Gaming

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot review: Super fan service

A kamehameha that deals damage, but doesn’t finish the fight

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Growing up, I have always wanted to be a Super Saiyan. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, through a video game, has afforded me that experience.

In case it’s not clear from that first sentence, I am absolutely a Dragon Ball fan. That’s precisely why there’s plenty about this game that appealed to me. However, if you’re only vaguely familiar with the generation-defining anime then this might not be for you.

Goku to the rescue

The staple role-playing game (RPG) elements are present but something about this game makes it feel like it’s not a full-pledged RPG. Regardless, it’s still a fun game with a heavy dose of fan service.

Live like a Saiyan

Flying aimlessly as Son Gohan was an extremely satisfying experience for me. Yes, Gohan. He’s my favorite character. He’s also the son of the titular character Son Goku who’s Saiyan name is Kakarot.

The less spectacular parts of the game — which include a bit of free roaming, collecting orbs, and substories that were mainly fetch quests or quick battles — would not have been enjoyable if this hadn’t been about Dragon Ball.

The flying doesn’t feel fluid. But it made up for it with the sheer fact that I got to fly around as the heroes from my childhood. I was so giddy to find out little details like how far is the Sons’ house to Orange City where Gohan went to school, as well as where the Kame House is in relation to Capsule Corp and West City were.

The infamous car-filler episode is in this game

Going around the world of Dragon Ball and interacting with its side characters were such a fun experience for me. The game itself is already one huge nostalgia-trip, but as you free roam, you’ll also find orbs that tell quick stories from episodes of the original Dragon Ball series. This piles on the nostalgia even more.

Flashy but simple combat

Speaking of free roaming, scattered all around the world of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot (DBZ:K) are the Z orbs. These orbs come in different colors and all you’ll spend them on unlocking your characters’ skill tree.

The skills are divided in attacks, know-hows, and transformations. Some skills will be unlocked as you progress in the story, while others need to be learned by collecting D Medals that you then spend on training grounds to learn new skills.

The DBZ: K skill tree

On combat itself, if you’ve played any game from the Naruto Ultimate Series, then the controls should be familiar. There’s a combination of melee and ki attacks, ki recharge, and dodging (which in Dragon Ball standards is really cool AF).

Kamehameha!

Press L1 and you’ll gain access to your Super Attacks — also a combination of melee and ki attacks. You can customize this to fit your style. Press R1 and you’ll see the Super support attacks. These are only available when you have one or two more characters in your party.

There are enough variations in the boss and story fights to keep combat interesting. The same isn’t true for the random battle encounters. Thankfully, you don’t really need to do many of those because the EXP is almost inconsequential in comparison to the ones you get on the main story and the side quests.

Vegeta getting the shock of his life after being bested by Android 18

Side quests are fun fillers 

The side quests, when broken down to its basic structure, is nothing more than fetch quests. But it was still fun because you get to meet all the other side characters both from Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z. 

It’s also important that you jump into the side quests as soon as they appear. Each one provides a significant amount of EXP. It’s true that just going through the story itself will net you enough EXP to finish the game. But having a few extra is never a bad thing and helps going through enemies a lot easier.

Some side quests will ask you to go fishing — a callback to the first Dragon Ball episode

The side stories will also provide you with the characters’ Soul Emblems. These emblems fit in different community boards. Each community board provides stat boosts for everything you do in the game. The Z Warrior community will raise your support characters’ abilities, the Cooking community increases the stat boosts from eating, the Training community provides combat boosts, etc.

There are also portions of the game where you get to collect the Dragon Balls and make wishes that range from bringing back old foes to life so you can fight them again for EXP boosts, to wishing for more Zeni (money in this game), Z orbs, and rare items.

Dragon Balls collected. Time to make a wish!

Dramatic recreation of key Dragon Ball Z moments

Seeing the iconic moments of the series recreated in DBZ:K was such a treat. It reignited whatever emotional connection I had with the series. That’s especially true since a lot of these moments I saw when I was still just a stupid kid screaming my lungs out trying to turn Super Saiyan.

Goku turns Super Saiyan for the first time

I was primetime viewing for us back then and nearly everyone I knew watched the series. I still remember how our Taekwondo instructor told us to not worry about missing a particular episode because Gohan isn’t turning Super Saiyan yet. I also remember how a friend was disgusted with how Frieza skewered Krillin. And then there’s how my basketball buddies and I crashed a friends’ place just to catch the latest episode after we’re done playing.

A memorable and meme-staple scene featuring Yamcha

So many memories recreated wonderfully with some additional details. There are even a few easter eggs that plenty of hard core fans will spot. For instance, there’s a quick part that has something to do with Launch and you get this scene.

