Jump Force is yet another title from Bandai Namco that meshes characters from the most popular Shonen Jump franchises and pits them against each other in a free for all battle. This isn’t the first time that Bandai Namco has attempted this mesh up, but Jump Force is the first one to really garner this much attention.
Jump Force’s story tries to explain why these franchise and universes are being meshed together, but you wont care for one second due to the way the story is presented.
The story centers on the formation of a special group, essentially every hero from their franchise have been banded together to stop the big bad’s or Venom’s as they call them from destroying the universe. During the opening cinematic, you are killed by Frieza in the middle of Time Square in New York. Trunks then revives you with a cube and has you join them in finding out who is creating this chaos.
Jump Force features a vast roster of characters
The story is presented with your custom character taking center stage with a mysterious power flowing from within you, thus making it seem like you are the only one who can stop this threat.
Characters appear in cutscenes but are so lifeless that it’s just terrifying to look at. Characters are completely emotionless and mostly just stand around while things are going on during the cutscenes. The reason this is so terrifying is the art style. Your custom created character looks just fine but when mixed with characters from franchises with such distinct art styles it doesn’t mesh very well.
Taking these various characters and changing their look to fit the game’s more real-world textures just doesn’t work. Vegeta constantly looks constipated, while the One Piece characters look absolutely terrifying with their enormous eyes and creepy smiles. It just doesn’t mesh well.
Jump Force’s hub world leaves much to be desired
The best way to describe Jump Force is to compare it to Dragon Ball Xenoverse. Taking the success of the Xenoverse franchise and trying to model Jump Force around it works to some degree. The hub world is smaller than the one found in Xenoverse but it functions the same way. Other players can be seen running around, there’s clothing shops and event merchants can be found that you can interact with.
Acquiring new missions and upgrading your characters skills are all done through merchants found in the hub world. As a custom character you can go and customize your character with various skills from any of the characters in the game. Take Vegeta’s Final Flash as your ultimate move while also taking My Hero Academia’s Midoriya’s special abilities as well. It’s truly is fun to mix and match these abilities.
The big thing that was a missed opportunity here was being able to see what clothing items looked like on your character before you bought it which resulted in a lot of wasted money.
Jump Force allows you to make a unique character with your favorite powers
It’s fun to change out your moves, but once I got the moves that I personally enjoyed I never saw a reason to switch them up. The game also features a lot of unnecessary mechanics. Mechanics like Elemental damage and skills that buff you and debuff your opponent. These mechanics really take away from a lot of the fun for me as I just didn’t want to deal with thinking why Naruto is weak against a specific element.
It’s almost as if the developers wanted to take the unbalanced characters and try and make them balanced with these RPG elements that don’t really have a place in fighting games like this.
I found these mechanics a complete waste and complicate a fighting game that’s already severely unbalanced. Jump Force seems to use a Rock, Paper, Scissors type of system when it comes to its characters. Each character belongs to one of three groups and each character will always be better against another.
The combat in Jump Force is truly eye candy
Jump Force is a three-on-three fighting game so before you select your characters you can check out their stats. This includes how strong they are, what their elemental weakness and strengths are and a bunch of other stuff that the game never explained. Simply put, seeing who you’re fighting means you want to take characters that can offset your opponents characters.
Before I go any further I want to say Jump Force is a fun fighting game with some entertaining combat and some of the most amazing particle effects I’ve seen. Each character’s attacks are showcased perfectly. Unfortunately, outside of these special attacks each character plays exactly the same.
Each character seems to be designed around the Dragon Ball franchise. Every character powers up with an aura that appears around them even though most characters never power up this way in their franchises. They also teleport the map during combos, teleporting behind enemies and smashing them into the ground or into the air. – things that most of these characters shouldn’t be able to do.
Jump Force’s combat uses some unnecessary mechanics
Fighting is designed to help out new players, simply tapping the one button to do seven to ten hit combos while also combining these attacks with their unique super attacks is easy to pull off and is very accessible to everyone. That is at least what I thought at first. The further I got into the game the less accessible the game became.
I quickly learned just how unbalanced Jump Force can be and how cheap a lot of the mechanics can become. Blocking is the biggest culprit here as there is literally no penalty to constantly blocking attacks. Sure, you can brake through blocks with a smash attack, but it takes time to charge a smash attack leaving you open to a counter attack. It gets worse when you then try and grab an opponent who is constantly blocking only to have your animation simply go through your opponent as they counter attack you.
It became so frustrating that I quit playing on more then one occasion. I also discovered that some characters attacks just take precedence over others. This all comes back to the balancing issues I was talking about.
Jump Force has serious balancing issues
One example I found was when I used Vegeta’s Final Flash Ultimate attack only to have it canceled out with the CPU-controlled Piccolos Light Grenade Ultimate Attack. Even though I launched mine first, it was canceled out because of reasons I can’t really explain outside of the fact that Piccolo is what I consider to be a strength character, which means his attack will cancel out Vegeta’s who is an Agility character.
Despite the over-arching negativity in this review, there were plenty of times where I enjoyed the game and fighting online seeing how others played with their characters. Seeing the incredible attacks tear apart the map – and even seeing the incredible battle damage that the characters sustain – is truly awesome.
It’s a shame that Jump Force has so many problems that really only became apparent to me the longer a played the game. The sever balancing issues have plagued the Shonen Jump titles for a long time and it seems that doesn’t change here. Jump Force can be fun and playing with friends may be the best option, but everything else just feels so bare bones and unrealized that it almost feels like the game was made just for the fan-service.