Review: Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle (Import)
It’s been 25 years since the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure manga originally began, yet despite huge success in the printed medium there was a general shortage of the mandatory anime, games and other such items that usually follow. But since last year this is no longer true, and following on from the incredibly awesome anime, which finished back in April, we now have a fighting game fans won’t be forgetting any time soon.
Update: Against all odds, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle was eventually localised and released in the West. Please click here to view my updated review of the English version of the game.
In comparison to the anime, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle takes place over a significantly larger time period, and whilst the show’s 26 episodes only cover the manga’s first 2 parts, this game has content from all 8. This allows for a huge amount of variety when it comes down to character and stage design. The result is a game that is truly stunning to look at, but has so much story and depth that a non-japanese speaking player (like myself) is undoubtably going to come into a few problems.
The fighting mechanics are a little imprecise but fun, and the game has a cool mix of 2D and 3D gameplay. Personally I’m surprised that CybetConnect2 didn’t go for a more anime inspired look, like Ark System Works did with Persona 4: Arena, but the result isn’t necessarily an inferior look. Up close the characters have a larger than life appearance and can make some pretty terrifying facial expressions a lot like those in One Piece: Pirate Warriors. But the attention to detail, beautiful cell shading and vibrant stage design makes for some spectacular visual effects.
Because of this, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle is one of those fighting games you don’t really have to be any good at to enjoy. This is fortunate, as if you cant figure something out you’re not going to be getting much help. Some characters can fight on horseback for instance, and this is awesome. Problem is that you can fall off your horse, and I’m yet to work out how to get back on it (update: it’s the R1 button. Easy when you know how, right?). If you’re looking to import then the game is for the most part completely playable, but I did have a few problems. In the end I think I worked out how to change the difficulty, but I can’t be certain. The main menu is partially in English, but beware, ‘Arcade’ mode is hidden away behind the cross button, and ‘Campaign’ secretly means online mode.
The story mode in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle is fairly unconventional for a fighting game. It’s split into chapters which correspond to volumes in the manga, and then you’re given missions specific to each chapter. The problem with this is that each chapter has you playing with the same three or four characters and on the same stage. Presumably this was to allow for a story that stayed true to it’s source material, rather than mashing characters from different time periods together into a bizarre soup. Unfortunately whilst the game does have a large character roster and a lot of different stages, playing this mode doesn’t showcase this to its fullest.
To be honest you probably already know if you want a fighting game set in the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure universe. If you do then I’m pleased to announce that this is a great game that is going to satisfy a lot of fans. If you’re new to the series then the anime is a better place to start, but the bright visuals and over the top characters still make for a game with obvious appeal.