SundayBits – Our verdict on DBZ Kakarot…

TODAY: See if you can get expelled from school with Rockstar’s Bully in this week’s Blast From the Past – What’s our verdict on Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot? – Sleep Attack on Switch is this week’s giveaway

Blast from the Past

Become King of the playground in Bully, a sandbox for teenage delinquency

Given the well-earned reputation of Rockstar Games, when you hear they made one of their titles set in a boarding school it’s sure to raise a few eyebrows and that’s exactly what Bully did when it released for PlayStation 2 in 2006.

It was known as Canis Canem Edit across Europe, and was definitely raising a stink as it led to numerous groups trying to get the virtual 15-year-old Jimmy Hopkins at Bullworth Academy permanently expelled before he even started the semester. Rockstar couldn’t even call it ‘Bully’ in Europe, hence the different name – they chose the Latin for ‘dog eat dog’.

What of the game itself? It’s basically a much toned down Grand Theft Auto but set in a boarding school with a much smaller open world to cause mischief. While you won’t have guns, grenades and carjacking, Bully did have plenty of roughhousing, toilet swirlies, slingshot sniping, stink bombs, and a ton of awkward teenage hormones. It explored the most over-the-top clichés of cliques; the nerds, the jocks, the preps, the bullies, the greasers, the townies and even the faculty itself.

”Oh, and boy! Remember, you will have a clean nose, so keep it clean, or we’ll clean it for you!”

No one was safe from being made fun of and exploited for some of the funniest and weirdest missions. All of this was done as young Jimmy Hopkins who gets dumped at Bullworth Academy by his mother and new step-father. He’s stuck for an entire academic year and learns quickly how savage his new ‘home’ is, and that it’s full of hypocrites.

The funny thing about Bully is that, as Jimmy, we’re actively trying to stop all the groups at Bullworth constantly scheming and attacking each other. Along the way there’s plenty of insane characters, proving the so-called responsible adults are little better than the students. You’ll actually have to attend classes while at Bullworth Academy — you’ve been enrolled in a school after all! The education is a variety of mini-games to complete in order to ‘pass’ the class for the year.

Completing each of the classes actually rewards you with benefits, as Bully was definitely inspired by Grand Theft Auto’s approach with hidden rewards for completing side challenges. There’s even a ‘hidden packages’ equivalent as you slowly make a giant rubber ball to hurl and bounce around. There are also odd jobs to earn cash to buy things around town including new haircuts and clothes. Your room at the boys’ dorm is a reflection of your academic and not-so academic accomplishments; it’s basically you’re armoury for restocking items.

”I’m just being nice to the new kid as he passes through Bullworth on his inevitable journey to prison.”

Fighting in Bully is pretty simple and satisfying as you unlock new moves to take down someone you’ve ticked off, though start swinging at a prefect or an officer more than once and you’ll likely face the mandatory detention mini-games of lawn mowing. Choose your battles carefully, and mind the damn curfew or you’ll get caught — or pass out. If you’ve played Rockstar’s 2005 title The Warriors then you’ll be pretty familiar with how fights work.

You don’t kill anyone in Bully as this is set in a school with kids. Rockstar has always been very wary of including children in their games – banning them entirely from the GTA series unless in a cutscene. This isn’t some ‘bully simulator’ though — not really — as you’re the gruff no-nonsense Jimmy Hopkins that Bullworth didn’t realise it needed to actually stop all the petty rivalry.

By the end of the game you’ll reach ‘eternal summer’ where you’re free to do whatever, and it’s almost a shame. If only school had actually been this educational and bursting with practical life experience. There’s always rumoured talk of a sequel to Bully, and hopefully Rockstar Games will give us the chance to enrol back at Bullworth Academy eventually.

Where to get Bully today?

If you fancy a stint at the prestigious Bullworth Academy then no worries as Bully: Scholarship Edition, a HD remaster of the original, can be purchased from Steam. As of writing it’s over 50 percent off.

Game Review: Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot

Kakarot brings the iconic show straight to your gaming system

Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4

Do you know when Dragon Ball Z first came out? 1989! It’s been thirty years since the show came out in Japan, and it’s been a cultural phenomenon in the West ever since. That series has brought with it films, merchandise, and (most importantly) games. This is what brings us to Kakarot. A game melding fighters, RPGs, and sandbox games, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot takes the formula you would expect from triple A titles and brings it to the Dragon Ball universe.

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot goes through the main events of the show from the introduction of Vegeta all the way to the terror of Majin Buu. It goes through the story like it’s the TV show, giving each chapter an episode title. It’s a nice touch and makes you feel like a kid watching the show again. But if you know this story by heart, you’ll probably skip a lot of cutscenes.

There’s a lot to commend about this. Taking a show with 200+ episodes and condensing them to a single game isn’t easy. It’s got the cheese and power creep expected from the show, so you can give this game to a friend and they’ll probably understand the appeal. You have the option to play the game in the original Japanese or in the dubbed English, so you aren’t forced into either dubbing or subbing. This can lead to some divergence from the written script in the dubbing, but that’s not a huge deal.

