Jump Force, the review of the fighting game All Star

Who I am
Catherine Le Nevez
@catherinelenevez
Author and references
Any good fan of Japanese anime and manga, to the announcement of Jump Force, he must have had the same reaction: a mixture of excitement and terror. The joy arising from the possibility of seeing all together "under the same roof" iconic figures of Japanese culture, such as Naruto, Luffy, Kenshiro, Goku and many others, immediately clashed with the fear of witnessing a new ip with little appeal , supported, solely, by the exorbitant size of the aforementioned characters and by all that follows. We are sorry to say, but the doubts of the eve, after having literally gutted the fighting game of Bandai Namco, have all been confirmed and, indeed, aggravated by further shortcomings which, in all honesty, we would not have expected to find. After all, Spike Chunsoft he had already tried with J-Stars Victory Vs, of which Jump Force is practically the spiritual successor, with the same mediocre result, net of a mammoth and potentially infinite starting material on which to base. We want, however, to break a very small lance in favor of production: there is something that can be saved, but it has a very small aura!
As was widely expected, the first, huge, flaw attributable to the production is related to the single player mode, the so-called campaign. Despite the simultaneous presence of all (or almost) of the most famous heroes of Weekly Shonen Jump magazine, the story that accompanies the numerous clashes amazes continuously for banality and unwillingness to really tell something. This is a heavy flaw to digest, also because this basic superficiality also extends to the spectacular cast, in which the various Kenshiro, Ichigo, Rufy, but also manga super villains like Aizen, Freezer and so on, they are incredibly flat and with an almost non-existent charisma. The plot of Jump Force can be explained almost in this way: a being with unimaginable powers has created a sort of gap between the dimensions, connecting the "real" world to that of the Universes branded Jump, making sure that good and bad from the spectacular Dragon Ball, Naruto, Bleach or Yu of the seven spirits they ended up catapulted all together into the same world. The story then takes place in our world, where the venom, beings corrupted by the power of the cube of shadows, which plagiarizes the mind and spirit of those with whom they come in contact, guided by the mysterious Kane, they begin a work of merciless and inexorable destruction. For this reason, the brave director Glover (a sort of Nick Fury, to understand) has decided to assemble, putting together the brave heroes from the various manga worlds, a task force, called, precisely, Jump Force, with the final task of arresting the advance of the plague of venom and shed light on the nefarious events that are scourging the whole world or, better said, all worlds. Among the ranks of the heroes, our avatar also appears, a human, found at the end of his life by Future trunks. With the support of a mysterious technology, the latter saves the unfortunate and brings him back to life, thanks also to the power of the mysterious cubes. For reasons that we do not want to reveal to you, our alter ego is immune to the evil energy of the Umbras cubes and, indeed, once merged with them it will derive several advantages, including the genesis of powers comparable to those of the various heroes of the Jump universes.
Once we have created our avatar, through a fairly sparse but all in all functional editor, we begin to familiarize ourselves with the actual game structure. Once we arrive at the Jump Force base, we realize that the base itself is carefully divided into three operational sectors: Alpha, Beta and Gamma, with different tasks and led by one of the heroes in question: the Alpha team, led by Son Goku, has the task of facing the enemy troops directly, the Beta team (led by Luffy) has the objective of reconquering the fallen territories in hand to the enemy, while the Gamma team is somewhat to be considered as a sort of team of "spies", in which characters like Sasuke or Kakashi from Naruto stand out, therefore the ninjas. Not surprisingly, Naruto Uzumaki is at the head of the team, and he will be one of the first to welcome the protagonist, inviting him to join his faction. The choice of the team to which one belongs, which at first may seem important and radical, is actually rather marginal: whatever your choice, it will have practically no consequences for either playful or narrative purposes, if not for some sequence or some dialogues. Once you have chosen the faction (and miraculously found the suitable indicator to continue with the story (believe us, it will not be so easy to succeed), the game shows its true nature. We are, to give a practical example, in a central hub. which is very reminiscent of productions such as Destiny and, above all, the various Dragon Ball Xenoverse, in which, speaking with the appropriate NPCs, it is possible to start a main mission, an extra mission, or a free mission or one of all the other activities that the game offers, both solo and multiplayer. Precisely in this respect, Jump Force probably shows its worst side. The missions that make up the main story, punctuated by forgettable skits and all very similar to each other, are repetitive until exhaustion and fail never to distance themselves from each other, resulting almost in a single and alienating block. Even the secondary missions suffer from the same problem, reducing themselves to continuous recycling, both narrates tive is, and above all, playful. This huge "savings job", performed on the main story and various missions, unfortunately extends to the actual game world as well. The central hub, which you can choose to share or not with other online players, is sparsely populated with various activities or points of interest. The same NPCs, mostly shopkeepers, almost always sell the same (few) things, among which upgrades, cosmetic items and various techniques stand out. To be fair, these last two points did not leave us indifferent, on the contrary: the techniques present are many and very faithful to the original material and the possibility of being able to wear the mask of Ichigo, the uniform of Piccolo or the questionable sandals of Luffy has us snatched a smile of satisfaction on more than one occasion.
Staying on the subject, the role-playing aspect of the title is another of those elements that contribute to throwing further fuel on the fire on an incredibly rough and superficial production. The various costumes, as we said, do not offer any practical bonus, but not only that: although the avatar and all the allies have a skill level, it minimally affects the gameplay. Increasing a level increases the statistical parameters (without the possibility of customization) of your alter ego and the possibility of equipping a greater number of skill modifiers. Once again an approximate work, which is partly saved by the clearly more marked importance of economic currency, essential for purchasing new techniques, precisely cosmetic objects and modifiers, to customize your videogame counterpart as much as possible. All these aspects, guilty only sketched out and not very relevant, are then added to a playful offer which, like the hub, is poor in terms of variety. The missions, as we said previously, are too similar to each other, and the absence of a real purpose to carry them out (if not for mere completeness or to unlock some skills, not wanting to buy it) weighs heavily on the production by Spike Chunsoft and Bandai Namco. The main missions are all (or almost) reduced to the same vein: one of the heroes has fallen under the influence of the Umbras cubes and has to free them. Once defeated, in the usual fight, usually accompanied by one of the heroes present at the base, the same cutscene will start, in which the unfortunate in question makes amends for his mistakes and asks to join the team. If the main campaign, therefore, appears forgettable, the situation, unfortunately, does not change even if you look at the cooperative sector of the title: together with the inevitable local fights, the title offers the usual online games (fundamental once the campaign is completed to enhance further your character), divided into the classic quick and ranked games. Not only that: in Jump Force there is the possibility to directly challenge another player met in the game hub, with the simple press of a button, with which it is also possible to analyze the data sheet of the potential opponent. Nothing sensational to register even in this respect, therefore, but we like to note that most of the fights have proved to be quite stable, without however neglecting an annoying lag that has occasionally undermined the stability of the game servers. 
