What's worse, some characters are significantly more powerful than others, which is especially apparent when playing against others online (you won’t last very long if you’re a weakling like Krillin trying to fight the godlike Broly). The only way for some weaker characters to stand a chance against the big shots is to equip unlockable attribute cards. These give you some chance to toughen up your favorite fighter, but some characters are simply too overpowered, reducing the vast majority of the 70+ roster to little more than filler.
Choose to play offline, and you have to side with unreliable AI teammates who are neither good at fighting or reviving you when you're down. Instead of running to your rescue, the AI often ignores your plight, causing you to lose a continue or fail the mission. Sometimes you can trap an enemy in a chain attack to juggle him for more damage, but it’s hard to pull these off since you have no idea how the AI will attack. These techniques have zero in-game explanation either, so you need to figure them out for yourself.
Even the act of initiating a fight is unnecessarily difficult thanks to the sheer size of each level. They're so large that it's too hard to see where everyone is, and you need to rely on a faulty targeting system that locks onto your enemies but obscures your view point. There were moments when my target flew by me, and as I was getting ready to punch him down, another one came from out of nowhere, forcing me to change targets. Before long, battles start to feel like a cruel game of cat and mouse mixed in with short bursts of button-mashing combos that promise spectacle but fail to deliver.
That’s a shame, too, considering the anime has devoted entire arcs spanning several episodes to key battles. Instead of replicating those climactic moments from the show, the missions you complete feel repetitive and anything but fun. Sure, they’re brimming with fan service and even feature the same cast from the dub, but they suck the life out of what made them so great the first time you watched them. Fans won’t care for the meager morsels of nostalgia, and players who have no idea who or what a Kakarot is will never find out.
Battle of Z welcomes you with a catchy remix to Dragon Ball Z’s first opening credits, setting up a game that is sure to be filled with nostalgia. But it isn’t long before an uninspired brawler rears its ugly head. Its fighting game mechanics lack any depth for it to be considered anything more than an unfair button-masher, and its repetitive missions are just as boring as they are lifeless. This is a Dragon Ball game not even a fan could love.