Earth’s Greatest Champion

An unparalleled martial artist.

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is an exceptionally entertaining JRPG which retells the story of Dragon Ball Z and allows you to fish, hunt, train, and fight as (or alongside) Goku and friends. You’re actively encouraged to explore and to engage in as many activities as possible, and to experience everything its vast world has to offer as you spend time as different characters. Nothing compares to the indescribable joy of watching Vegeta fish on Namek. Saiyans generally use a prosthetic tail to fish as most have lost their actual tail, but as Vegeta doesn’t have a prosthetic tail he resigns himself to a fishing rod.

One so sturdy that it can withstand his otherworldly strength.

Those familiar with Dragon Ball Z know that it rarely took itself seriously, and Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot perfectly represents the source material through outlandish side quests and the greatest cooking animations ever witnessed. The costumes for characters have been faithfully reproduced, too.

However, due to the nature of the source material, story progression is fairly linear as it needs to result in the intended outcome. Which is to be expected. But that doesn’t mean you won’t get the opportunity to spend time as your favourite characters, as there are numerous character development mechanics present. You’ll mostly be gaining experience through combat, but you’ll also be training to learn new skills, and collecting Soul Emblems to enhance the various Community Boards. Of these the Community Boards are the most deceptively complex, and each requires a varying amount of investment to unlock bonuses. You’ll also be afforded various statistical increases when cooking delicious food. Not that the statistical increases offered by food tend to be significant enough to warrant the sheer amount of farming required.

Community Boards arguably offer the best statistical increases, but they also take the longest to unlock. While food is readily available throughout. Yet the statistical increases from food prove to be fairly underwhelming. I’ve considered this before, and it highlights how diversification between various character development mechanics yields better results than focusing solely on one. I’m glad that there is such a wealth of content available, though. Being able to shuffle Soul Emblems around, hunt beasts for feasts, unearth rare minerals, and defeat strong enemies keeps the content engaging.

It’s certainly exceeded any prior expectations, too.

I’m intrigued to see how the developers expand upon existing content, and would welcome additional transformations from Dragon Ball Super. Original content based on characters or events from Dragon Ball wouldn’t go amiss, either. They’ve certainly got enough source material to draw from.

As with Dragon Ball XenoVerse before it, I was wary of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot. Not because I had any doubts that the developers could create a captivating experience. But because the source material has been told, retold, and retold again. It’s slightly tired. It’s also something that’s quite dear to me. However, I can confidently say that this iteration of the events of Dragon Ball Z is as faithful as I’d hoped it would be. I’ve enjoyed every second that I’ve spent reliving my childhood. Not that I’ve been blinded by nostalgia. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is an excellent experience for what it is, and if you approach it with those expectations you can’t really be disappointed. It might not be as engaging to those who have never seen Dragon Ball Z before. But I have no regrets regarding the purchase and can’t recommend it highly enough.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

The Legendary Super Saiyan

Krillin’s greatest death to date.

Arguably one of the most iconic moments in Dragon Ball Z is when Goku first attains the legendary Super Saiyan transformation. Not only was he able to face Frieza for the longest five minutes known to man, but it exemplified how he was pure of heart yet brimming with uncontrollable rage when he finally unleashed his colossal strength. I’m also rather fond of the Super Saiyan 3 transformation. That was slightly less iconic (and the form was used far less often) but it was an enjoyable moment nonetheless. I do wonder how many hours of unbridled screaming his voice actor has recorded, though.

It must be hundreds of hours at this point.

I’ve always dearly loved Dragon Ball Z and it has provided an unending source of inspiration for my creative pursuits, which is why I’ve been highly anticipating the release of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot. While also not-so-secretly wishing that they’d re-release Chrono Trigger in a similar fashion.

Imperfect Cell kind of looks like a lankier and less mechanical version of Lavos. That thought has consumed me while I’ve been training for the final confrontation with Perfect Cell, and explains why I want to defeat him. 1999 A.D. won’t suffer the same fate twice. I’ve completed far too many side quests, cooked too many meals, and fished for far longer than I should have to fail now. Not that I was entirely aware of the benefits of cooking meals at first. I thought that they were only providing the temporary buff, but they were also permanently increasing various statistics. Not that the increase is particularly notable. Investing in the appropriate Community Boards yields a more favourable long term return, as the percentage increase is more substantial than the increases offered by food. Unless you’re cooking literally thousands of meals.

That’ll always be you, Vegeta.

That’s not to say that hunting beasts and fishing is pointless. Cooking can substantially strengthen characters when they’re about to face dangerous bosses, and various items acquired through either pursuit can be sold at a premium. The Community Boards can also be more difficult to invest in. Given that you’ll need multiple Soul Emblems and many of those can only be acquired through side quests. Access to which usually requires story progression. As such I’ve found the Cooking and Development Community Boards to be challenging, as few early Soul Emblems are naturally proficient in either.

Not that you gain access to R & D for some time.

I’m quite glad that character development requires careful consideration of numerous mechanics, though. You’re not expected to simply grind for experience. You’re encouraged to explore new locations, meet characters, complete the side quests, collect the Dragon Balls, and have fun instead.

