JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure’s recent game adaptation unexpectedly came out of Japan last month. JoJo is not exactly a well known franchise in the west, but All Star Battle beat the odds and made it here. Given the increasing number of American Otaku, the odds may be improving for other manga and anime based games. With the release of the final characters, people have a lot to say about this game which has exceeded the expectations of many.
The game is a visual cornucopia. From the second a player starts the game, they are bombarded with style and color. The opening scene plays and it is immediately apparent why the word bizarre is in the title. Once into the game, a person is greeted in the menus by characters from the manga, voiced by their actors from the anime, or by new actors hired just for the few lines spoken in the menu. The roster of characters does not contain a single dull character.
No two characters play exactly the same, each with their own attacks, animations, and unique quirks. Each little movement is ripped directly from the manga’s pages. From the attacks, to the jumps, to even how someone walks, the details were not ignored in the creation of the game. Two characters even ride horses in battle.
This unique manga based design makes some beautiful super and ultimate attacks, also straight from the manga, which look like they belong in an art museum. The game is detailed beyond what one would expect. These little details add up to make what a growing number of enthusiasts are describing as an amazing game.
The controls are designed so that even the newest fighting game fans can pick it up and start playing. Even the most advanced fighting game aficionados can find new ways to master the game and its controls. The defining characteristic of the game is that it is fun. The controls allow you a lot of freedom in game play, making it fun to more people. For those who prefer to play a casual fighting game that does not require tons of time to do anything in, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure satisfies just as much as for fans of a high complexity game. The complexity is not as high as games such as Blazblue, but it is complex enough not to alienate players of that caliber.
The story mode, most players agree, is the low point of the game. The designers failed to live up to the beautiful art and style of JoJo by making it a text based mode with nothing particularly unique about it. The campaign mode is rather different, however. It uses a battery bar that recharges at a rate of 2 minutes per energy piece. Energy is used to look for a “boss” which is a cpu that has a separate health bar from the one used in battle that takes damage each time its defeated in battle. Each time a player wins a battle they gain new alternate costumes or taunts that can be used to customize characters. Before starting battle, one can use energy to increase damage to the boss, creating a sense of strategy deciding whether they will use it all to make battle shorter or save it for when they need it.
The best, and worst, quality of this game is its loyalty to the manga. The loyalty gives characters exactly what they are able to do in the manga, disrupting the balance of power in the process. One such example is that Funny Valentine is able to completely restore his health once per battle. With enough training and experience, anyone could be powerful, and even the strongest fighters have exploitable weaknesses. The balance of power, however, is clearly shown at the beginner level.
One other minor complaint which has been raised is the name censorship. Many of the characters in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure are named after american bands, songs, and albums. Because of copyright concerns, names needed to be changed for the game. Some names are either poorly done or just not needed. Changing Aerosmith to Lil’Bomber has not been received well. While names like AC/DC and Killer Queen obviously needed to be changed, many feel that simple vague names like Kiss or Echoes did not really need editing. It does provide amusement, however to audibly hear Valentine summon “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” while the subtitles read, “Time to perform some nasty acts at a fair and reasonable price!”
Overall, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle has been described as an amazing game. The game play and the fun factor are definite draws. Despites\ some balance and translation issues, the game maintains high quality. Based on the fact that the game was designed for fans of the series, it still has massive appeal for those not familiar with the franchise. Fan or not, this game has an increasing following which has been affirming that this is not one to miss.
Review by Reuben Malone