Jump Force brings to life 50 years of Japan's most iconic manga characters, but is it a swing and a miss?
Shonen Jump is Japan's most lucrative Manga franchise, spawning such mega successes as Naruto, Dragon Ball and One Piece. Naturally, a brand this big would have everything to gain bringing their beloved characters into a cross-over fighting game... right?
Spike Chunsoft partnered up with Shonen Jump, and through the publishing of Bandai, brought Jump Force to eager gamers on Feb 15, in celebration of Shonen's 50 year anniversary.
This game pieces together a shaky storyline, where-in two tyrannical leaders attempt to merge the Shonen universe with that of Earth, and become the overlords of this new conjoined world. Leading the charge on this conquest are popular villains from Shonen such as Frieza (Dragon Ball) and Blackbeard (One Piece), and Venoms (Mind controlled villains) who follow as their minion underlings.
Players can expect to join the battle as their own custom character, a civilian who is killed by Frieza and brought back to life by the power of an Umbras cube. Your character is then imbued with special powers that allow you to fight and take on the powers of your super hero comrades.
Although the story line is a tad bit reductive, it does seem to be a pretty fantastic premise, fighting along side of your favorite anime characters, earning powers, fighting talents and saving the world.. Not a bad start!
As a new player, all of this does certainly wear off after the first few redundant battles. The battle system Spike Chunsoft has chosen in this case, unfortunately does not justice to the awesome fight scenes you may be used to seeing the aforementioned anime characters engage in.
The fighting styles lack finesse, AI opponents are predictable and slow to take advantage when you make a mistake. Making slight adjustments in the angle of your attacks can shake things up a little, and there is no shortage of advanced combos and special moves to take advantage of. However, these moves don't seem to be reliable, and slowly we fell back into the reliability of button mashing and spamming the same combos.
There didn't seem to be any reason to actually evolve and learn new techniques, it was all too easy to just smash attack buttons and unleash charged attacks. Overall, we felt underwhelmed at the fighting system, and honestly a bit let down considering how much justice some of these characters just didn't seem to receive.
All that said, Jump Force is certainly worth a play, if not just for the rush of unleashing a Kamehameha or fighting alongside Naruto as he devastates enemies with his Rasengan technique.
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