I have never had so much fun not knowing what is happening before.
Hey there, readers. Vatsu here with a bit of a first for the game reviews. Through my news feed I came upon an awesome fighting game that seemed to be everything I could ever want in an anime based fighter. Since the PS3 and Vita are both region free (yay) I decided to take the plunge and try it out. Commemorating the 45th anniversary of Jump, the weekly published Japanese manga comics, J Stars Victory Vs (PS3/ Vita) has tons of heroes and villains duke it out in a bout to see who is the strongest. Having 39 playable characters featuring staples like Goku, Yusuke, Gintoki and Johnathan Joestar along with 13 additional assist only characters and hints towards upcoming DLC, this game definitely is bursting out the seams with actual fan service (the good kind). Is this a battle worth checking out? Read on below to find out.
In order for such a battle to take place, the story has to equally be as crazy, and it is. In Jump World, all of the characters are preparing for the J Battle Festival (a tournament held every 45 years to determine who is the strongest). In addition to each characters own personal goals, each makes a team of two or three partners in order to take on the other contestants and claim victory for themselves. You, the player, are tasked with picking from among Monkey D. Luffy, Naruto Uzumaki, Toriko or Ichigo Kurosaki and sailing away towards adventure, creating a team of your own along the way. Each of the 4 named protagonists can be played separately, so you don’t have to worry about picking one person and missing the other stories.As far as the gameplay is concerned, it plays like any typical arena fighter, but there is a lot going on during each bout. You and your opponent choose you main character and your backup (CPU controlled) character, in addition to one assist and the type of attack the assist should use (buff, defend, special attack, etc.) and the fighting stage itself. When the fight begins you have 300 seconds (or if you wish, no time limit) to defeat your opponent 3 times by KO. You can do this by either defeating the computer controlled character or the player controlled one in some combination of 3 KOs. The buttons map similarly for each character, with a weak and strong attack button, a special attack button, a guard, a jump and a lock on. With different combinations of button presses you can do different things like unguardable attacks, charge up energy, alternate special attacks and so forth. As you beat the opponent up, you gain morale at the top of the screen. Once you’ve stocked up enough morale, you can activate a victory burst, allowing you to attack with your ultimate technique (like Goku’s Spirit Bomb) or transform into an ultimate form (like Naruto’s Kurama Mode).
During the fight, each character plays radically different from one another, even if they are both from the same manga series. Each character’s abilities mimic their manga/anime moves, such as Super Saiyan and flight for Vegeta or stance-switches for Himura Kenshin. The combination of moves from characters across different series is insane, and odds are, if you have seen them do the move in the manga/anime, they do it here with painstaking accuracy.
In addition to the plethora of characters and kooky story mode, there are several other modes that add some flair to this over the top romp. By completing side quests and competing in battles, you will accrue some coins that you can use to unlock other characters, assists or buy booster cards. These cards come with certain effects like ‘increased attack power’ or ‘increased life points’ and can be equipped to whomever you choose during character selection. There is also the online battle mode where you can compete with another player or team up with a buddy and tackle another team of 2 online for a crazy 4 player session.
Bottom Line: This game is everything you would want in a fighting game, both for anime/manga fans, and casual/hardcore fans alike. The combo system is simple, just as with the Naruto fighting games, but there are several advanced techniques like combo cancelling and the like that mean you don’t have to just keep spamming one button over and over. Likewise, each character is unique, so the games feels more “fair” since you always feel like you have a key ability that you can use to win (just like in the shows). The only issue with this game is that there strangely is no training mode, and since it is an import only title, you may have to spend a lot more money than usual to pick up a copy (mine was upwards of $80). Aside from that, I highly recommend giving this game a look (assuming heavy Japanese menus don’t scare you off).
Next Review: Lego The Hobbit