The best aspect of the production is certainly the one related to the roster of usable heroes: the fighters, coming from ben sixteen different famous works by Weekly Shonen Jump, are well quarantine (others will arrive later via DLC), all fabulously featured. Every single character present in the title of Bandai Namco is "replicated" in an impeccable way, and this is evident above all if you look at the techniques they have: whether it is Luffy from One Piece or Asta from Black Clover, passing through Seiya and Shiriu from Saint Seiya, every single hero can boast of a fair amount of techniques, all faithful to the original material and really beautiful to look at, for all fans of the original works, of course, but also for the "new" players. The techniques in question, then, scenic and perfectly replicated, represent one of the major strengths of the piacchiaduro, but suffer from a balance, frankly, questionable. Some techniques, such as Son Goku's “Kamehameha” or Shiriu's “Excalibur”, appear much more powerful than the others and risk deeply undermining the correct outcome of the various clashes. We happened, indeed, to fall, despite the initial domination, under a few of these blows, thrown in an obsessive way by the opponent (in most cases moved by artificial intelligence), going to nullify an entire fight. We would have expected, however, a few more characters from some manga, represented by far too few exponents (just think of Black Clover, of which only the Auction is present) but for this there is room for growth in the future. 
Coming to the heart of the matter, that is the combat system, we cannot fail to be overall satisfied with the work done by the guys at Spike Chunsoft. The many heroes present are excellently reproduced, once on the field, and the fights, for this reason, are always different and fairly fun. It should immediately be noted that Jump Force moves deeply away from any competitive and technical aim and, for this reason, is supported by a very simple and accessible combat system. Along with the classic heavy and light attacks, parrying, dodging and jumping, in the game there are some small characteristics attributable, albeit with the necessary differentiations, to the classic "Combo", so dear to fans of the genre. Not only that: each character who gives life to the clashes, strictly three against three in full Battle Arena style, has four exclusive techniques available (also similar to the protagonist) that can be performed by loading the concentration bar and with the combination of the right backbone. added to one of the three keys between circle / B, square / X or triangle / Y. The remaining key, the X / A, is reserved for the Awakening technique which, somewhat like in Soul Calibur VI, is a powerful move that can be performed when in poor health.  As we had already anticipated previously, some solutions related to skills have not completely convinced us, in terms of balance, specifically. Just as some techniques are far too powerful compared to others, the same can be said of the Awakening techniques: some are clearly more powerful than the others and, above all, differently difficult to avoid. All this without forgetting that some characters have more Awakening techniques available (such as Goku and Vegeta who become SSJ Blue), an appreciable factor, of course, but which tends to further unbalance some clashes. We were not convinced, in truth, not even by the parade, which is all too effective in some situations and, above all, the choice of offering an all too marked randomness as regards the execution of the techniques. We have often been interrupted while performing a technique simply because the opponent did the same thing, and so on. An incomprehensible choice that we just can't explain. Despite everything, however, we just can't help but reveal to you that we had fun brawling happily, and that, probably, Jump Force is one of the best fighting games, for simplicity and learning curve, to which a neophyte of the genre could approach.
Technically speaking, unfortunately, Jump Force once again manages to nullify the original starting material, offering a glance that is anything but appreciable. If we exclude phenomena of a strictly technical nature, such as an annoying pop-in and pop-up, a rendering of the environments that is anything but memorable, with almost zero environmental interaction attached, is what makes the nose turn up heavily. incredibly subdued polygon modeling. The same heroes, although on the whole similar and well reproduced, to a more attentive eye are not free from numerous defects, with a truly disappointing overall image quality. The recycling of the models of the enemies, then, is at times frustrating, and excluding the various bosses, it will seem to us to almost always face the same opponent. The situation, then, does not improve even once you take the field: the technical sector, during the fights, is exposed to solutions that are too chaotic, in which the pyrotechnic skills end up making the fight itself almost unmanageable which, inevitably, it boils down to pressing all the keys at random quickly. All of this is further aggravated by the long and frequent uploads, which make the gaming experience even more problematic. Graphically speaking, therefore, Jump Force stains itself with the same errors found at the base of the entire production, trying to dare too much and ending, with all due respect to the many fans, to offer a mediocre product and unable to leave a mark, net of a starting material from which to draw almost unlimited. L’Unreal Ungine 4, the graphics engine used, is decidedly inconspicuous but, on the other hand, makes the title stable overall, at least as regards the version PlayStation 4 Pro, the one we tested in the review phase. What really left us a good impression, however, is the audio sector, more precisely the dubbing: practically all the heroes have the same voice as their "real" counterpart and be able to hear the same cries (which in normal conditions are more than annoying) of good old Asta is a real cure-all. 
Jump Force is exactly what we would have expected: an ambitious product dictated by fanservice, but which, after all, is mediocre in more than a moment. If you really want to turn a blind eye (or even two) to the repetitive and banal campaign, the same cannot be done with regards to elements such as depth of gameplay and hero balance, two essential factors for a fighting game. The latter, in particular, is really lacking and risks strongly undermining the fate of the meetings, which appeared to be fun anyway, but too chaotic and devoted to button mashing. All this is aggravated by a forgettable visual sector, in which the original material is used little and badly, especially as regards the rendering of the settings. To save the situation, for example, the choice of entrusting the dubbing of the various characters to the same as their anime counterpart thought about it: an intriguing move that we appreciated a lot. All in all, it remains a fun product and a real sensory explosion for all fans of Japanese manga and anime, provided, however, to omit, in the overall evaluation, a good number of glaring and difficult to understand defects. USEFUL INFO

