JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle Review
Extra Features: Local Multiplayer (1-2), Online Multiplayer (1-2 players), , Download Content, Leaderboards
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle is the latest game in the long-running JoJo's Bizarre Adventure manga series that is quite popular in Japan. This fighting game is published by Namco Bandai Games and developed by CyberConnect2, the makers of the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja series. Many North American players will likely remember JoJo from the Capcom fighter of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure since the manga and anime have not been localized that much outside of Japan. All-Star Battle plays similar to the Capcom fighter but it adds in many more characters and has a new, more stylish, look to it.
All-Star Battle looks absolutely gorgeous, especially if you're a fan of JoJo. The game has a true manga feel to it. The game is VERY Japanese. Just when going to different menus from the mode select screen, characters will appear and offer information with Japanese voice over. When characters attack during battle, Japanese words fly out from the sides of their body in bubbles and when they simply walk, their steps make Japanese words appear. The game has a look that is similar to Street Fighter 4 and this matches JoJo perfectly. The JoJo Capcom fighter only followed the story and characters from the Stardust Crusaders arc of the manga. All-Star Battle has characters from Stardust Crusaders and all other arcs of the JoJo manga series so there are many new faces here.
There are altogether 32 characters. About half of the cast is unlocked from the start and the rest must be unlocked while playing through story mode. For controls, the game has three attack buttons (Light, Medium, Powerful), an axis rotation button (step into background or foreground) and a button to use each character's style. Most characters have stands that can be brought out by using the style button, and some of the characters have a Haman style (power up some attacks + charge super gauge), mode switch (powers up special attacks), vampirism (drain health) and mounted mode (ride on horse/dismantle). The game has a very fine mix of unique characters from the JoJo manga. If you know JoJo at all, you'll be very familiar with the series' vogue character styles. Every character is bursting with a colorful style down to their personality. All-Star Battle gets to show off JoJo's unique style even moreso than the past Capcom fighter since it pulls characters from the entire series.
If you're familiar with the Capcom fighter, you should be able to pick this game up and learn it easily within a few minutes. Characters such as Jotaro and Dio from the Stardust Crusaders arc play very similar to the way they did in the Capcom fighter. The developers have given them a few new moves and a new super attack however. Each fighter has a normal super attack (HHA) and a more powerful super attack (GHA). The super attacks light up the screen with tons of eye candy once they connect. All characters have a variety of different special attacks that they can perform normally while their stand is out or when their unique style is in effect. Each character has an auto combo that can be performed by tapping the light attack button - this can chain into a super move if you character has a bar of super gauge while performing the combo. Sadly, you'll likely have to go online to learn about the more advanced moves in the game since the game does not explain the basics of its fighting system.
The story mode has a list of seven story arcs from the manga to choose from. There is an extra arc that is unlocked after completing the first seven also. Each arc will take you through a small summary of the story of that particular manga sequence. The story is told through on-screen text for the most part. The text is voiced at the beginning and end to open and close out each arc respectively, but the majority of the story is simple text with one background and no character pics to make it engaging. The story arcs will take a player through battles with "good versus evil" character fights and each arc may be repeated by playing as the evil side after finishing each one. The stories are interesting but the way they are presented makes them extremely boring to play through. Some of the arcs are way too summarized and some characters are never even mentioned or either we only get a slight mention of them - such as Iggy from the Stardust Crusaders arc. I finished all of story mode mainly just to completely unlock all the characters rather than actually enjoying the mode.
The game has a campaign mode where a player starts out with a health bar and can use it to find opponents through a search option (one bar of health per search). Once opponents are found, a player can use up a certain amount of health to damage the other player's health bar if the player successfully beats the opponent through a fighting match - it's sort of like an rpg with battle sequences being played through the game's fighting engine. Opponents that you will run into during this mode will be characters that other players have customized through the Customize menu on their games - you don't fight actual human players in this mode. The game also has an Arcade mode where you'll battle through several waves of randomly chosen opponents also - you have to press the square button on the mode menu to start arcade mode.
The Versus mode is where players can fight CPU or human opponents. This mode allows players to go online and fight other players in lobbies. Lobbies can only hold two players - the host and a joining player. There is no spectator mode and there is basically no waiting in lobbies. A spectator mode would have helped out quite a bit for learning extra techniques and it would help to make online battles more fun rather than one on one versus play all the time. The game does have a Practice mode for trying out moves but the only information you can get from this mode is a command list. There are no helpful hints to help out for the more advanced techniques found in the game.
There is also a Gallery mode for viewing Models of characters and artwork. There is a glossary of terms from each arc of the story mode that might help out for understanding the story better. All artwork and other collectibles must be bought through a gallery shop for gold that can be earned through playing story mode. In the Customize mode, players can pick a character and change that character's taunts and victory poses. The character's sound effects can be changed and the Japanese symbols that they make can be manipulated while viewing the model. Medals are gained through the game's Campaign mode. The character that is customized in this mode will appear in other player's campaign mode.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle's overall sound is quite good. The character select theme sounds great and so do the many hard-rocking tracks throughout the game's stages. All characters are voiced in Japanese (w/English subtitles). There is no English dubbing - of course I can't imagine one for JoJo anyway. The game looks absolutely fantastic - the developers have chosen the perfect graphic style for a JoJo game. It's too bad that All-Star Battle is lacking in some of its modes or it would be a very memorable fighting game for anime fans. As the way the game stands, basically only JoJo fans will stick with the game after unlocking everything. The game is quite fun, but it gets old quickly from lack of online options, so it's basically a rental for most players and a buy for hardcore fans.
+ Stylish and colorful appearance
+ Many different styles
+ Overall great music and sound
- The story mode is very bare bones
- Online mode could use more features
- No training mode or way to learn about the more advanced moves
Final Rating: 75%. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure once again makes a very stylish fighter but it still doesn't match up well against the competition of fighters out there.