Ah, the eternal argument of who’s stronger in a fight? Goku or Naruto? Yusuke Urameshi or Pegasus Seiya? Wonder no more, because Jump Force is the wish-fulfilment game you’ve been waiting for, giving you the chance to settle those fantasy fights definitely.
Thanks to the folks at Bandai Namco, I took part in the Jump Force Closed Beta last weekend. The beta gave me 15 characters to choose from. Unfortunately, this excludes several characters that have been recently revealed, such as Yu-Gi-Oh‘s Yugi Muto.
The first thing I noticed was the interesting art style. I was certainly impressed by how detailed the characters are. The developer’s decision to mesh photorealistic environments and anime characters with distinctive art styles seems to be paying off.
These visuals are amazing; these are definitely some of the best recreations of these iconic characters outside of their respective anime series.
I was actually looking forward to seeing the King of Games in action, but at least I still had access to other similarly-iconic characters. Take a look at all the fighters available during the Jump Force beta in the video below.
The full version of the game will hopefully let players create their own avatar character to use. I was given a choice between five default random avatars in the beta. I do hope that players can choose to voice our character creations in the full version of the game.
It was awkward having to watch other characters speak pre-battle while the camera pans to your avatar standing there not even uttering a single word.
But How Does It Play?
Jump Force‘s core gameplay would feel immediately familiar to fans of other 3D fighters developed and published by Bandai Namco, like the Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm series and the old Dragon Ball Budokai Tenkaichi series. According to your own gaming preferences, that could either be a good or bad thing.
Despite not being a fighting game enthusiast (or good at fighting games in general), I still had a blast pitting my favourite anime characters against each other. And that’s what ultimately matters. To my knowledge -and experience playing the beta- there are no complicated combos rivalling that of Street Fighter or Tekken.
Instead, the attacks are pretty simple to execute, which is good news for gamers who are not used to complex fighting games. For instance, Dragon Ball FighterZ turned me off because of its deep fighting mechanics and how difficult it was to execute flashier attacks like a Kamehameha beam and other crazy shonen moves.
Thankfully, Jump Force seemingly negates all that by enabling us to do easily unleash devastating and earth-breaking moves without the need to memorize specific and intrinsic combos.
I appreciated the fact that holding down the R2 button made a list of available assigned move sets appear on the screen. I could focus on what really mattered, firing my souped-up Rei Gun at an unprepared Toguro without worrying about whether I’m pressing the correct button combinations or sequence.
Besides that, the fighting mechanics are simple enough to pull off. For example, pressing the L1 button at the exact right time will see your fighter to teleport away to evade your enemy’s attack à la Dragon Ball.
Jump Force lives up to its name, as planet-shattering signature attacks and impossibly fast-paced action moves from Shonen Jump’s biggest & brightest have been lovingly translated into the game.
Simply put, you don’t need to be a veteran fighting games maestro to play Jump Force. Its fighting mechanics are easy enough for any gamer to pick up and play. If you want more complicated anime-inspired fighters, however, Dragon Ball FighterZ and the Guilty Gear series will suit you better.
Some Kinks To Be Aware Of…
That’s not to say that I didn’t encounter my share of issues during the Jump Force beta. The online battles clearly needed some work, with lagging being a particularly annoying problem for me. Another gripe was that the fighting felt too floaty and light, making it unsatisfying and frustrating to play at times.
Gameplay kinks are expected since this is only the first planned beta for the game. With four months remaining, the developers should be refining and polishing the gameplay before it releases sometime in February 2019 for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
In the meantime, I’ll leave you with my Jump Force gameplay footage of Pegasus Seiya vs Goku.