I literally stripped the title (on Normal difficulty), on my PlayStation 4 Pro





Duration
  • Repetitive and banal as few, the main campaign defends itself well in terms of longevity, but considering everything, probably it is not a strong point, quite the contrary.
Structure
  • Italian in the lyrics, only Japanese (fortunately) the dubbing.
  • Supporto 4K e HDR su PlayStation 4 Pro e Xbox One X.
  • Difficulty level selectable at first start.
  • Possibility to choose whether to play online or offline.
Collectibles and Extras
  • In the game there are challenge and extra missions, which are used to unlock techniques (moreover, they can also be purchased simply by shopkeepers).
  • There are no collectibles.
Game Card
  • Game Name: Jump Force
  • Release date: October 12, 2018
  • Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Dubbing language: Japanese
  • Texts language: English
Review by Salvatore Cardone
Graphics

One of the main negative points of the whole production is certainly represented by the technical sector: if you want to give a (huge) applause for the representation of the many techniques of the many characters and the fidelity of the latter (without looking at them carefully, however) to the their "real" counterpart, the same cannot be said for elements such as polygonal modeling, the rendering of environments and stability in general. The title, albeit accompanied by HDR, is not really surprising but rather suffers from numerous problems, ranging from pop-ups, frequent lag and all too marked and recurring aliasing.



60
SOUNDTRACK AND DOUBLE ROOM

One of the most successful things of the whole production is precisely the audio: the background music that accompanies the clashes is fairly catchy, but what really left us with a smile on our lips is the dubbing (only Japanese), in which it is It is possible to recognize the same original voices of Son Goku, Naruto, Luffy, Ichigo and all the other protagonists of Jump Force. A commendable work, from this point of view.



65
GAMEPLAY

Although simplistic and far from the competitive aims of other exponents of the genre, the gameplay of Jump Force just fails to be memorable: we are faced with an excessively chaotic and frenetic product, in which, often, the winner is whoever manages to press several keys at the same time. , not to mention some really questionable choices (see the interruptions to super techniques and the like). A real shame, but all in all the game manages to entertain, especially if you have no particular aims in this regard.

65
Total Rating scale
65
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