Jump Force, a review

(Disclaimer: The following is a non-profit unprofessional blog post written by an unprofessional blog poster. All purported facts and statement are little more than the subjective, biased opinion of said blog poster. In other words, don't take anything I say too seriously.)

Just the facts 'Cause you're in a Hurry!

Publisher: Bandai Namco

Developer: Spike Chunsoft

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP): 59.99 USD

How much I paid: 99.99 USD for the Ultimate Edition.

Bundle Includes: 3 Days Early access. Lobby Vehicles to 'ride around in' that's purely cosmetic. Season Pass that unlocks 9 DLC characters to be announced and released at a later date.

Rated: T for Mild Blood, Suggestive Themes and Violence

Number of Playable Characters: 43. 4 Original characters. 39 Characters from Established franchises.

Number of Stages: 7. Each Stage has a transition that changes when a character hits an opponent with a specific attack.

Can I play offline: Yes.

Controller Support: Yes. It was compatible with my Rock-Candy Xbox 360 controller. Keyboard and Mouse controls are available but are very awkward and the game was clearly designed with a controller in mind.

How long I played: 18 Hours. 10 Hours to beat the story mode while watching the Cutscenes. UNSKIPPABLE cutscenes. 7 Hours just messing around and playing online matches.

Microtransactions: 39.99 Season Pass that unlocks 9 DLC characters to be announced at a later date.

Dual Audio: No. Only Japanese Audio with Subs available.

What I played on: My PC.

Performance Issues: For the most part, I got 'mostly' 60 FPS when I was playing online or running around. However, the FPS dips when there's a cutscene playing to the mid 40's even the high 30's. Too bad however beautiful the particle effects are can't adjust the wooden facial animations and stiff body movements. 3 Crashes within my playtime.

My Personal Biases: I've followed the saga of Son Goku and friends. I've watched Naruto Uzumaki become the Hokage. I've watched Yusuke Urameshi journey from boy to man. I've watched Gon, Killua and Kullapika go on their various hunting expeditions. I've watched Yugi Moto become the king of games. And I've watched Light Yagami become defeated by his own hubris. In other words, I've been waiting for this game a 'very' long time, and have played previous games such as JStars Victory Vs.

My Verdict: As much fun as it is seeing characters like Fist of the North Star's Kenshiro beat the pulp out of My Hero Academia's Deku, the limited roster, worn out gameplay from the Naruto Shippuden and Dragonball Xenoverse games, the laughable animation, idiotic story mode and the ever anti-consumer practices of Bandai Namco are bogging this game down. If you're a fan of Shounen Jump, you'll sure to have fun. But, if you're patient or you want more characters consider picking up Jump Ultimate Stars or JStars Victory Vs and wait for a sale.

Jump Force, a review

In celebration for 50 years, Weekly Shounen Jump has announced a new crossover game. Made with collaboration between Publisher Bandai Namco and Developer Spike Chunsoft, "Jump Force" arrives to bring together various characters found in Shueisha's long running publication.

Can the game live up to the vast legacy it has inherited? Let's find out in this review of "Jump Force"!

The Umbra cubes, cosmic cubes capable of granting those great power, have spread throughout the world. Thanks to the villain, Kane, and his lovely assistant, Galena, he has recruited the villains from Shounen Jump and replicated them. All the meanwhile, normal citizens have become "Venoms", possessed by evil impulses. But just as Frieza fires a laser beam, ending your life, Trunks comes in, uses and Umbra cube and grants you great power to help combat evil.

Jump Force is an Arena fighting game similar to games such as Dragonball Xenoverse or Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm. Players pick between 3 characters and attempt to lower their opponent's (shared) healthbar to zero. In addition to physical attacks, they can spend the abilities gauge to use a variety of ranged or close up attacks. In addition, whenever players take damage, they fill up the 'awakening' bar. Using half an awakening bar will allow players to unleash an ultimate attack, an ability that deals more damage than regular abilities. Using a full awakening bar will 'transform' the character to a powered-up state. For example, Goku will transform from his base form to his Super Saiyan form.

The other two characters can be called upon using the left trigger. Simply pressing the trigger will swap the character while holding it down will call them for an assist attack. Unfortunately, you cannot change the order of which characters you switch to and must cycle through said order to access the characters. (For example having a team order of Goku, Vegeta and Piccolo means that Goku cannot switch to Piccolo without switching through Vegeta first). Be careful because if you switch while both characters are on screen and the opponent is able to hit both, you'll receive double the damage.

Customizing your character is nothing new for Bandai Namco games such as the various DBZ Xenoverse games and Naruto: Shinobi Striker, but the mechanic remains impressive here. Allowing you a vast customization between characters allows different playstyles and gives your individual avatar the ability to learn various techniques such as Vegeta's Galick Gun or Yusuke's Spirit Gun. However, certain techniques, such as anything related to Jotaro or Yugi are unable to be learned by your Avatar character.