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot provides a fresh approach to a somewhat tired source material. I’ve enjoyed being able to experience the story from multiple perspectives through different characters, and being able to bring those party members together to complete any available side quests during the intermissions. Goku is notably absent (or dead) for the majority of Dragon Ball Z. So it does make sense that you’d be able to spend time as Gohan, Piccolo, Vegeta, and others when the titular character is not available. It also keeps combat engaging, as each character behaves differently and develops at a different rate. I’m interested in seeing what they do with the season pass, too. Whether it would be entirely new content or whether it would introduce certain events from Dragon Ball Super. But I guess that we’ll just have to wait and see.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Dragonball XenoVerse

Not even the mighty Dr. Gero could create something as amazing as this!

Dragonball XenoVerse puts you in the place of a Time Patroller on a mission to correct the timeline from the Dragonball series. While this may sound confusing to begin with it’s actually a pretty cool concept that involves alternate timelines, fighting the classic battles, facing the classic enemies, and doing all sorts of neat things with your character.

It’s not a fighting game, however. Not purely. It also features RPG elements such as distributing attribute points, finding/buying new equipment, having your own custom character, and choosing your skill set from a wide range of skills in the Dragonball universe. It features a really enjoyable combat system which (in my opinion) never gets old or feels stale. It’s quite amazing how I enjoy the combat now just as much- if not more- than when I first started playing. This title also features incredible graphical presentation which fits the universe perfectly.

Character creation consists of choosing the race of your character and deciding on their features. Until you clear the final Saga in the Time Nest (not including the secret Saga) you won’t be able to make any other characters, but, once you’ve finished the story, you can have up to eight. The different races are fun and all the staple choices are there- Namekians, Saiyans, Humans, Frieza Clansman, and so on. Each one has specific bonuses or better statistics in a particular area. Saiyans, as you would expect, have access to the Super Saiyan transformation (up to level two). Everyone else gets the Kaioken (up to x20).

The Super Saiyan transformation is by far the most useful, or the most overpowered, depending on how you see it, as it allows you to use Ki skills without any regard to cost. It does drain your Ki slowly as you use it- but it doesn’t stop you from firing a dozen Ultimate attacks in the process. You can either unlock or buy any of the transformation skills in Toki Toki City.

Toki Toki City is your base of operations and where you’ll be going between quests. You’ll find all manner of shops there to supply you with equipment, accessories, items, skills, and other goodies. You’ll also find a number of masters to train under who will teach you new techniques, unlock master specific bonuses, and provide master specific items. The Time Nest is also located here along with the Time Vault- both of which are useful in your timeline correcting activities. You can also level up while in town, change your skill set, change your equipment, and generally develop your character. Over time new things are unlocked in town, too. So always be sure to check back and see if anyone is selling anything new.

The core activities you’ll undertake are either completing the various Sagas in the Time Nest or participating in the many varied Parallel Quests. Both are fairly similar in their approach but they have different objectives, different conditions, and different rewards. Most Saga completions in the Time Nest will just award Zeni and experience. Parallel Quests reward a range of goodies including skills, items, transformations, and more along with the usual Zeni and experience.

There is a lot of content available in the base game along with DLC which (at the moment) expands into Dragonball GT. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable experience if you consider yourself a fan of the Dragonball universe that is only slightly marred by the randomisation, which makes unlocking everything quite a task, but doesn’t detract from the experience (in my opinion).

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

“He’s the father of a legend, just Saiyan.”

I really shouldn’t as it’s incredibly low brow to make that pun- I just couldn’t resist. Today we’re looking at that wonderful potato-shaped baby Moggie once again.

Baby Moggie had a number of interests that older Moggie has inherited and developed. Some he’s forgotten, some he’s adapted, and some he’s still interested in but they’re not as big a part of his life as they used to be. Akira Toriyama is perhaps one of the biggest influences on my life to date. Chrono Trigger, Dragonball Z, his amazing ideas, his amazing concepts and universes, and his signature style. Impossible to copy and even harder to translate into other styles.

Yet, when you see it- you know it was one of Toriyama’s.

So, right now, we’re looking at a recent drawing of Bardock. The father of Goku. Apparently (as I’d never watched the movies) a Super Saiyan and perhaps the first? There’s a lot to love about the guy even if my favourite character is Vegeta. One major difference between himself and Goku is that he wears Saiyan armour which seems to have an endless amount of variations and he also has a tail that he uses to keep his belly button warm. (Or that’s how I see it.)

This isn’t a finished piece that will be gracing the site with its presence but it still has a number of qualities worth noting and comes in as one of the few pieces I’ve finished in a while. The style is a mixture of Toriyama’s and my own and the hair is… something else. Full analysis after the display.

Bardock

One thing that stands out to  me is that, while this paper is good, it doesn’t really hit the levels of quality I wanted to achieve. It’s got too much texture and takes pencil far too softly. Then again, that’s not necessarily the paper but also myself for changing the way I approach things.

I didn’t realise I was running out of that paper until I drew this. So I had to go and buy some more! But, I think, in the time I’ve been using it, I’ve come to the conclusion that I have learned a lot but it might not be the paper for me. I don’t think I’m ready to commit (so to speak). However- it does have uses. So I’ll keep some on hand just in case I need it at any time. I think I might try again with the Winsor & Newton illustration paper I used to use. See if I can get the kind of results I want.
The textures in the fur, hair, clothes, and the rest of the piece are just fine and what I was aiming for. Equally, I’m not up to full capacity (as it were) at the moment.

So I see room for improvement but I definitely like it.

Have a nice day, all!

Moggie.

Art, design, and the like found herein (unless otherwise specified) is drawn and owned by David Wilkshire (also credited as Moggie) from 2006 to present date.

Bardock, Goku, Dragon Balls, Shenlong, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Akira Toriyama.