JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R Review
For one of the more prolific anime and manga franchises in the last 35 years, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has only had a handful of video game adaptations. Given its rich history and reputation for being one of the greatest Shonen stories’ ever told, you would think that there would be more action-adventure or fighting games based on the overly otaku cornerstone. But even now we still are graced with aged titles that are still fine in the modern age of gaming, but are more or less lacking certain polish that can only be mastered on current hardware. The great thing about All Star Battle, is its pre-conceived fluent presentation, but as great as it is, its mechanics will age fast with this title bearing weight to only a niche in its core fanbase and pre-existing players that clamoured for a re-release of the title.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R, not only remasters but remixes the game, planting a brand new campaign and additional content such as staple characters that did not make the cut in its initial release. Its Street Fighter IV like nuances and aesthetic, not to mention a familiar control scheme helped players become acquainted with the fighter in quick fashion, but had the distinction of being the last in the litter of PS3 games back in 2013, shovelled under the rubble of such titles as The Last of Us and Grand Theft Auto V. It never made as big of a splash globally as it did in Japan, but even then it struggled to gain notoriety, as all eyes were primarily focused upon the oncoming PlayStation 4. Now granted a second chance, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R tries to stake its claim as a lost gem, but has it been dusting too long for it to come out looking polished?
Way to go, Joe...
Bolstering a massive 50 fighters on this broad roster of JoJo faithful, All-Star Battle R ramps up not only its display, but its heft. A lofty base selection that includes characters from former DLC packs from the original, and exclusives only to its remaster, but to say that you’ll be maining anyone other than Josuke himself, is far beyond reaching. But let’s talk about why All-Star Battle R is an ample fighter for those that absolutely love them selves a good button-mashing brawler. It goes without saying that the title’s presentation matches the anime series entire aesthetic, but also melds perfectly with a “Street Fighter” stylised demonstration through each bout. It does generalise some of its mechanics from multiple gauges on screen that allow your player or opponent to power-up or lose health which attributes to the Heart Heat Gauge.
This allows a player to perform a Heart Attack, which is generally a signature manoeuvre that packs a punch, planting your opponent down for a quick victory. Great Heat Attacks are secondary signatures that enables the player to perform a strong offensive move, depending on how full your Heart Heat Gauge is. While taunting in fighters are usually frowned upon for being a distraction, it’s encouraged here to minimise your opponents Heat Gauge. Each fighter entails an integral battle style that encapsulates their persona in both their personality and character, which includes a “style” signature move. Styles are represented in unique categories and can be mixed upon when initiated. These include; Ripple, Vampirism, Mode, Stand, Mounted, Baoh Armed Phenomenon, and Ogre Street.
These are all assigned depending on your fighter’s size and speed. A feature that I would love to see in other landmark fighters like Street Fighter or Tekken, even the modern Mortal Kombat series would be the Flash Cancels, which allow a fighter to sacrifice their Heart Heat in order to comprise a completely different chain mid-combo. This is a refreshing feature that strips away the monotony of repeated attacks, and makes for exciting situations where an expected offense may be executed. My only gripe with the fighter is its stamina gauge, essentially acting as a breaker for those that are dominating the match. While I understand the balancing act it proposes, it essentially bottlenecks the experience in favour of longer matches, or making a bout feel evenly scored. However, it neither achieves any of the sort instead, prolonging the action for the sake of it.
Each choice in location is based on the manga and anime, and includes an interactive environment for players to utilise, seen more-or-less in modern fighting titles like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter V. They can only be used while a player is incapacitated, balancing any spam action that would have been potentially disastrous if allowed the entire fight. Dramatic finishes are a player’s finisher that has your character show some flair while defeating your opponent in style. It mimics scenes from the anime and manga, with notorious lines delivered that will undoubtedly have fans loving the presentation. That being said, the title itself does bear aging with some of its UI placement, with some clunky menus and terribly compressed fonts that weren’t touched from the original. Attributed to this is the character select screen which showcases its mammoth roster, but can be hard to see or navigate due to its layout.
Pistol into a banana…
✔️ 50 Fighters. No shortage of cornerstone characters.
✔️ A definitive upgrade from the original.
✔️ An intuitive system that boasts modes for both the novice and expert.
❌ Clunky UI can be hard to navigate.
❌ Some technical issues that can be patched.
The title itself runs quite smoothly at a solid 60fps, and has been re-scaled to 4K for sharper visuals. Aside from the aforementioned UI, the game looks gorgeous in its remaster, boasting crisper detail and more vibrant colours, but this could also be due to the original’s hardware limitations, but it’s definitely evident that there has been some aesthetical upgrades. Another great feature that has had some creative upgrades is the title’s story mode. Without saying too much, due to the fact that it ties into current series’ storylines but a definite improvement has been made in its overall telling and seamless structure, whereas the original had some pacing issues, and fell flat due to a non-canonised narrative.
You may still unlock items like medals, adding them to your main’s preset, unlock more taunts and victory poses and fight a myriad of boss characters. Different modes like Rumble Mode and Rush Mode present a unique QTE that pits players against one-another in a button mashing frenzy to compete for an advantage. Resolve mode works with Rumble mode, in that you may achieve minimal i-frames for temporary invincibility. For the beginner, there’s also an gateway experience labelled Easy beat, which allows for more non-sensical button mashing that strings combos together for a streamlined encounter.
For fans of the anime, vocals have been re-recorded by its current cast to fit the overall exuberance of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. It should be noted that it’s only the Japanese cast and not the localised. The soundtrack itself is nothing out of the ordinary, boasting some up-tempo beats to get the adrenaline going, but some soft and conventional tunes to fit the theme of a nightlife location. Regardless, there’s nothing that screams out, but does fit the overall exhibition perfectly. Some added rock does sneak in from time to time but I didn’t walk away from the game with any music that had me wanting to hear more of it. Dialogue is drip-fed throughout the onset, with minimal dialogue occurring only when you call upon an assistant aid, or during a character’s introduction and fanfare – this in exception to the campaign’s cutscenes.
Overall JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R is an excellent fighter that does bode its niche base well, and could potentially extend beyond that inviting more fans into its never-ending lore. One of the greatest otaku outings has an amazing fighter for gamers to sink their teeth into, or even just place as filler for the next Street Fighter or Tekken. It just sits in-between the two quite comfortably for quick paced, heavy hitting action that is just mindless fun, without the need to take it seriously. Visual improvements are great, UI may need some work but overall its heft in both roster and neat integral features help prolong its experience and make it a unique fighter overall. I would class it as a lost gem from the late PS3 generation that lost out on its timing, but its re-release pays tribute to one of anime and manga’s greatest.
JoJo's: All Star Battle - Bandai Namco
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