UFG Goes Hands on With Jump Force

I remember the first time I saw the Jump Force trailer during the Xbox portion of E3. I called up Kenny (our Editor in Chief) screaming “DID YOU SEE THAT TRAILER? HOW AMAZING DOES THAT LOOK?” It was safe to say that I was excited for upcoming fighter!

Then, while on my nostalgic anime high of seeing my favorite Shonen characters fighting one another, a subtle feeling of worry hit me. I turned right back around to Kenny and said, “I just lost the excitement, it’s going to be a button masher.” I could nearly feel the joy being removed from my body as I thought of the history of Shonen Jump themed fighters; after reexamining the trailer, I assumed Jump Force would simply cater to casual fighting fans. Deep combat systems aren’t needed the real selling point was seeing popular characters from different shows, in updated visuals, destroying one another.

While my excitement had waned, Bandai’s frequent character reveals kept my attention. Considering it’ll be the first game to allow fights between characters like Renji Abarai (Bleach) and Midoriya (Jump Force), the possibility of experiencing some cool moments was appealing; I thought that, at the very least, it would be fun to tool around with these characters. That changed when I got my chance to play via the open beta. To my surprise, Jump Force didn’t seem to be just another button masher with pretty visuals. Jump Force’s control scheme is still relatively simple compared to most fighters. But there is some nuance to how one defeats a similarly skilled opponent.

Jump Force is played from a third person view, where players control a team consisting of three fighters. Each team has one representative on the field while the others are used as assists characters until they are called in. Like Tekken: Tag Tournament, the team shares one life bar. Meaning, players will need to be cognizant of it when switching back and forth between characters; once the bar is depleted, the round is over regardless of who is out on the field. Each player will trade blows using light and heavy attacks as well as super moves tied to a combination of buttons – holding right trigger and B to launch a ki blast for instance. Again, simple.

This set up makes Jump Force more accessible to players who aren’t into fighting games, but love Shonen Jump enough for a purchase. It’s a smart move. The good news for the more hardcore players is that there is room for growth. Things like direction attacks – that forces a defender to do more than just block to avoid damage – help to spice things up. As players advance in combat, they’ll start to switch characters during attacks to lengthen combos. Learning the best combinations of characters will take time. The moment I get Aizen in full release, for example, I going to try pairing him with ranged characters to balance his lack thereof. Essentially, you won’t be able to button mash your through better skilled opponents. That’ll probably be the case for story mode, again for newcomers to the genre, but not for local and online play.

What this means is that Bandai Namco is looking to please different groups of people. They aren’t leaning in one direction or another – Jump Force isn’t as deep as Dragon Ball FighterZ or as shallow as My Hero One’s Justice – but instead, sits right in the middle. That works for me. As someone who loves Shonen Jump’s anime/manga, I’m back to eagerly awaiting the game’s full release.

Update: We were recently given a review code for Jump Force and after playing for a few hours, I can confess that I’m having a great time. I can’t give my final thoughts of course, given my limited time with the game and its embargo, but I can say that my initial impressions (from the game’s combat to its visuals) are positive. Speaking of which, if you thought that your favorite character couldn’t look good as 3D models, think again! I have never seen anime characters look this good in any current generation of consoles. Every time I saw Ichigo’s Bankai, I legit screamed in my house. It’s also cool to see how each character’s appearance and that of the surrounding environments changes as the battle heats up; knocking people through buildings and changing landscapes not only looked awesome, but made it seem as if I was in a fast-paced anime battle.

Be sure to check back here for our review/more news about Jump Force.

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