You’ve seen the excellency of “Naruto: Rise Of A Ninja”, and “One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3″. You probably grew up with the characters from Dragon Ball Z, and loved Yu-Gi-Oh! Now, get ready as Bandai Namco takes all of your favourite heroes and villains from Shonen Jump, puts them in a blender, and produces a video game that will leave you saying “please let this be a beta release”.
While the game itself isn’t terrible like some other titles that have come out in the past year, it isn’t exactly the type of game the grandkids of your grandkids would be playing. The game itself was built to celebrate 50 years of Shonen Jump, the magazine whose influence and popularity has rubbed off all around the world, and changed Japan’s culture itself. Considering that Jump Force was released to celebrate something that important, the game being just “okay”, means that Bandai Namco blew it. So, what did they get wrong? What was acceptable? Let’s break it down real quick.
What am I Doing Here? I Want my Mommy!
When the game itself starts off, you’re just some person of indeterminate gender who happens to be caught up in the crossfire as the world around you collapses. Neither you nor your character has any idea what’s going on, and this state of confusion will maintain itself right till the end of the game.
To begin with, this game has 40 different characters from 16 different series, all with extensive backstories, and this is excellent. I’m not complaining at all, because if you’re a true manga/anime fan, then you probably already know the backstories of every single one of those 40 characters. It’s also very hard to believe that a person who has no interest in this genre would ever play the game, so Bandai Namco definitely got this part right.
The part they didn’t really get right was everything that happened from the point where you were inducted into the Jump Force to the final battle. The story was quite fragmented and confusing, although, with some effort, you may able to put it together. Now, it can be easily said that nobody would play the game for the story, so the fact that the story is a little confusing is something most people would be willing to overlook. The part that anyone playing this game would look forward to is the combat, so hopefully, Bandai Namco really focused on this part and got it right, don’t you think?
Nope, not Really!
The combat IS fun… for maybe a full hour, before it gets too repetitive to be enjoyable. As with most fighting video games, there are several types of low-power attacks, high-power attacks, special attacks, and so on.
The range of attacks every character has is pretty diverse. However, the difference between a good combat system and a bad combat system is how you allow your players to combine these attacks. Generally, gamers tend to look down on games which allow you to win through button mashing without any skill whatsoever, and I’m afraid to say that this game is one of them.
While there are plenty of combos in the game itself, you don’t really need to learn all of them. Just learn one per character, and you should be good to go. Unfortunately, this doesn’t fill in as a “good” combat system.
If you took the combat system in Dead or Alive 5, the combat itself was extremely realistic, with a fighting style that was part ancient Japanese martial art and part MMA that focused on countering and split-second reaction. Since the game itself was a fighting game, and since the fighting itself was good, everybody was willing to overlook its utterly confusing storyline. Jump Force, on the other hand, has a lot of colour and lights, which is expected when powerful heroes and villains battle, but will sometimes be so overloaded that you don’t really have an idea of what’s going on, making button mashing your best option. You can counter, you can sidestep, and you do have a range of options during combat. Just. Not. Enough.
The character creation part is cool, since you can make your character look like one of your favourite anime/manga heroes, but good luck trying to get them to look like anyone else. Yes, there is a certain range of options on what your characters’ hair, face, and other body aspects look like, but the options you have are quite limited.
Graphics Sound & Performance
Ah, bugs, a word which has been associated with many video games in the past year. Definitely not a good sign. In the case of Jump Force, yes, the answer is yes.
Users have reported encountering several bugs in the game which led to the whole game crashing. But let’s take a step back from that arena and look at some other issues with the game itself.
To start off, the game doesn’t seem to have very intelligent use of resources. There are a ton of NPC’s who you have no interaction with, and who you wouldn’t miss. From a graphics standpoint, it would have been better to reduce the number of users NPC’s, and instead, use the processing power on other aspects of the game.
Another issue most users have reported was the loading times. No one likes terrible loading times, and it’s likely that the games’ next patch will improve loading times (and allow skipping cutscenes), which is a relief. Players have also noticed that the game tends to get laggy on certain cutscenes and that glitches happen to be frequent during combat itself. So overall, it’s mostly the usual stuff which represents a video game people might call “unfinished”, or lacking a final polish.
The Animations…outside the cutscenes were pretty terrible. I’ve always liked video games that had scenic imagery, lifelike animations, and terrific voice acting. Of course, in this game, the images may pass as scenic, the animations might pass as terrible, and the voice acting would pass as non-existent. Seriously. Most of the in-game dialogue did not have any voice over at all, and of course, it’s all in Japanese anyway. You have to read it all out, and it was amusing, to say the least. The dialogue was kinda cheesy and was one of the more interesting things in the game.
Since we are talking of animations. During combat, depending on the damage you received, your character’s clothing would be frayed, etc.… which is quite common in fighting games. In addition to this, you could also do level transitions like in the Injustice games, which you don’t find everywhere.
This game is certainly fun to a certain extent, and it definitely brings a bunch of fan-favourite characters together in one world, but this shared feeling among the Shonen Jump community that video game didn’t do justice to its brilliant origins. It just could have been a lot better.
About the Author
Ramesh Radhakrishnan is the content lead for OffGamers. An avid gamer, Ramesh is keen on exploring digital worlds and the world behind the scenes.