Long story short… HELL YEAH!
After playing the demo I already knew it was going to be good but the full game exceeded expectations, and that is the opinion from a fan both of fighting games and of the manga.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle is a 3D fighting game based on the long running and wildly fantastic manga series called JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (for those who hadn’t figured that out already) by Hirohiko Araki and it is my honest opinion that CyberConnect2 and Bandai Namco has done that man proud. I can’t imagine a JoJo fan that wasn’t happy with the game.
Graphically the game looks great, the visual style of the backgrounds and the character models were a complete and authentic recreation of Hirohiko’s art work. Naturally a game like this wouldn’t get by on just its looks, no matter how good they were. All of the characters iconic moves, poses and fighting styles are faithfully reproduced, including the horse mounts from the Johnny Joestar arc.
Thinking about it, it also marks the first fighting I’ve ever played a fighting game using a horse. Personally I tended to favour the characters with stands. The added attack range suits my play style.
As always my favourite game mode was the Story Mode. I got to relive all the great battles of the JoJo family line and proved to be a great recap for fans who haven’t read the earlier volumes for a while and a good way to introduce new fans to the epic tale that is JoJo.
A nice (and at times very much needed) touch was the choice to buy stat buffs/debuffs for the especially tricky rounds using gold earned from battles. There were times these proved to be a true boon.
When you’re done enjoying the story mode you can hone your skills in the practice or campaign modes or jump straight into the Verses mode to take on other players locally/online or the CPU. If you’d rather wait for your thumbs to stop burning you can enjoy the art work you would have unlocked or the glossary with more detailed information on the JoJo universe. And when you’ve done that there’s a hefty amount of DLC enjoy.
Ok now, everything I have mentioned up to now is probably more geared towards the manga fan rather than the gaming fan but fear not, there is plenty for a real fighting gamer too.
After I got about half way through the story mode and had the chance to play with a few different characters and battle styles I started to notice some of the little nuances hidden in the battle system. At first glance you would be forgiven for looking at the simplified control structure of Light attack, medium attack, heavy attack, throw, etc and thinking it’s a simple, straight forward fighter. An easy game made for fans of an old manga, but no. There’s a whole other level of playing this game.
Utilising jump cancel, stand cancel and the like you open up whole new combo options, which will require some experimenting to discover and master, while other things to consider are how some characters can even regenerate health to keep faithful to the story, such as Dio the vampire. I also noticed how some battles were flat out, one sided, both working for me and against me. For example, one battle had me fighting a guy with physical attacks with a fairly epic reach where as my character’s reach was rubbish. It sucked balls but it did force me to create a new strategy, which I liked a lot as opposed to getting stuck using the same simple, safe, stagnant attack pattern.
There’s even more to it than that but I can’t really say too much more without robbing you of the mystery and the fun of experimenting. Frankly I’ve only gossiped away this much to make sure the more hardcore fighting gamers out there don’t pass it up on a whim due to its easy beginning.
The verdict is JoJo fans will love it and fighter fans will love it whether they’ve heard of JoJo or not if they give it the chance it deserves…… and it really does. Two very sore, achy, blistered thumbs up.