The game is aware of Akira Toriyama’s memory gap

Launch is a character that was introduced in the original series but was noticeably missing in DBZ. When asked later on why she was barely present, Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama said he simply forgot about her. It’s little details like these that I’m sure hardcore fans will appreciate.

Wish granted for DBZ fans 

There’s no denying it, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is the ultimate fan service video game. As an RPG, it’s… alright. There is nothing here that’s ground-breaking and some aspects of the game need improvement.

Standoff. Goku faces Vegeta for the first time

Regardless, it still makes for a very enjoyable experience for DBZ fans — which I suspect is a massive number of people given how Bandai Namco is able to come out with a new game almost every year.

Epic rivalry

If you’re curious about Dragon Ball and are only vaguely familiar with it, then this might not be for you. But for hardcore fans who can’t get enough of this cultural phenomenon, this game is like getting hit with a Kamehameha of fan service.

Gaming

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX701 is now available

The first laptop with a whopping 300Hz refresh rate

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ASUS ROG continues to roll out more premium gaming devices, with the latest one coming from the Zephyrus lineup. The two new Zephyrus laptops now come with the highest refresh rate on any device along with powerful hardware.

Starting today, you can get your hands on the new ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX701. The new  Zephyrus S comes with a 17.3-inch IPS FHD display with a whopping 300Hz refresh rate. To complement this high of a refresh rate, ASUS ROG even slapped in either an NVIDIA RTX 2070 or NVIDIA RTX 2080 inside. Along with the latest Intel Core i7 processor inside, the ROG Zephyrus S GX701 looks to be the ideal gaming laptop for the pros.

Depending on the unit you get, you also get up to 32 GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage. All of these contribute to unparalleled performance for any task you throw at it, or any game you throw at it. Both units also come with Gigabit WiFi adapters for better wireless connectivity and Bluetooth 5.0. When you purchase the whole package, you also get a free ROG Backpack, Cerberus Gaming Headset, teh ROG Gladius II, and an ROG Eye webcam.

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX701 is available in all ASUS and ASUS ROG Concept Stores. The 32GB RAM, RTX 2080 unit is priced at PhP 209,995, while the 16GB RAM, RTX 2070 unit comes in at PhP 169,995.

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Gaming

FFVII remake teasers now comes with behind the scenes footage

A look into the iconic theme song and squad

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A delay in release did not stop Square Enix from teasing Final Fantasy fans even more. This time, however, the company is  just giving us two things to prepare our minds and hearts for the remake.

The first one, as you’ve seen from the header image, an HD recreation of Cloud Strife and his trusty motorcycle. An entire cast literally joins him in the picture, including Aerith, Tifa, Barret, and even Red XIII. Looks like this is just feeding more details on character art, more than anything else.

The second one is actually a behind-the-scenes look into the end theme of the whole remake. Nobuo Uematsu guides us through the creative process behind the end theme, including the recording sessions for it. To see more of it, here’s the entire behind-the-scenes footage:

Square Enix’ remake of Final Fantasy VII will be released on April 10, 2020. It will only be available for the PlayStation 4, and pre-orders are still being accepted.

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Apps

NVIDIA’s GeForce Now is ready for gamers

Another cloud gaming competitor

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NVIDIA’s game streaming service, GeForce NOW, is ready for gamers looking for alternatives to Google’s Stadia and Microsoft XCloud. NVIDIA is looking at its support for more devices and compatibility with existing game stores as its edge against competitors.

Luring in gamers

NVIDIA GeForce NOW is now available for general audience after it entered beta last year. Starting today, gamers can opt for either of the two tiers: Free and Founders.

Gamers on Free tier have to contend with a one-hour gameplay limit. Plus, they maybe put on a wait list for a certain game if there is too much demand. Meanwhile, gamers on Founders tier have priority access to games, a six-hour gameplay limit, and support for RTX.

Unlike its competitors, NVIDIA’s game streaming service supports more devices. It is available now in Windows, macOS, Android and SHIELD TV platform, with Chromebook support coming in the future.

This game streaming service also works differently than Google’s Stadia and Microsoft’s XCloud. It streams supported games from the Steam library, Epic Games Store, Battle.net, and Uplay.

There is no need to purchase a game as gamers can simply stream it if the service supports it. Smooth gameplay is guaranteed with support of up to 1080 at 60FPS.

Pricing and availability

GeForce NOW is available on all 30 countries across North America and Europe. Beta users are migrated automatically. For those planning to pay for the Founders tier, they will only have to shell out US$ 4.99 per month.

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