Oh, the '80s humanity!
It seems like Bandai Namco is on a quest to breathe life into classic franchises, because this isn’t the first“classic” anime brought back for a modern gaming audience. Either that, or as withSaint Seiya Brave Soldiers
released before this, the publisher is trying to bring back some seriously feathered '80s hairand the over-geled helmetsand the mullets… oh, I pray to everything holy, The Mullets
… and just a touch of old-school stripper. Why so many characters have nipple-tastic accessories I still don’t understand.
With a look befittinga late-'80s/early-'90s revivalcomplete with over-geled yakuza hair and the Billy Ray Cyrus hairstyle,JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battleis a unique throwback to an obscure manga and anime era where craziness reigned supreme and Fist of the North Starwas freshly off the air.JoJois the story of a family thatthroughout the agesfinds its descendants fighting all the time because someone is always angry at them. (Hopefully for their hair, because it ju
st gets ridiculous.) They’re forced to fight a range of wacky characters, some of whom have what’s called a Stand, or a sort of dual-spirit that deals most of their damage.It’s like Fist of the North Star
that way, only with seeminglyless “one-touch explosion” action.
The title's gameplay is lackadaisical. You know in fighting game greats likeKing of Fighters and Street Fighterthat if you spam one move too much, the computer will start to catch on? Eitherthe computer here is needlessly stupid or the only moves worth doing are spammable. It’s the depth of a game likeDivekick with the repetition of Chun-Li’s Lightning Kickexcept with punching. An opposing character will fall for the same trick twice, so why should I bother even trying other stuff?
The controls are smooth, they execute quickly and specials are easy to pull off,especially since the most usable of them is justmashing the square button. The fights are just unfulfilling.Even withcharacters having different, specific specialties,including a few who can fight on horseback,they all still feel too similar. The game looks good and moves welleven if it comes off wanting to look like Street Fighter IV in “little brother copying big brother” fashion.
While fighting games aren’t necessarily known for their storylines, this is a major shortcoming for a game likeJoJo. That’s not because it doesn’t have one—it doesand it’s an intricate story—but because the story is entirely told through text. There are some sections that featurevoice-oversand before a fight, characters will say a line of dialogue, but the actual story is still all text. While that might have been passable, to make matters worse the storydoesn’t correspond in any way to the action that happens on-screen; winning a fight means your character is still sometimes going to dieor get beat the hell up (made worse if you spam your way to a few perfect rounds), or drop the ball and lose the war. Being told after you’ve just defeated a difficult boss that the boss still won is outright stupid. Like I said in mySaint Seiyareview, there is one major rule in storytelling across the board:never tell when you can show and JoJohas caused me great sadness by breaking such a rule.
But if you’re into that sort of thing, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle has multiple storylines to enjoy and downloadable campaigns to play through, with over 35 characters total (about half of which need to be unlocked via the Story and Campaign modes). I’m happy that they’re ready and willing to support the game after its release—at least for a little while—but actually playing proves a flashy snoozefest. Nice to see Bandai-Namco is bringing back some classics; maybe we can see more intense action and story next time.
Code provided by publisher. Review based on PS3 version.