As expected, Kakarot has you fighting enemies as beloved Dragon Ball characters such as Goku, Vegeta, Piccolo, and more. What do you picture when you think about Dragon Ball Z fights? Hovering in the sky? Calling out powerful attacks? Quick teleports to dodge out of the way? They’re all here. It’s the type of craziness you’d expect, fighting in the sky and using your powers to beat robots and monsters to a pulp. They’re rather aggressive, forcing you to constantly dodge overpowered attacks. You can also use your own special powers that can be unlocked through training missions. Your Kamehamehas, your Ki blasts, they’re all here. However, these fights can turn repetitive and long. The longer fights with a boss work, but the fights against the run-of-the-mill become dull fast.

When you aren’t fighting, you’re in the game’s open world. Here, you can fly around, cook food, craft items, train, take sidequests, fight random mooks, and even find the Dragon Balls scattered about. There’s some neat touches, especially with the minor characters you’ll meet in side quests and the world.

There is plenty to do, but a lot of optional content is lacking. Fish a couple times, and you get the general picture. It’s not bad, but other open world games (such as the Yakuza series) have a better grasp at what makes side content special. The one exception to this are the sidequests, which have some of the funnier moments of the game.

If you like your games long and enjoy punching the hell out of things, Kakarot will treat you fine. If you want something a bit more highbrow, you won’t get that. It’s what you’d expect from a larger game, full of content. Add that with a dub that’s having fun with the script, and you’ve got a game that’s both fun to watch and play.

However, some features can turn repetitive if you’re a binge gamer. This makes Kakarot perfect as a game to play episodically. It’s easy to pick up and play, just don’t be surprised if it feels redundant later on.

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is now available on Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Score: 7/10

Guide - Tips and Tricks

Trying to get through DBZ: Kakarot? Check this guide for a couple of tips

The basics are rather straightforward and the game does hold you hand through most of it. After all, the RPG-driven fighter explains a lot of the game’s mechanics in painstaking detail. But there are some key features that deserve a greater focus than a quick box of information. Here are some quick tips to make you the best Super Saiyan in the universe.

1. Boost your Flight

Flying is a big part of Kakarot, and for good reason. Thanks to its boost system, it allows you to speed past enemies you don’t want to fight. If you’re a high enough level, you can also boost into enemies that are a much lower level than you and instantly win the battle. This is a great way to level fighters in your party that you don’t use often. Just hit an enemy full-on whilst boosting, and the battle will automatically finish.

If they aren’t weak enough, there is still a chance you can pull a surprise attack. If an enemy is looking away while you boost into them, it will let you land the first hit. These boosts do drain your Ki energy, so make sure to take a break outside of battle to quickly recharge.

2. Grind during Intermissions

Grinding isn’t mandatory to get far in the game. But if you’re someone who wants to grind, save that for the intermissions between sagas. Your party is locked during the main chapters, so you have to wait until you finish a storyline if you want to level Kamcha for instance. If you want to focus on a certain character and boost their levels, do so during this time. It’s not vital, but it can be quite meditative if you like to grind while listening to a podcast and to make some later fights easier.

3. The Power of Z Combos

If you have more than one person in your party, you can try Z combos to cause serious damage to an enemy. When you call an ally to use their support attack, a circle around their icon fills. Use enough support abilities from them and it turns orange. Once everyone in your party has their circle filled, you can start a Z Combo. This stops the fight temporarily, going through an over the top cutscene with your party members that can cripple an opponent.

4. Use Your Ki to Check Your Surroundings

While Ki in fights is akin to a mana bar, you can also use Ki in the open world to find items. Yellow auras around an object brands it as common, while red and blue auras signify something is more rare. If you see a purple aura around an orb, that means it’s an item for a quest. Ki vision can also show you the levels of enemies on the map. If you’re doing a fetch quest for an item or want to know how strong a villainous enemy is, make sure to switch to Ki vision for a better idea.

How to do a Super Finish

If you’re someone who likes achievements, here’s one you can get after beating the Frieza saga. Once you can go Super Saiyan, try charging your ki to get even stronger. If you beat the last enemy in a fight with a power like the Kamehameha whilst charged up like this, you get a cutscene of your attack being seen from space. This counts as a Super Finish and you unlock the “Flashy Finish” acheivement.

5. Finish Sidequests ASAP

Sidequests in Kakarot are shown on the map with a blue exclamation point, and the sooner you try them the better. Each sidequest has a timeframe you can complete them in, meaning you do have a chance to miss them. Not only do they reward you with pricey items and experience, but they can also grant you Soul Emblems you can’t unlock in the main storyline. For instance, you can revive the Ginyu Squad and refight them to earn 4 new Soul Emblems. These can add up, so make sure to help someone out before it’s too late.

Hopefully, these 6 tips will help you in your adventures and prep you for the crazy fights to come.

Weekly Giveaway

Sleep Attack on Nintendo Switch

This week’s giveaway is for Sleep Attack on Nintendo Switch, which is a Tower Defense strategy game from Bad Seed, and is currently available on the Nintendo eShop.

“Enjoy an amazing new TWIST in Tower Defense! You control the layout of the battlefield, and you decide the paths your enemies follow. Combine tactical planning with strategic tower upgrades to slow, divert and damage your enemies. Carefully choose the placement and upgrade levels of your towers, as each turret possesses unique strengths and weaknesses.”

Enter into our giveaway by following us on Twitter or Facebook, and you can also enter by retweeting our tweet about the giveaway too. There will be a total of five codes that we can send out for Sleep Attack during the week, which will only be available to subscribers of DailyBits!

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