Jump Force (PS4) Review

JUMP FORCE

I wanted this to be good so much… *sigh*. So, here we have Jump Force, the latest crossover game featuring characters from Weekly Shonen Jump!, the most popular manga comic in Japan, and publishers of such classics as Dragon Ball, One Piece, Bleach, Death Note and many… many more. With such an endless wealth of things to use and play with, how does a company fail to deliver? Well, let’s find out, shall we!

Background:

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If you’re one of the people in this photo, you win the prize!

Jump Force was released in Japan on February 14th 2019, with the rest of the world getting it a day later. It was released on the PS4, Xbox One and PC, and had various collector’s editions and the like.

Made to celebrate Shonen Jump’s 50th Anniversary, Jump Force features Goku, Vegeta, Piccolo, Future Trunks, Frieza and Cell from Dragon Ball, Luffy, Zoro, Sanji, Sabo, Boa Hancock and Blackbeard from One Piece, Naruto, Sasuke, Kakashi, Gaara, Kaguya and Bortuo from Naruto (and Boruto…), Ichigo, Rukia, Aizen and Renji from Bleach, Jotaro and Dio from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Yusuke and Toguro from YuYu Hakusho, Gon, Killua, Kurapika and Hisoka from Hunter X Hunter, Kenshin and Makoto from Rurouni Kenshin, Seiya and Shiryu from Saint Seiya, and finally, Kenshiro, Ryo, Dai, Yugi, Asta and Izuku from Fist of the North Star, City Hunter, Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Black Clover and My Hero Academia, respectively. Light Yagami and his shinigami ally Ryuk from Death Note also appear in story cutscenes.

Director Glover, Kane and Galena are three new characters designed by Akira Toriyama of Dragon Ball fame. As per usual, they mostly look like character he’s created before, making me think he didn’t really care about it. Kane is just Hit from Dragon Ball Super, and Galena looks like she’s straight from the Xenoverse characters he’s already designed…

Gameplay:

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I’ve never watched or read City Hunter, but Ryo has one of the most enjoyable movesets in the game…

The game is an “arena fighter”, meaning you can move freely around the 3D fighting space, and that space is often destructible. It’s 3-on-3 only, and oddly, the entire team shares a health bar and a super meter, meaning really there isn’t any reason to swap your fighters out, other than if you just fancy a change of moveset. You have a melee button that if pressed multiple times will lead you to do an auto-combo, a combo that often includes vanishing and reappearing suddenly above your flung opponent to strike them, Dragon Ball style, along with blocks and dodges and the like. The super moves are a choice of three moves and an ultimate attack for each character, though the ultimate attack can only be used once you’ve built up enough meter, like most fighting games.

Have you played one of the Dragon Ball Xenoverse games? Well then, imagine that set up, but far fewer things to do. Once again you start the game by creating an Avatar to play as and you’re soon thrown into a world where many people like you hang out in a hub before going out in missions, except this time instead of the Time Patrol you’re a member of the “Jump Force” (or J-Force, as it’s often spoken aloud… and occasionally in the subtitles…) a group of warriors from different worlds who are working together to not only find out how this happened, but to stop your world from being destroyed by the same people.

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This is what most of your later fights will look like…

Once again you have main story missions and side missions, but the side missions this time are literally just exhibition matches with sometimes random drops associated with them. Not unique dialogue playing during battle, not travelling between areas, not even any boss battles, just silent, regular exhibition matches. That’s all there is, well, alongside offline fighting and online modes, though once again that’s just exhibition matches. Once you’ve done the story mode there’s just generic fights with often pointless rewards to do, getting increasingly more and more frustratingly difficult as it goes on…

Actually, that’s something else I’d like to mention: the A.I. It’s pretty poor. Sometimes it just gets hit by everything, other times it blocks until you give up and try to either hit a hard strike or throw it to negate the block, and then dodges past which ever you chose and nabs you in a combo string. I got completely destroyed by an A.I. Yuskue and his endless Spirit Gun spamming, clicked retry and then completely destroyed him with a Perfect, using the same characters and not really doing anything different. Some of the rock hard levels are easily defeated by just choosing Aizen, as he can erect a wall of energy using “Airtight”, a move that seemingly baffles the A.I, causing them to just block and then jump backwards a few times, or sometimes run into it and get flung back. Meanwhile you hold down the unblockable Hado #90: Black Coffin move and absolutely destroy them in one hit. Handy for when you just want to get through to the end…

Graphics and Sound:

JUMP FORCE_20190218160809

My avatar stands firm in the aftermath of a flashy attack…

One thing I will praise the game for is the look. They went with a psuedo-realistic look for the characters, and while sometimes it looks weird, it is visually impressive. The environments are really crisp and detailed, the lighting is also great, not just on the stages but for the big showy moves which often leave glowing bits of energy floating in the sky afterwards. The animations are top-notch as well, especially for the super moves that involve a bit of cutscenes to them.

Sounds is fine, no memorable tunes (and the Hub world music will drive you  crazy after a while…) but nothing bad in either the voice work or music really…

Story:

JUMP FORCE_20190220154826

“Yo! I’m Son Goku!”   “Well, that was easy…”

As stated, the “Jump Worlds” and the “Real World” are colliding and you, a regular human, are turned into a Jump hero by being given an “umbras cube” when you nearly die. Cue new world full of crazy characters, a robot navigator who will take the evil out of enemy umbras cubes to gain new allies, and a director who acts all super nice to the point where you know full well he’s going to betray you.

The people responsible for the destruction are Kane and Galena, the former of which wishes to collect enough evil energy in the umbras cubes to wipe out humanity in response to the death of his family. Logical! During the course of the journey you come up against that cross-over game cliché of evil doppelgängers, as well as fight the various villains already in the game, some of which are happy to help out with the merging of worlds…

As previously mentioned, Director Glover turns out to be the real mastermind behind everything, being a “Keyman” called Prometheus whose job it was to relate the stories of the Jump Worlds to humanity, but the task drove him to hate humanity’s vices instead. He is, of course, killed by your Avatar in the final battle, with a little help from various heroes, as well as from Kane. It’s… poor, really. Just a long string of “this person has shown up, remove the evil from him with this special robot” missions, followed by “an evil duplicate has shown up, destroy it!”. No real effort put in at all…

Downloadable Content:

A season pass featuring nine new characters has been announced, but no further details are known as present…

Final Thoughts (Now):

JUMP FORCE_20190220154826

One of the few good things is how this game gave us visual representations of stuff from Bleach’s yet to be (and probably never will be) adapted final story arc…

Jump Force is an empty shell, it has a bare-bones story and not much else to do beyond exhibition matches. It’s flashy, and it’s definitely fun to play as all these various characters and see their moves the first few times, but it gets old, and with nothing new or interesting to do, you grow tired fast… Sadly, Jump Force should be avoided. Maybe it will sell enough to get a sequel, and with the framework in place, maybe it’ll actually be good? That’s the best I can get from the game, I’m afraid…

2 Star Game New

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