Similarly, the defense system returns. Using the mobility meter, characters can dash towards or away from the opponent or teleport out of a combo behind the enemy. Most of the time, using the guard button will block most attacks. But, characters can either grab the blocking opponent or hold down either the smash or heavy smash button to break through the opponent's guard.

While most of the characters play similar to one another, some of the characters have slight variations. For example, similar to his manga counterpart, Sanji will be unable to deal damage to female characters. Similarly, when Gon connets with an opponent with his Ultimate attack, he will become unplayable for the duration of the match.

Learning said techniques can be used by spending the in-game currency which allows you to easily unlock abilities, skills that aid in battle such as boosting attack power or various costumes for your avatar. In-game currency can be earned by either playing through the story or playing online.

The Story will not win any awards unless the Razzies suddenly announce a video game category. It's a pastiche of clich?s, tired tropes and nonsense as players slog through another world ending plot with stupid villains, stupid twists and characters acting like morons. For some reason, Light Yagami figures out the twist that even the dumbest of us can figure out 5 seconds in. Not helping matters are the rest of the characters acting like complete idiots with Sanji being the focus for some reason.

Say what you will about the current state of fanfiction, bad fanfiction is at least INTERESTING.

This combines the worst of Mary Sue fanfiction with the most boring and bland cliches possible. I understand orienting the game for Western audiences meant having to borrow notes from the Avengers and Justice League, but the characters expositing non-stop about the predictable plotline isn't helpful. Worst yet, Developer Spike Chunsoft has forgotten a vital component for any story cutscene, the ability to skip them. So, be prepared to watch as characters drone on and on during the cutscenes figuring out the plot.

Just the same, the artstyle is going to alienate some longtime fans. While using the Unreal engine to render things such as particle effects, fire and energy beams is a delight to behold, said delight is replaced by revulsion watching the stiff character faces barely emote when watching a cutscene. These animations make Mass Effect: Andromeda look like the Witcher 3.

Half the time, the characters don't even talk. RYUK DOESN'T EVEN HAVE A VOICE!

What's odd is that in the non-essential cutscenes, when the characters barely move and don't have voices, the writing actually improves. Seeing various characters from different franchises interact with each other, brings a small delight to a mess of a game. Watching Zoro tutor Asta while Kenshin watches on or seeing Deku be a student to Kakashi's lectures is the stuff of fan dreams. It's too bad these moments are few and fleeting.

And while 42 Characters in a base game is nothing to sneeze at, fans of Shounen Jump crossover games have already called out Developer Spike Chunsoft. While more famous franchises such as Dragonball Z, Naruto and One Piece boast a whopping 6 representatives each, more obscure franchises are either not represented or have a meager 1 character, such as City Hunter's Ryo Saeba or Fist of the North Star's Kenshiro.

Meanwhile, mainstays from previous Jump crossover games such as Dr. Slump's Arale, Kochikame's Ryotsu, Bobobo's Bobobo, D Grayman's Allen Walker, Reborn's Tsuna Sawada and Gintama's Gintoki are all missing (though there is speculation they would be added later as Downloadable Content locked away with a paywall).

And yet...

God, it's just such a fangasm seeing characters from different franchises duke it out with one another. Seeing Jotaro fight with Deku. Seeing Asta cross blades with Dai. Seeing Goku trade blows with Kenshiro is just one of my biggest dreams. There's a germ of an idea here but it's botched by piss-poor execution.

I'm just so sick of games I would've loved missing the mark and not reaching their full potential.

Caveat: Shounen Jump, Shueisha and Bandai Namco have a rare opportunity on their hands. Having the ability to have a character as old as Seiya have a fist fight with a modern character like Deku is one of the rare privileges a company can have alongside with Marvel, DC Comics and Nintendo. So, it's unfortunate when Bandai Namco and Spike Chunsoft drop the ball and start limiting the roster, overpopulating it with familiar franchises instead of obscure ones and start nickeling and diming its customers with stupid DLC policies.

Say what you will about the (very) imperfect JStars Victory Vs (which was also developed by Spike Chunsoft and published by Bandai Namco), the one thing that game did right was introduce a plebian like me to series such as Medaka Box, Assassination Classroom, The Disastrous Life of Saiki K, Toriko and Beelzebub.

And while I did enjoy the extensive customization and gained a sick sense of pleasure whenever I finish off an opponent with DIO's Road Roller, part of me couldn't help but wonder when Kinnikuman is going to get the recognition he deserves. Maybe when Shounen Jump has its 55th anniversary, they can give its vast legacy of characters a game worthy of 50 years.

We'll always have Jump Ultimate Stars on the DS.

Verdict: Rental or Wait for a Sale

 

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