reviewed On: PlayStation 5

    Three years have passed since our last Dragon Ball Kakarot review. In that gap timeframe, suffice it to say that not a lot of anime adaptations are as finely tuned with built-in semi-RPG elements of combat, exploration, fluid animation, and refined cinematic cell-shaded storytelling anime goodness as much as Kakarot. Yet as an added bonus, there is a blast from the past aka side story content of Bardock but also a blast to the future with the PlayStation 5 updates.

    While I do have a vague sense of what Kakarot is in the past, I do from time to time rewatch gameplays via Youtube to compare with my PS5 gameplay too as my PlayStation 4 is no longer available to me. Do bear with me in this review of the updated Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot DLC of Bardock Alone Against Fate.

    PlayStation 5 Updates – Making It Look Even Finer, Smoother

    A few finer points of the PS5 update for “Kakarot” offers a smoother and more polished gameplay experience. The graphics have been fine-tuned to appear less contrasty and with finer details, with smoother mountain walls and a bit more realistic-looking grass and flowers. The lighting effects are also more ambient and soft, with less solar flare and darker shadows, making the characters blend in seamlessly into the environment. This gives the game a more serene and visually pleasing aesthetic, which is more in line with the anime style, rather than the manga-ish art style of the vibrant PS4 approach. Some may argue that this update sacrifices some of the originality and vibrancy of the manga aesthetic, but overall to me, it provides a more pleasant visuals.

    In terms of combat and light exploration, everything felt as smooth as butter with lack or no visible stutters and faster loading screens that just fade to black and immediately pull me into the cinematic or in-game cutscenes. The only thing that dampens Kakarots experience is the gameplay design itself such as the AI in combat felt repetitively predictable besides some of the boss fights. The exploration aspect turns flying bad because players still need to stop midway and slowly readjust the flight height alignment up and down to get the orbs placed in midair as they explore; these elements should also be addressed as means to keep the combat and exploration flow as fun, seamless and challenging.

    The graphics in Kakarot are already visually stunning as a whole as Kakarot in general is designed beautifully in its very foundation, but the Bardock DLC falls short in this aspect. The planets featured in the DLC including Vegeta, with their bluish flora and fauna, mostly consist mainly of flat sands, short-trimmed grass, and dust. Though it stays true to the source material, the limited variety in environments doesn’t fully take advantage of the capabilities of the PS5. Besides that, the anime depicting Bardock has limited screentime of the said planets and therefore should be left open for more design interpretations. It’s a shame that the beauty of the DLC is not as richly detailed as the main game.

    Storytelling In Bardock – The Origins Of Asian Parenting

    Bardock DLC storytelling explores the complex relationship between Bardock and his newborn son Goku. Bardock, like many Asian parents, initially feels disappointed and even disgust at his son Goku’s low power level at birth and tends to neglect him. However, when Bardock is facing death at the hands of his employer, Frieza, – he ended up having a vision of Goku’s potential future. He comes to realize the strength and promise of his son.

    While this storyline is true to the original anime depiction, minus the blood in cinematics and cutscenes to make it more suitable for younger audiences. It felt rather short and I wish there was a bit more in-depth exploration of the origins of the Saiyan’s enslavement by Frieza cinematics in the DLC to add valuable context and insight as a welcome opening bonus – as well as baby Broly, Raditz, Ginyu forces and many more. Rather than solely focusing later only on young Vegeta’s backstory as an ending bonus.

    Gameplay- Uppercuts from the Skies all The Way To Space

    Firstly, I would like to point out an issue with the accessibility of the Bardock DLC. While it can be accessed in-game through the “add-on” menu, it does not appear on the main menu. To exit the DLC and return to the main game, players must navigate to specific map points instead of simply returning to the add-on menu, which can be convoluted.

    The PS5 update makes fighting waves of enemies ranging from a hundred to four hundred appear visually seamless and without stutters. As you fend off waves of enemies, you tend to build up a Z gauge that can be used to deal a cinematic blow that can wipe out a few hundred in one blow of anime glory. The Z gauge has three levels to save up, however, I would prefer to have one more addition to the cinematic of Bardock physically ramming through waves of enemies using his body aka American Football colliding style as shown in the anime instead of using the same Ki giant blast all the time as per the image below.

