Jump Force is essentially the biggest crossover between anime characters since J-Stars. It features a roster of 40 iconic characters, and for a guy who has watched all the shows, it doesn’t get better than this, or does it?
Although the game promised a lot of content, it ultimately turned out to be mediocre at best. On paper, it is everything that you would expect from a crossover game but the core implementation feels lazy.
Jump Force sees humanity invaded by “Venoms” – mind-controlled humans that have gained super-human strength. The game starts by showing a fight scene between Frieza and Goku. Frieza uses a Death Beam and it hits you, the main character of this game.
Trunks arrive on the scene because Trunks will always be the scapegoat for Fighting games with Dragon Ball characters, miraculously revives you by putting an Umbra Cube inside you. The Umbra Cube gives you the same abilities as what Venoms are getting except the mind-control. Long story short, it is up to you to protect the world from devastation.
Choose one of the three fighting styles given to you at the start of the game and fight enemies to ultimately save the world. You can either go solo or team up with your friends.
The game follows a simple arena fighting system. 6 characters will be pit against each other in the 3-person teams. Your team shares the same health bar. This means that you will not regenerate health if you switch to another character.
Therefore, instead of keeping a weak character in your roster to heal your other characters during a fight, you will have to keep an overall strong loadout. And be prepared to use one character all the time.
The AI of the game is extremely dumb at times, it felt as if the developers stopped caring. One instance, for example, the enemy AI character start moving in circles even when I hit him.
The game’s difficulty system is not exactly something to write tales about. The AI does not get faster or mature; the enemy will only deal more damage per hit. If you learn how to dodge, (No wonder you do not see Gohan in Jump Force) the game is really easy.
The audio in this game is not really something to talk tall about as well. The background music is bland and sometimes you even forget that it is there. In certain instances, at least in my experience, there was no music while fighting too.
Music in certain scenes is just awful. For instance, the first scene with Director Glover where he explains about the vast world of Jump Force has upbeat music even when he is explaining how grim the situation is.
Definitely a massive turn-off on the already-dead-beat-story. The original voice actors were hired for the game, but most of the game is a silent talk session, especially Ryuk who cannot talk because of “Character Design”. What?!
The combat system in this game is pretty basic. Mash your buttons as fast as possible though you will learn soon enough that if you land the first hit, you are basically guaranteed to deplete a massive chunk of the enemy’s HP.
Landing Special Abilities is extremely easy. That is the only redeeming point of the game, for me. Just hold the power-up button and press any of the four keys: A, B, X, or Y.
Three abilities should be available right from the start, provided you have an adequate amount of energy.
You can only use the Ultimate Ability that basically deals the same amount of damage as the Normal Abilities but is guaranteed to hit, once your HP falls below a certain threshold.
The threshold should be somewhere between 40% – 50% where the first layer of armor breaks. Other than the Special Abilities, the combat system is not really the strongest point of the game. Rather, it is far from it!
The selling point of the game is the visuals. Although most may not like the weird clay-like characters, it is definitely not something I would hate the game for. It is unique, yes. Clay-like Frieza looks disgustingly well made. Seriously!
Each character has been carefully designed and shaded in such a way that they look like they are from the same dimension. It really is nice to see a really well made Kujo Jotaro. The best thing, however, is a 2019 version of Yusuke and Kenshin.
The lighting in the game is one of the best I have ever seen in arena fighters.
Apart from the visual fidelity, the cutscenes in the game are seriously messed up. Remember the games from 2005 where the characters would speak while barely moving their face muscles? Yeah… this game has that same thing, 14 years later…
The lip-sync is so bad that I do not even want to talk about it. It literally gave me a headache when I saw Frieza saying “Goku-san” while moving his face like a billion different times.
Oh, and do not forget the legendary 90-second-Vegeta-stare. Evil Vegeta stares at you, on the screen, for 90 seconds straight. And the camera barely changes. This has to be the creepiest mainstream game moment ever.
Character interaction in the game is pretty normal. There were a lot of potential moments where the writers of the game could go creative but they decided to go all monotone on.
Do not forget how Midoriya judged Piccolo to be a villain (even though Piccolo technically looks like one if you look his clothing, but us Anime fans do not want to know that! We want everyone to acknowledge that Piccolo is a good Dad who raises others’ children well).
I tried mashing Goku against Goku to see if Goku would say anything unique, considering he is technically fighting himself. Goku really loves fighting strong characters and what would be a better choice, if not himself?
Well, guess what happened? Goku even refused to acknowledge the other team’s Goku as Goku. Both Goku(s) said something completely generic, so generic that even I forgot what they said.
There are so many issues with the game that it might actually be impossible to fix all of these with a day-1 patch.
The controls are a mess. If you hold the left joystick for like 0.5 seconds or so, the character will cover a fixed distance that is mostly more than what you wanted to go for. If you flick, the character will not retain its direction after the flick and will instantly move in the direction it was originally in.
I played the PC version and there were so many bugs in the game that I cannot even fathom that this is a $60 USD game. The fact that you cannot even change the Graphics Settings on the Main Menu sucks. Really bad!
I had to spend the first cutscene and tutorial on a 16:9 resolution even though the game was rendering a 16:10 screen. The rest of the screen was being cut-off by a black strip that you usually see when you play a 16:9 movie on a 16:10 screen.
I could not see half the subtitles and had to force myself to listen to Japanese audio. Bless the time I have wasted watching Japanese anime on full volume. I told you, Mom, all these anime have finally become useful!
Oh, and there are barely any Resolution Options even if you go into Settings. I have a 1680×1050 screen and I could only go up to 1600×900. Moreover, if I tried to play 1600×900 on Fullscreen, the screen would weirdly stretch and make it unbearable. Therefore, I played the game on Windowed Mode. I really hate Windowed Mode.
The 30 FPS lock is like a really lazily implemented lock as well. The game is set to render at 60 FPS, and if you try to lock it to 30 FPS, it will start stuttering.
If you have a low-end PC and are expecting to run this game properly by locking it to 30 FPS, beware. You will be left with some unsatisfactory results.
I would like to not drag my rant anymore. I will say this right now: I expected a lot more from this game. A lot! It is almost as if most of the game budget went on to buy the rights for the 40-character roster. I hope that is not the case.
It is either the budget problem or their in-team co-ordination. And if it is a team co-ordination issue, I really hope Spike Chunsoft and Bandai Namco get their crap together now. Jump Force was a major disappointment, I hope Steins; Gate ELITE doesn’t turn out to be a failure.
Jump Force had a lot of potential and hype, especially with all that promoting, but it turned out to be a disappointment in almost every way possible. For you young developers out there, Jump Force is how you make a perfectly good game so bland and distasteful. If only had the developers cared a little more.