Think fast – after months of anticipation Jump Force finally hits the scene, and with style to boot. Jump Force launched worldwide on February 15th on Steam, PS4, and Xbox platforms for $59.99 USD. Fan's will no longer have to wait to experience Yusuke beating Boroto down to a pulp… Or is that just me?
-This review was based on the Playstation 4: Pro iteration of Jump Force-
There are 42+ characters to experience from a plethora of manga streams which is why I was surprised a character creation was the first order of business Jump Force lined up for me. That's not to say the character creator was unwelcome, in fact, it's depth evenly matches the flair in JF's presentation.
There's a healthy assortment of cosmetic options here to create your Frankenstein of multiple beloved anime staples on one character. Perhaps more interesting are familiar assets I stumbled across that could supplement the current roster with created alternatives of widely recognized characters. For instance, Android 18ths hairstyle can be selected along with Koenma's trademark "Jr" mark; all in all, I was astounded by how well thought out the character creator was.
But that's likely not why you're here, you want combat! And man, do you get it. At first glance, the combat in J-Force seems shallow, with every character having up to three slots of normal abilities and a single slot for an "ultimate".
In typical manga fighter fashion, these abilities are flashy as hell. And while the character models look oddly plastic and lifeless in cutscenes they look incredible mid-fight. Fans will also be surprised by the interesting design choice the developers took on the life bar. Instead of having independent life bars, all three of your characters share a single bar. Meaning if your Deku is getting his tail kicked and you swap out to a "fresh" character for a reprieve, your life meter will remain the same.
You'll feel major shades of "Dragonball Z: Xenoverse" here but Jump Force succeeds as a Three-dimensional fighter where Xenoverse failed. We've seen in the past where developers would overload anime fighters with cosmetic content to compensate for a game with lackluster fighting mechanics. The fighting and content just so happen to be the greatest aspects of Jump Force and there always is a carrot that's worth dangling to be found.
My online experience was good, for the most part. Connection issues were scarce, and I was never booted from any match. The major issue that emerged, however, was how unintuitive the menus were for starting a match. If you went even tried to challenge a player in the hub world, you'll be met with an entire mess of an experience. Players will have a much better experience going to the Online clerk to satiate their online desires. While I admit, I'm not the best at fighting titles I'm fairly component. However, if you're like me you have minor panic attacks at the thought of going online in a fighting game. Yet, once I fired up a match I. Could. Not. Stop. Win or lose I was having an absolute blast. I never felt I was completely outmatched and truly felt empowered as I racked up the wins.
Speaking of wins, I was a huge fan of the idea of not making the win/loses obvious. I'm sure players are able to track it down somewhere but the only indication of your win/lose I noticed in the 25+ online matches I played was the online rank. This made the online multi-player more about the fun than it was about a pointless record. After my online experience, I can confidently say this is among the most approachable fighting games on the market, for both experts and newcomers to the genre alike.
While the story certainly has its strong points this isn’t anything you haven’t seen before if you are an anime fan. Much like any crossover collaborations, the story doesn’t deviate far from the standard formula of introducing a plethora of both famous and infamous characters. After over 20+ hours of gameplay I’d be hard-pressed to describe precisely what happens throughout the story. It’s just not very interesting. What it lacks in originality, however, is made up for golden moments from beloved characters. Seeing Goku interact with Luffy was a treat, especially considering the latter is inspired by Goku himself.
Audio & Visuals
There are a lot of good things to say about Jump Force, but unfortunately, the number of bad things isn't too far behind. Perhaps the most prominent issue was the technical difficulties that plagued Jump Force. Holy hell are load times lengthy in Jump Force, sometimes taking up to 40-45 (PS4 Pro Solid State Drive) just to get from screen to screen. The current load times are exceptionally long and had no business making it to the final release in its current state. In addition, the frame rate is incredibly choppy in the hub world. There's absolutely no way the Frame Rate is consistency hitting 30 FPS, and I'd even go as far as saying it would dip anywhere around 23-25 in more populated environments.
While these difficulties weren't game breaking, it looked terrible at times. These graphics aren't exactly showstoppers either, I find it hard to believe a consistent 30 (or even more) Frames Per Second was completely implausible (mileage may vary per platform). While Jump Force has its fair share of graphical issues the game's soundtrack is inoffensive at best, never amplifying these supersonic battles with the appropriate tone. On the bright side, the voice acting is over the top, as fans of the genre would come to expect, and sounds of the atomic explosions when punches connect are as satisfying as ever.
All in all, Jump Force meets the mark in all the areas it intended to succeed in. Combat is an absolute blast, and the game is brimming with plenty of customizable options. As far as the story goes, you've seen this before. The only bright spot to an otherwise forgetful tale was how these larger-than-life characters would interact with one another. For any Shonen Jump fan, this kind of fan service can certainly be appreciated. It's just a shame the game is marred with a bland story, unbearable loading screens, and frequent dips in frame rate. In Bandai Namco's defense, however, they did state these issues were chief among those that will be getting patched soon. Don't worry about the meta, moves, or team compositions upon firing up Jump Force. Have fun, select your husbandos and become the next ruler of the demon world
|+ Over 40+ Characters to Choose From.||– Loading Times Are Awful.|
|+ Online Multiplayer is a Blast.||– Character Models Look Outdated.|
|+ Character Creation is Deep.||– Frame Rate Stutters Regularly.|
|+ Wide Variety of Cosmetic Options.||– The Soundtrack is Forgettable.|
|+ The Fighting Mechanics are Well Polished.|
|+ The Game is Incredibly Generous With Gold and Costumes.|