Published on February 24th, 2019 | by John Werner
Jump Force PS4 Review
Summary: ‘Jump force’ is a brand new fighting game that brings all of your favourite Weekly Shonen Jump characters together for the ultimate crossover. Created as part of the magazines 50th anniversary celebration, players are treated to a diverse range of iconic manga and anime characters. Currently, the game boasts over 50 playable characters available from 16 different WSJ titles with more soon to join the line-up.
‘Jump force’ is a brand new fighting game that brings all of your favourite Weekly Shonen Jump characters together for the ultimate crossover. Created as part of the magazines 50th anniversary celebration, players are treated to a diverse range of iconic manga and anime characters. Currently, the game boasts over 50 playable characters available from 16 different WSJ titles with more soon to join the line-up.
‘Jump Force’ takes place during a cataclysmic event where the different universes of WSJ have collided with the real world. Through this, an army of mind controlled villains know as ‘Venoms’ attack earth and the other universes known as ‘Jump’. As a human turned superhero, the player joins a collective task force called ‘Jump Force’ that has dedicated itself to putting an end to the invaders and returning everything to normal.
Without a doubt, ‘Jump Force’ is a game for anime and manga fans alike. From the moment players begin creating their avatar, anime fans will quickly recognize iconic visual aesthetics of their favourite characters. Many references to famous shows like Dragon Ball Z, One Piece, Bleach, Hunter x Hunter, and Naruto become quite obvious thanks to the wide range of customization choices. I myself had quite a bit of fun while making anime lookalikes of my favourite pop-culture characters. Eventually, I decided to settle with an anime version of the most powerful and devastating force I could think of: my wife. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!
With character customization over, the avatar is dropped into the shallow end of a wave pool of disappointment. As joyful as I was after making my own superhero, all hope I had for the game quickly washed away with every passing minute. The biggest disappointment being the design of the various WSJ characters that closely resemble fan made skins for Garry’s Mod rather than an AAA title. Upon meeting Goku, Naruto, and Luffy, it became blatantly obvious that whoever made these characters had no idea how to draw facial expressions. It is an endless onslaught of the most fixed facial expressions that can only be described as somewhere between sheer anger and dire constipation. I would have almost called this humorous if it wasn’t such a consistent trait amongst everyone you meet.
Truth be told, I wouldn’t have cared as much if this was the only fault in the game but unfortunately it is the tip of the iceberg. In addition to poor rendering of characters, ‘Jump Force’ has also missed the mark on other aspects. I feel the need to address what I consider to be one of the controversial draw cards of the game; ‘Jump Force’ is subbed, not dubbed. In short, the game sticks true to the original shows it is based on and uses Japanese voice actors with subtitles for all spoken cut scenes. Again, this wouldn’t be a bad thing if it had actually been done well. New comers who aren’t used to reading text on the screen and playing at the same time will suffer greatly throughout the campaign, particularly as by the time the dialogue and subtitles come onto the screen, they are gone almost instantly which makes it difficult to keep up.
The game play on the other hand isn’t so bad and offers some new and unique features to the fighting genre. Rather than the traditional 1v1 arena style of combat as seen in other anime fighting games, ‘Jump Force’ introduces a new 3v3 system. Each fight consists of players picking 3 fighters for their line-up. The characters can be from any of the ‘Jump’ universes or their own custom character, each with their own XP level and unique abilities. Once combat begins, and the fight is fought 1v1 with each team having the ability to quickly sub in another character from their line-up. The round ends when the teams combined health bar reaches zero. The unique factor here is that the health bar is not per character, thus if one character falls in combat, their team loses. Swapping characters during combat doesn’t change the level of health either, making it tricky for players to make a big comeback after taking a lot of hits.
Even though this is a unique feature, it doesn’t improve the overall game play. The controls are incredibly basic and don’t offer any tactical depth to combat. There is also a great lack of tutorials and instructions on how to play and navigate your way through the game. This would make satisfying game play particularly difficult to players who are new to the concept. The game is very much focused around showing off each character’s iconic, big, flashy moves that would normally obliterate any foe in the anime. Even the kicks and grabs have been super glamorized to require their own mini action scene, taking away from the overall experience. Although Jump Force does put a noticeable amount of effort into these iconic moves, they quickly become repetitive and dull. I myself became quite board as I discovered that I could repeatedly spam Naruto’s Rasengan and finish campaign missions in just over two minutes.
Jump Force is the perfect example of good intentions with poor execution. I personally feel sorry for diehard fans who were really looking forward to a game that had so much potential. Unfortunately, all anyone got was a box of disappointment and relentless loading times. As a whole, Jump Force comes off half baked and unfulfilling. I honestly wish I had more good things to say about this game but even now I’m hard pressed. The most positive thing I can say about this game is that it could be a starting point for a brand new series of games. Even though this game is in dire need of fixing, I have hopes that redemption can be made with a solid sequel if done right.