Game reviewed on PS4
Hello and welcome to the Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot accessibility review! It’s sure to be the review with the ugliest and probably least helpful screenshots around! I apologize for that, but Bandai Namco did it, not me. So enjoy these gorgeous images, complete with window glare, courtesy of me trying to play with one hand and take phone photos with the other.
I’ve never played a Dragon Ball Z game in my life and while (of course) I’d heard of Dragon Ball Z, it’s not something I ever paid attention to, assuming it wouldn’t be my thing. WOW was I wrong! I’m hooked on this game and I know I’m in the minority in that but I’m an unashamed sucker for any RPG with fishing, cooking, and relationship systems. Unfortunately for me and my newfound love, this game is a nightmare for my crappy, creaky joints. I played for four hours yesterday and because of that, had to go to bed with my swollen hands in hand braces so they could heal.
Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is an accessibility disaster, you see.
An RPG with its fair share of button-mashing fights (no complex combos here), the game doesn’t allow for controller remapping or even alternate preset control schemes.
In order to battle enemies, you’ll need to use the face buttons rapidly, as well as all four triggers for various things. On top of that, button holds are required for multiple things.
Landscape traversal controls aren’t much better.
Flight, which you’ll find necessary quite often throughout the game as it is how you collect the red, green, and blue orby things, requires use of the left stick paired with both right triggers to control your altitude.
Another problem? Frequent appearances of QTEs with no option to change the timing for them or eliminate them completely. Some of them, namely the one in the opening minutes of the game, will bring players to the end of their progression if they’re unable to complete said QTE.
The fishing minigame relies entirely on the left thumbstick and QTEs.
To catch the fish, you move LS. Luckily, you can simply hold it in one direction and your tail will continue to wiggle.
Once the fish has bitten, you’re presented with this rapidly moving bar in which you’ll have to have proper timing to reel it in.
Finally, the last QTE in the fishing minigame is pressing the proper button in the proper timeframe. This and the previous QTE will also present a cognitive problem for some players, as the buttons are never the same and can’t be predicted or memorized.
Now, this could all be avoidable as for most of the game, fishing isn’t actually necessary. There are other ways to get cooking meat. However, in order to finish the prologue, players are required to catch a fish. For those unable to do this, that will be where the game ends.
In terms of deaf/hoh accessibility, the game does fairly well. There are no subtitle options such as sizing, but the default will suit many. Unfortunately, only the in-game dialogue comes with a background.
The cinematic subtitles will be difficult to read at times, due to the lack of background, causing contrast to be a problem.
There is no ambient dialogue in the game world; this is all presented in speech bubbles above NPC heads, and enemies in the open world sections of the game have visual cues.
Blind/low vision and colorblind players may find themselves struggling due to the major lack of features to help in this area. There are no colorblind settings and no menu narration. The Community Boards may present a particular challenge, as placement of the Soul Emblems are paired with neither sound nor vibration and they are not sticky in any way, forcing players to find just the right spot to place an emblem on the Community Board.
Overall, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is a massive disappointment. A game I could easily lose hours to makes it near impossible for me to do so due to the lack of controller remapping and required button mashing. Players with hand joint problems or mobility issues will likely have to pass on this one.
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