The Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure manga has been very popular for many years. This popularity has led to it making the jump to other types of media, like anime and even video-games. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle is the latest video-game from the team that worked on the recent Naruto video-games, CyberConnect2.
The main attraction in the land of this new Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is the Story mode. It’s split up into seven parts with each containing different episodes to play through. The idea is that each part showcases a different story arch from the manga.
Completing each part won’t take long considering that most of them consist of three or four episodes. The real catch here is that each new episode unlocked becomes increasingly harder. This is due to the clever use of match conditions that will challenge players in different manners. As an added incentive for repeating these episodes, there are also extra episodes to uncover, by fulfilling secret conditions.
Those that complete each of the Story parts will have access to more characters, since it’s the only way to unlock them.
In typical Japanese style, trying to make sense of any of these individual stories is a real challenge. In fact, some of the story developments will raise a few eyebrows. It’s difficult to think of another video-game where one of the character’s attacks is fusing with a green baby.
All of these stories are told in text with the help of different background illustrations. No doubt that those keen on the Jojo’s Bizarre manga will find each of these short stories fascinating. Even more so given the fact they can play through the various fights from the manga.
As a bonus for keeping Western fans waiting, there is an Arcade mode included in this edition. In this mode, the main goal is to get through eight consecutive battles and fighting well to earn lots of gold.
The other main mode available to play through after downloading some data is the Campaign mode. In here, players take on AI controlled characters that have been customized by other players. Returning to the Campaign menu on a regular basis results in being given rewards, if the player’s AI character has defeated other players, who might come across the player’s AI character.
It’s one of the nicer aspects of this title and is reminiscent of Sega’s Virtua Fighter 5, where the player could take on AI controlled characters, that were gifted with player data from the arcade version.
Those itching to take their skills online or against friends in local matches can do so by making use of the Versus mode. Sadly it’s not possible to create lobbies online with spectators viewing a fight, whilst waiting for their turn to take on an opponent. Still, those that are keen on seeing just how good they are can enter ranked matches (or just friendly player matches) and potentially gain points for winning. Matches online are just as fast paced as those in offline modes.
The rewards earned in Campaign mode are used to unlock taunts and victory poses for each character. It’s then possible to edit one or more sets so a selected character will make use of preferred taunts and victory poses. There’s quite a few options to unlock, making it less likely for players to use the same custom character combinations.
But just what is it like to fight in this Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure title? There’s some variety to it given how characters have different fighting styles. One such style is Stand where the character has a doll like spirit helping in battle. Another battle style is Mounted, which sees the character being able to mount a horse and fight with it. Each of these different styles brings about a new way to fight. It’s fascinating to experiment with each of these styles. What is clear is that each fight is about the spectacle, given the style with which characters usually pull off their individual attacks.
There are plenty of absurd moves like a character being hit in the face by a golden warrior Stand spirit. This is before even mentioning the flashy finishers, like tying a defeated character to a moving train. A few of the grabs and special attacks are not as easy to avoid. Given the 3D nature of the fights, it’s possible to move to the side, and that is perhaps one of the many abilities expert players can use to their advantage.
It will take some time to deplete an opponent’s health bar and that is where both skills and special moves come in handy. In the case of special moves, they are usually part of the spectacle, with each resulting in an over the top animation. The fighting itself is a lot similar to Tekken in that it’s necessary to keep moving around the stage to gain the upper hand.
Even more so in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure where background gimmicks mean staying in the same spot is not wise. It adds an element of danger that makes fights exciting because both characters need to constantly move about. It certainly helps that fights are set in unusual locations from the manga, like the Kennedy Space Center, where objects keep falling from the sky. Perhaps the appeal of this bizarre world is due to the comic book style visuals.
Those wondering what is the point of earning coins will like to know that they are for buying extras like 2D art. It even makes completing those Story mode secret conditions easier, by allowing players to buy hints with coins. A handy incentive to keep playing given how short some of the Story chapters are.
The promise of new content being delivered via Campaign downloadable content packs is appealing. There are already over thirty character to choose from and this content will add even more characters and some new Story parts.
Playing Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle is probably just as effective as taking LSD. A delightful mix of everything wonderful and bizarre that is usually associated with Japanese culture. Although great in some aspects, like the fighting and varied cast, it’s also lacking content in some areas.
It’s certainly a must for any respectable JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure fan and even fighting genre enthusiastic should enjoy it for the fast paced fights.