In 1990, a TV special destined to make history was broadcast on Japanese television circuits: Dragon Ball Z: The origins of the myth, which finally revealed and deepened the identity of Son Goku’s father, the ruthless Saiyan called Bardock. But in the “soft retcon” operation started by the same author of the original work, Akira Toriyama, since 2014 with the chapter entitled “Dragon Ball Minus”, the TV special in question was no longer canon. The character of Bardock (or Bardak), during the subsequent management by the mangaka Toyotaro in the comic version of DB Super, then underwent a further revision of the original characterization, showing himself to be much more heroic and compassionate than the cruel and contemptuous warrior of the you begin.
In light of this, it is therefore curious that CyberConnect2 and Bandai Namco have decided to tell the original story of Goku’s parent in the new Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot DLC entitled “Bardock: Alone Against Fate”. A choice that is probably the result of the immense love that the team must have towards the franchise’s past, and which allows old and new fans to relive one of the brand’s most fascinating stories. On the occasion of the Dragon Ball Z Kakarot update for PS5 and Xbox Series X / S (here you will find our review of Dragon Ball Z Kakarot), we have stripped the meat off the expansion that inaugurates the Season Pass 2 of the action RPG.
The hero who faced his destiny
In the wake of the main game, Bardock: Alone Against Fate retraces with great fidelity the events narrated within the TV Special from which it draws inspiration. Being a film of just 45 minutes, it follows that the longevity of the DLC does not reach the same extent as the previous add-ons, but the developers have still managed to enrich the content for an adventure that can be gutted in about 3 hours.
The story therefore narrates the tragic epic of Bardock, hand in glove with the fate of the Saiyan race and the planet Vegeta. After casually receiving the ability to predict the future following a clash with an alien from the planet Kanassa, the protagonist begins to have visions of the genocide that Lord Freeza would have committed shortly thereafter, seeing the adult version of his son who one day he would face the tyrant and avenge the extermination of his people. Initially reluctant to believe in the prophecy, despite continued suspicions about Frieza’s maneuvers, Bardock learns the truth when the emperor’s troops mercilessly slaughter his teammates. The protagonist’s attempts to warn his compatriots to form a rebel alliance are in vain: the Saiyan understands that he must take justice into his own hands, launching himself into space to face Freeza in a desperate suicide attack. A gesture which, as we know, does not change the fate of his people, but which provides them with a last vision of future events: his son Kakarot, standing in front of a terrified Freeza.
As already mentioned, in addition to the events narrated in the 1990 TV special, the new Dragon Ball Z Kakarot DLC offers various secondary contents that allow you to deepen both the personality of Bardock and his relationship with the other characters in the story. Although they are not very many, the optional missions confirm CyberConnect2’s ability to handle the Dragon Ball mythology with care, retracing some concepts in a philological spirit that fans have learned over time only thanks to the declarations of the authors or the “data book” of the moment .
By carrying out some quests on behalf of his teammates, for example, one has the opportunity to explore in more detail the psychology of the various Toma, Seripa, Toolo and Panbukin, as well as the fact that Bardock is officially recognized as the leader of the group. This is because, in addition to having a level of strength far above the average of his rank (about 10,000, well above even Nappa, Prince Vegeta’s bodyguard), Kakarot’s father has repeatedly demonstrated exceptional leadership skills. The value of the protagonist, as the DLC tells us, is even recognized by the members of the Ginew team, interested in fueling their competitive spirit and looking among the ranks of the Saiyans for a valuable warrior who could rival them.
Finally, CyberConnect2 has reserved a little surprise for fans among the endgame contents of the expansion: the story of Prince Vegeta, which allows you to relive part of the events of “Alone against Fate” from the point of view of the young scion of King Vegeta III. It is a very short interlude, but which adds Goku’s future rival in the youthful version of him among the playable characters.
“It’s more than 8,000!”
From a gameplay point of view, obviously, Bardock: Alone Against Fate does not deviate an inch from the basic formula and does not introduce many innovative elements even compared to previous DLCs. Various assignments resume the battles in hordes already seen in “The Awakening of a new power – Part 2” (if you want to refresh your memory, here is the review of the DLC of Dragon Ball Z Kakarot): in the role of the furious father of Goku you must therefore face several hundred minor enemies and accumulate enough energy to unleash devastating energy blasts that allow you to vanquish a large number of opponents.
Furthermore, the Saiyans are a people of ruthless conquerors and most of the time they find themselves besieging entire cities in teams made up of small groups like that of Bardock. Here therefore, before proceeding with the offensive to invade the planet on duty, the player can weaken the enemy armies by destroying some outposts scattered along the map, consequently reducing the difficulty level of the final battle. In the arc of the DLC, which is divided into various open maps including the planet Vegeta – which is fully explorable – this mechanic is repeated a couple of times, including the mini-campaign in the role of the young Vegeta IV.
Most of the clashes, on the other hand, take place mainly in waves: on the other hand, except for a brief exchange of blows with Dodoria and for the final confrontation with Lord Freeza himself, Bardock almost never faces noteworthy opponents. To confront much more demanding rivals, our advice is to dedicate yourself to the optional tasks of the adventure, which lead the protagonist to challenge the powerful warriors of the Ginew Squad, or to try your hand at the hard Trainings to obtain new Special Attacks with which to customize the hero.
In this regard, Bardock is conveniently equipped with its own talent tree and a fair number of unlockable moves, including the related Medals to add to the Community Boards. The latter are also obtained for the other characters in the story: Toma, Seripa, Tool, Panbukin, Nappa and Prince Vegeta. Reaching the Maximum Level and fully completing the skill tree, however, requires perhaps too many hours compared to the contents of the expansion: in short, only the most tenacious warriors will be able to fully unlock Bardock’s true potential.