Six things we wish we knew in the early hours of ‘Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot’

All those muscles can't do everything. 

Bandai Namco

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot has arrived in all its candy-colored glory, here to let fans of the long-running anime and manga series relive one of the franchise’s best-loved story arcs. Boasting a sprawling cast of characters, each with their own with unique combat styles, there’s a lot to keep track of in this action-oriented RPG. It’s easy to get swept up in the drama when a story involves this many aliens, colossal apes, and reincarnations, but there’s a few things we noticed in our first few hours of playing that the game itself doesn’t explain all that well.

Let our loss be your gain with these six tips to help you get the most out of Kakarot straight out the gate.

1. Keep an eye on your Ki gauge in battle, and prioritize keeping it full.

If you’re in a battle against a formidable opponent, which is a situation you’ll be in most of the time in Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, you’ll want to be able to unleash your most powerful moves at a moment’s notice. This means keeping an eye on that blue bar below your health gauge.

In the heat of combat, it’s easy to burn up Ki zipping around the screen to avoid attacks or by lobbing Ki Blast attacks to keep your enemy at bay. Get in the habit of holding down Triangle (Y) whenever there’s a break in the fray to keep your Super Attacks charged and at the ready.

Gohan punches Raditz in *Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot*.

Bandai Namco

2. Get in the habit of dodging and blocking early and often.

You can get away with tanking your way through a couple of the game’s earliest battles, but as you make your way through Kakarot’s story, it becomes apparent quickly that you’ll need to sharpen up your offense if you want to win battles in style by getting S-rank scores.

Sometimes when you see a barrage of Ki heading your way, the best thing to do is Block with L2 (LT on Xbox). You can Dodge to the side to avoid attacks by using the control stick and the X (or A) button. Once you get the hang of dodging on a level plane with your opponents, you’ll want to master vertical dodging. You can fly up or down to avoid an attack by pressing R2 + X (RT + A) and pressing up or down. It takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s essential for titanic-sized foes and those with wide-ranging attacks.

3. Start using those Z orbs to upgrade your stats and skills.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that leveling up, eating and the Community Boards were the only ways to get stronger. You’d also be wrong. We somehow managed to miss the Super Attack Skill Tree buried within the character menu that shows all your stats, and we’re willing to bet that you might overlook it too. Highlight a character, or view their full stats, then press Triangle (Y on Xbox) to access the grid.

While a lot of your options will be locked until you progress the story further, it’s a good idea to check in with this screen every time you swap to controlling a new character. Odds are, you’ll have enough excess Z Orbs in your inventory to upgrade something, and if not, you’ll know which ones to seek out on the map. The left side of the chart has some handy stat boosts, so don’t forget to pan over.

Bandai Namco

4. Use markers when navigating the map.

Even if you’re playing on a pretty big TV, Kakarot’s main map is small and hard to read. A lot of icons look alike, and you can’t zoom in very closely, which can make it hard to know where to go if you’re doing something other than main story quests. Basically, the map sucks, but it’s all we’ve got.

One workaround we’ve found for this is placing markers on the map using Square (X). Admittedly, even this doesn’t work all that well, but it does have the advantage of creating a slender, golden beam that you can spot fairly easily in the overworld view to guide you to your destination.

The mini map is definitely not this big in the game, If it was, you wouldn't need markers. 

Bandai Namco

5. Take a bird’s eye view when you lose your bearings.

Particularly when you’re first getting the hang of the flying controls, it can be easy to get turned around and lose your way. Hold R1/RB to quickly shoot up to the height of the clouds and get a good 360-degree look at your terrain. Not a fan of heights? Tap X/A to gently descend to the surface. (Good news: there’s no fall damage in Kakarot.)

Bandai Namco

6. Don’t worry about spoiling your dinner.

Eating in Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot does more than restore HP. You can get temporary boosts to your base stats like attack, defense and HP from eating meals that cooks prepare for you on the field or in villages. It’s good to keep an assortment of meals in your inventory, because if you’re about to jump into a challenging battle, you can eat a couple of meals to stack those food bonuses.

Sure, you can make Goku, Gohan and the rest of the Z Fighters at your command eat the same thing over and over. (You probably won’t have much choice in the matter early on.) But after you get a few hours in, play around with various combos to see which compounded boosts work for your playstyle.

If you run out of food, no biggie, just head to the field and start doing some hunting and gathering. Hold L2/LT and press Square/X to stun those tasty critters. It even works on dinosaurs, and you won’t take damage if they clobber you.

Dragon Ball Z Kakarot is available now for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

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