Developed by:Spike Chunsoft Published by:Bandai Namco Genre(s):
  • Fighting
  • Platform:
  • Microsoft
  • PC
  • Sony
  • Cost:$59.99 ESRB Rating:TEEN Players:1-2 Release date:February 15, 2019 Reviewed on:XBox One

    Jump Force

    I’ve been playing Jump Force heavily over the last few days. Not because I was assigned to review it, that’s part of it, but because of my love for Shonen Jump. Bandai Namco’s latest fighter is filled with nostalgia; seeing the likes of Goku going head to head with Naruto in a game that is this graphically enhanced, thanks to Unreal Engine 4, is enough to keep the controller in my hands.

    That said, it wasn’t long before I started to question what makes a good fighting game. Or rather, what attributes does it have to have to be considered a “real” fighter – is Super Smash Bros. a great fighting game or something else? My time with the game eventually led to one conclusion. Jump Force may feature simplified mechanics and controls, but it is indeed a real fighting game. And a decent one at that!

    Jump Force has the typical anime storyline. In this version of the tale, players will control a custom-made character that needs to help bring balance to the world after some evil person brainwashes the cast for nefarious reasons. Again, typical. Though the story helps in explaining why these random characters have gathered together it’s mostly forgettable; while I don’t need a story to enjoy the explosive battles and fanfare, it would have been nice to experience a compelling narrative given how these character’s individual stories is what made them popular. You know…aside from the amazing power struggles seen in the anime and manga.

    The story mode isn’t entirely bad though as adds an extra mode for people to play while getting used to the controls. It also introduces them to the characters that they might not have known about before playing; not everyone watches or reads every anime or manga in Shonen Jump’s catalogue. Everything from the voice acting to the subtle changes in a character’s demeanor in a given situation helps to clue newcomers in. Fans of everything Shonen, however, will enjoy every subtle detail. They’ll recognize the Japanese voice actors, delight in the fights and pick up on relevant character interactions – like Vinsmoke Sanji’s reluctancy to fight with a woman for example. In the manga, his love for women is so deep that he isn’t able to defend himself unless under some sort of trance. So, when facing one of the few female characters in the game, he will have a huge heart over his eyes, and he will attack in giddy and hilarious ways. But the moment a man is switched in, he’ll go back to throwing flaming kicks to the face.

    Regardless of where they fall on the knowledge scale, the people most interested in playing Jump Force are excited to see these characters duke it out in one of the best-looking 3D anime fighters ever. The good news here is that Jump Force’s combat is better than what we’ve come to expect from Namco titles. Sure, there are button mashing. It makes sense for the game to be accessible considering the subject matter. Jump Force isn’t just accessible though. In that, I mean it has some depth that’s worth exploring.

    I explained the basics in my preview. The gist was that players will control a team of three, all of which share one life bar. Light and heavy attacks are dominate, with super moves (tied to a combination of buttons) being sent out every so often. Directional attacks, block breaking moves, and grabs round out options. Again, this is on at a basic level of play. Advanced play is a little more involved. The first important note is that no character has a combo of constant button attacks past 7 hits. Extensive combos require learning how to chain attacks with special moves and tagging in and out each of your three characters. And while the basic attacking might be similar, each character’s animations and fighting styles are different. Meaning, you’ll need to experiment with how your favorite heroes and villains moves work in conjunction with their teammates in order to execute strong combos. The second thing of note is the ability to counter most attacks. Which again, goes beyond simple button mashing. Knowing what move interrupts what attack and how to properly time the counter takes practice. Hitting the block button right before an attack connects, for instance, will teleport your character in a way that sets them up for a strong counterattack.

    There are also Awakenings. One of my favorite parts of the game (thanks to nostalgia), these states of being are only available after taking a considerable amount of damage. Once activated, your character will be imbued with an incredible amount of power. It’s basically the “last resort” option seen in a bunch of fighting games. Only, this one is better because of how it incorporates key moments from the anime/manga where characters transform into stronger versions of themselves in order to overcome some obstacle. It’s awesome to see; like I said in my preview, I screamed whenever I saw Ichigo’s Bankai!

    Speaking of witnessing awesome moments in game, Jump Force’s visuals is one of the things I’m torn on. One on hand, seeing the particle effects on a Kamehameha never seems to get old. On the other hand, I can’t help but notice how bland these characters faces are when interacting in cutscenes. They don’t seem to move in fluid ways or display the emotions one would expect them to convey when dealing with troubling circumstances. They seem lifeless at times; you’ll hear the excitement in their voice, but thanks to stilted expressions, not actually see how they’re supposed to be feeling.

    Jump Force’s social area is also inconsistent. While it is supposed to make chatting, meeting, and setting up fights with people easy, it’s actually quite useless. People’s avatars, while cool looking (like in Dragon Ball FighterZ) only serve to jam up the mission boards. This makes it difficult to reach them, which is concerning considering how big the space is. Then there are the random story bits. Walking to a point of interest can be randomly interrupted by a read-only cutscene. The best advice I can give you is to stay offline until you’re ready to fight people, at which point you’ll want to walk to the online battle station. Besides the login bonuses, there is no point in going online and dealing with the crowded hub areas.

    The fighting is what we’re here for though. An annoying lobby system and inconsistent visuals aren’t going to keep you from the epic showdowns presented here. Toss in a engaging create-a-character system that allow you to borrow moves from different heroes/villains and you have a fun time waiting to happen. The question of whether or not Jump Force is a legitimate fighting game has been answered; it has the needed mechanics and a deep enough roster to be mentioned with other 3D fighters. Even some of the more hardcore players disagree, who really loses? The hours of couch multiplayer will be crazy after you and all your old friends get together to relive childhood dream battles in current generation gaming. I mean, you finally get to find out if Midoriya can take down Gon in a one on one (or rather 3v3) battle. What a time to be a nerd!



    Jump Force isn’t the most technical fighter out. It does have some depth though, while also being accessible to players who aren’t really fans of the genre.



    It is one of the best-looking anime-based fighters (that doesn’t feature an animated look) out. There are some issues here and there, visually though.



    Having the original voice actors is a plus!

    Replay Value:


    Local play is fun but playing online can be a hassle at times. Once the fighting starts though, everything is great.

    Final Score:


    © United Front Gaming. All rights reserved. Site design by: 801red