Jump Force - Review of the crossover between fighters of the Shonen Jump manga

For every comic reader, be they Western or Eastern, there is an infinite number of parallel universes where the heroes and villains of each series are present. Those adventures, separated by a thin line, tell of heroic and evil deeds, challenges to the limit of the human and battles with no holds barred. For this reason i Crossovers, a term that highlights an encounter between two or more realities, are always very attractive, especially when they concern now iconic characters like those of Jump Force, title Bandai Namco which brings together 40 fighters in a game with graphics that are far too realistic in comparison to the standards. Will this be enough to keep the title standing?

The style

Let's start with the basics: the story of Jump Force is set in the real world. The usual invasion of the usual enemies forces all the heroes of the various comics to converge in our world and fight for its protection. And here, immediately, comes the first glance that differentiates Jump Force from other titles: the graphics almost photorealistic. The style used in fact tries to push on 3D polygons that were not seen from the old games of Dragon Ball and Naruto (which now use cell-shading), naturally smoothing them to avoid strange contrasts. Therefore, among the maps we will see New York, Japan and even Monte Cervino; however, there are three maps dedicated to the game's three forerunners, Naruto, Goku and Luffy. Unfortunately, not everything goes well, and this transformation makes the various characters (and sometimes frighteningly plastic) very inexpressive, but they are increasingly recognizable thanks to their iconic styles and official dubbing. The particle system used for special attacks, with really amazing light reflections and contact particles. Finally, the graphic engine allows the various fighters to literally lose parts of equipment during the various matches: by dint of blows received, each hero will tend to lose armor / clothing, even wearing it on the face wounds and cuts (certainly pre-generated, but always effective)

Starting the adventure, the game will take advantage of a very basic and obvious plot to accompany us towards continuous battles unfortunately slowed down by too slow loads. These missions (available in various genres) will serve both to unlock the various heroes in the story mode, and to enhance the character (more on that later). All this, together with the various shops, will be available in the gaming hub, taking advantage of the dynamics already seen in Dragon Ball Xenoverse.

Playing the story mode we will be able to customize our avatar aesthetically and technically, created at the beginning of the game thanks to components taken from the various comics: once chosen, we can opt to continue with one of three teams optionally, thus affecting the pool of special moves available. Removed some peculiarities that we can't wait to try (such as the events), for the rest the single player story of the game is just a long slow and tortuous path, which will lead you to discover the various characters, what binds them, and why all of them have come to earth.

Speaking of upgrades, we will be able to choose the special techniques of our character, as well as enhance him by doing so to level up: every character in Jump Force, even pre-existing ones, can level up and increase their attack power (usable or not in PvP challenges). But all this stops at the surface, not deepening any additional customizations that surely would have benefited this component.

The substance

We talk about fighting games, and while we could really digress to every single mode, the real meat of these games are the fights: the gameplay uses a simplified system (also close to Xenoverse) that prefers the spectacular to the technique. To fight just a few buttons, while the skills will be selectable as in an RPG and not as a standard fighting game (like Dragon Ball FighterZ).

Despite this, fighting against experienced players will be difficult, as the whole game is based on the combos of individual characters and teams. In the fights you will choose three characters, even if the game life in each match will be unique (leaving it unchanged if you change character): in this way the dynamics of the escape (seen in other games) disappears in favor of a tactics to be developed in a short time, since the challenges will end a lot quickly. The fighting possibilities will be few compared to more complex titles, but this does not mean that the game will leave you easy: the challenges with the hardest AI in the game or with online players will make you understand how to choose the right team, the right timing. and the right moves will change the whole game a bit. All this is further "complicated" with the attributes of characters: if health and attack will define the basis of your favorite hero, special techniques and resistances will be all around. Each technique will have range, damage and elemental effects, which will clash against resistances, be they physical or elemental. In this way it will also become vital to understand how to adapt the team to cover the greatest number of different enemy types.

To add pepper come the environmental moves, real CGI events that can be activated depending on your fight (and the move you will make) that will remind you of scenes from your favorite comics: for example, seeing Ichigo drag an enemy onto a building or However, throwing Goku onto a bus remains a tasteful fan service.

Jump Force features a roster of 40 characters, to which they will be added 9 more with future DLCs: all in all not bad at all, considering that each of them has different moves and also a different basic combat pattern. Let's say that the skeleton is there, and also a bit of meat: surely the development studio could try to extrapolate a little more originality both on the plot and on the game system, yet we would not be surprised if we were to hear about how much work was needed for the balancing: to challenge heroes of every Japanese comic world, from fighters capable of launching energy waves to simple bodyguards, all without falling into imbalances and imbalances is very difficult, if not impossible. Yet - except for a few small tweaks that will surely be given later in time - fighting with Ryo Saeba against the fearsome Dio Brando will not be disadvantageous and will leave you with a sweet aftertaste in your mouth, of those that only fan service can leave.

Speaking quickly of the online, the lobby works in a practical and fast way (even if it has few options) and the fights, although we are talking about a game with a newborn netcode, are fluid and never slowed down (except for some connection jumps due to opposing players) .

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