    Other than the PS5 update of smoother combat and exploration in general, Bardock is portrayed to be dynamic with a fast powerful move set, featuring auto one-button combos that packs a visual punch that adds a teleportation move in the middle of combos – making the fighting experience more satisfying to anime gamers such as myself. Making Bardock a formidable and badass character, made me call him a Chad Saiyan.

    While Bardock DLC offers players the opportunity to dish it out to the skies and space, providing a sense of freedom and ease in dodging and dashing during fights without the interruption of trees and walls. However, the game’s design of predictable AI and enemy health is generally very low and not challenging enough – making it easy works to defeat them without much effort. Other than some boss fights, this lack of challenge takes away from the gameplay experience and reminds me of the gameplay aspect of Dynasty Warrior.

    I would also like to state that the Bardock DLC offers no refreshing change from the minigames found in the main game. For example, instead of traditional fishing, players can engage in activities in a more destructive manner like a Viking or space pirates, such as blasting away towns, fishing lakes, and mountains in order to collect orbs and resources, as it fits with the narrative of the character of Saiyans being barbarians in space. Additionally, the inclusion of a bar as a hangout spot for Bardock and his gang should add to the rowdy, power-hungry dynamic of the character. There should be the addition of drinking minigames, arm wrestling, or bar fight QTEs (quick time events) would further enhance this experience. Also, the side quests in the DLC fail to fully flesh out the other members of Bardock’s team, with most of the focus being on one member, Fasha’s romantic interest and strength philosophy.

    This lack of depth in the side quests makes it difficult for me to feel care for and be fully invested in Bardock’s team as much as portrayed by Bardock himself.

    What I Liked About Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot PS5

    Graphics and Cinematic – Finer details, softer lighting touches as even the rocks appear to be smoothed out.

    Lil to None Loading Screens – What loading screen?

    Gameplay – Buttery smooth combat and flow of exploration.

    What I Liked In Bardock – Alone Against Fate DLC

    A story as old as time – True to its source material without any deviations

    Bardock move sets – Combos like fast and furious.

    Gameplay – Fight waves of enemies like Dynasty Warrior with cool-looking Z gauge cinematic finishers.

    What I Dislike In Bardock – Alone Against Fate DLC

    Gameplay – Fight waves of enemies like Dynasty Warrior with repetitive AIs actions and reactions. Picking up orbs stops the flow of exploration to readjust midflight height alignments.

    Accessibility issue with the DLC – Only accessible only the in-game menu and returning back to the main game requires players to navigate to specific points on the map. This can be a frustrating experience and interrupt the flow of gameplay.

    Gameplay in exploration – The new planets in the Bardock DLC feel uninspired. Lack of a variety of new refreshing minigames – even the fish designs look generically the same. Giving the overall experience a sense of being outdated despite the updates to the graphics and smooth gameplay.

    DLC story is far too short – This doesn’t mean deviating from the source material, however, more can be placed upon that occurs in the same timeline such as Frieza’s invasion on Saiyan, Raditz’s appearance, and baby Broly.

    Poor sidequest variety – More can be done to flesh out the team members of Bardock.

    Verdict – Still Hasn’t Reached Its Final Form Yet

    While the PS5 update is a welcoming addition to new and returning gamers out there. The Bardock DLC, while staying true to its source material and offering a deeper look into Goku’s father’s backstory, falls short in terms of repetitive gameplay and storytelling depth. With only a minimal amount of hours of gameplay, it feels as though that more can be done to flesh out the character’s side stories, refreshing gameplay elements, more details on planets, and their stories even further.

    Nonetheless, it is a start of a new year, and playing it on PS5 offers a breath of fresh air in terms of updated graphics and a smoother gameplay experience. However, the outdated gameplay mechanics detract from my overall enjoyment and could benefit more from an update itself to make the gameplay less repetitive. If you’re interested in reading our previous review of the PlayStation 4 version, you can find it here. And for more news and updates from us, be sure to keep an eye out for our future coverage.

    Score: 7/10

    He is actually very shy, introvert but no choice, have to go out to buy games. He likes food and food likes him. He somehow manage to find a job with the right time accommodate to gaming. He has a very short attention span, therefore has to finish a game fast or else a simple pun can distract him for the entire day. Yes a Pun, he loves puns as much as he loves games; easily distracted, whichever comes next.

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