As a massive fan of anime brawlers, I was madly in love with (and rabidly excited for) Jump Force when I first saw the trailer for it last year. A Shounen Jump 50th anniversary brawler, developed by studio Spike Chunsoft, promising a wide variety of characters powered by the same engine from the Ninja Storm series? Yes, I’ll take two please. What I didn’t know, however, was that the ghost of J-stars past was waiting just around the corner with a folding metal chair, all too ready to crush our hopes and dreams.
So, this tale of woe begins with booting up the game for the first time. As you boot, you’re thrown straight into the action by immediately entering the story mode – and in all fairness the story does get off to an interesting start. You play as a random civilian that is unfortunate enough to be caught by a stray lazer beam, compliments of a fighting Goku and mind-controlled Frieza in New York. Your character is then revived by Trunks through something called an Umbras cube, giving you anime-like powers in the process. You then get to create this new and improved you in a character customization system that, whilst essentially just mixes and matches hairstyles and features out of its character roster, proves to be enjoyable. I wish there were some unique options for hair and the like not attributed to an already existing character, but this is not a deal-breaker by any means.
Now, the annoyance of not having a main menu aside, the start of the game had me pretty intrigued – unfortunately the rest of the story didn’t. It really isn’t anything to write home about and honestly proved to be a slog going through the whole thing. Part of the reason for this is that the story doesn’t have as much fun with itself as it could have, and it tries to be this serious narrative – and whilst I’m all for serious stories, when you have so many characters from so many different series and you fail to capitalize on that, I deduct points. There was so much that could have been done, but instead so little was achieved save a handful of interactions that evoked a grin or giggle from me (like Boruto calling Vegeta an old man).
Now, the annoyance of not having a main menu aside, the start of the game had me pretty intrigued – unfortunately the rest of the story didn’t.
Jump Force brings combat to the yard that is admittedly rather flashy, albeit somewhat shallow.
It’s not all bad as some level designs are pretty cool (seeing the Statue of Liberty on Namek was pretty fun) and the beautiful particle effects can make for some flashy fight scenes.
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PC, PS4, Xbox One
15 February 2019
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