From the pages of Hirohiko Araki’s famous magna comes JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle. The game offers a character roster from all eight manga arcs that feature in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure pitting them against each other in one-on-one combat. Debuting in 1986, JoJo’s manga series storyline revolves around guardians named Stands. The series never captivated western audiences like other classics such as Dragon Ball Z so will the game stand up against other well established fighting titles?
Fans of the manga will be pleased to hear 32 of the series’ unconventional characters make their way into the arcade style fighter. Split into five defined fighting techniques – Hamon, Vampirism, Mode, Stand and Mount – the roster is full of entertaining characters to choose from. Hamon’s can call upon EX style special moves. Vampirism characters recharge health a helpful skill in a fighting title. Modes can switch into a more powerful state of being. Stand fighters call upon guardians in keeping with the manga series. Finally, Mount characters can, as the name suggests, ride into combat on horseback. The roster is unfortunately not evenly split between the five classes but the styles do suit each fighter.
While it would be nice to say the splitting the roster into five groups has helped balance JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle. Alas, is it not possible. With not a huge amount of depth into each style there is a problem with how each performs against another class. Thankfully, all players can still use the dodge mechanic to avoid badly timed attacks. This helps keep players that have taken time to master the game and learn timings above any less experienced competition. This certainly didn’t work in my favor as button mashing is my preferred combat technique for most arcade style fighter titles.
CyberConnect2, known for the Ultimate Ninja series, has managed to create a solid gameplay engine. The major features seen in arcade fighters are on offer, from basic combos to a special attack gauge or meter. It is clear that an attempt has been made to put JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle up alongside the established fighters. The game doesn’t seem to push the boundaries to go above and beyond in terms of gameplay though.
The control system enables this gameplay to then flow. Precise inputs are by far more effective than button mashing, as with most fighting titles. Light to heavy attacks can be chained together with relative ease and some understanding of timing. This coupled with the block and dodge system means that players cannot hope to blame the control system. There can be no serious claims of failure in matches being due to the controls. For a genre which focuses on the inputs of a player where a single failed input can at least put the player at a major disadvantage, if not out of the round, this is key for any solid fighter title.
The game feels like it has been made to a solid, but safe, standard in most areas. This comes to an abrupt, and welcome, halt when inspecting the games visuals. The simplest description is a stunning vivid 2D artworks that then abuse one another on the screen at the players command. The graphical shader system is undoubtedly of on the best features of the presentation. Somehow this makes the colorful manga pages spill over into the game in all their beauty. It is this presentation that sparks up the title and gives its life and soul. This is the part of the game where its own flare has been added and to great effect. The fun nature of manga is truly brought to the game by this visual presentation and it enhances the experience of the whole game.
Yes, the game may not be completely balanced and by staying safe has hampered its ability to stand out gameplay wise but JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle manages to be fun. All good arcade games of all genres, not just fighting, must capture this fun element to offer a memorable experience. The presentation will please the fans of the manga series and gamers new to the franchise alike.
The flaws cannot be overlooked because of the fun nature captured by the title as occasionally the unbalanced nature will cause the feared gamers rage but what fighting game doesn’t. Fans of JoJo prior to now will undeniably enjoy the title more and going into the game with little knowledge of the characters can be slightly confusing, but this is the case for any new game of the genre. Whether or not gamers new to the series will be converted remains to be seen, but certainly a few hours of fun can be had from a fighting game with such an alluring style.
[Editor’s Note: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle was reviewed on the PlayStation 3. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle Review,