Shonen fighting games have tried extremely hard in the west to get picked up by a larger audience in the west. Coincidently, it is publisher Bandai Namco who has been a huge supporter in publishing these IPs to a global market. Froun Saint Seiya: Soldiers’ Soul to J-Stars Victory VS+, these titles have come and gone in the west with very little pick up outside of the general fan circle.
With Jump Force, it seems like Bandai Namco has pulled out all the stops in terms of development, marketing, and gathering all the Shonen IPs they can to create the perfect title to not only market off of longtime fans, but also get the attention of new players and the fighting game community. With beautiful graphics and a roster of recognizable characters, there’s a lot riding on the actual gameplay for Jump Force. However, I don’t think that anyone has anything to worry about because Jump Force is crazy fun and I can’t wait to play more.
As the Jump Force closed beta weekend has come and gone, we had some hands-on time with the online mode of the game. The playable roster included many of the revealed characters including the most recent Saint Seiya, but sadly Yugi Muto was left out meaning no Dark Magician Girl, bummer. However, with that said the roster was much larger than I expected and included characters from Dragon Ball, Bleach, Naruto, One Piece, Hunter X Hunter, and more.
Each character has a nice amount of detail that brings each of these 2D characters to life. Developer Spike Chunsoft have definitely gone over these designs with a fine comb to create these character’s likenesses in scall and definition. I can’t express just how impressed I am with these the design team. However, making these characters to scale requires some adjustments when it comes to characters like Marshall D. Teach who is much larger than the other characters which make them difficult to see past Blackbeard’s huge body.
Gameplay in the online mode of Jump Force has players match up against other players who each get to choose three characters to bring into battle with them. These characters can be switched in and out or used as assist characters depending on what the player wants. The battles play out like cinema quality fights. The flashiness of the attacks and combos combined with the camera work of the battle makes you feel like you are less playing and more watching one of the best collaboration anime fights created.
Fighting in Jump Force requires a balance of offense and defense in order to excel in a fight. Knowing when to block, charge, or pursue an enemy is vital to obtaining victory. A special meter fills up during attacks and charges which allow a character to unleash powerful attacks, but an additional meter allows players to unleash character’s most notable skills like Goku’s Spirit Bomb. During the fight, characters will show visible signs of damage that alter their appearances such as ripped clothing or bruises, which just add to the aforementioned appeal of the design.
Playing the Jump Force Closed Beta has me eager to play more. Bandai Namco and Spike Chunsoft are giving me everything I could ask for in terms of a Shonen fighting game. Sure there were a few hiccups that I encountered, but most of the time it was due to someone rage quitting or a bad connection.
Jump Force seems like it has what it takes to be the fighting game that brings more fans to these franchises and could ultimately make this genre popular in the west. I am curious to see what the team does in terms of missions and story missions, but at this time I am completely sold on Jump Force and can’t wait to get my hands on it again.
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