When the world of the near ultimate cluster of Shounen heroes we have all come to know and love collide right here in our world, one would think that the greatest miracle on earth has finally come forth regardless of the chaos it brings, but no one would have thought that the outcome would bring such disaster. Jump Force was supposed to be the dream game of all the hardcore shounen fans, not the void of lifeless characters that we were all supposed to love and admire growing up.
The setting of the plot is that the worlds from manga series’ in Shounen Jump have collided which brings forth the heroes and villains from their respective realities. Chaos ensues and regular people are getting dragged into it with some becoming puppets for the villains and others (the players) becoming champions of the collective force of heroes from our world and the fictional world called Jump Force. While it’s good that they are trying to make a story out of it but we definitely know that we just want an excuse for the ultimate mashup of Shounen characters to happen. The story is devoid of any real substance that would keep anyone interested, in some chapters your champion and an agent from Jump Force will go out and subdue other Shounen heroes who have been taken control of the enemy. After defeating them the characters just join the Jump Force team without any protest at all or need of convincing which goes to show how lazy the writing is in this game. Gone are those emotional and heartwrenching scenes that we’ve become accustomed to when watching the anime or reading the manga, gone are those long flashbacks that would last one whole episode but in reality was actually just 1-3 seconds. The only thing that has kept me interested in the story at the least is the role of Yagami Light and Ryuk from Death Note but other than that there’s really no reason to invest in the plot of the game.
Some of the dialogue is also really awkward, like in one scene where Vegeta who is definitely one of the strongest characters to exist in Shounen history, is wary of Ryo Saeba, the main character of City Hunter, who is basically just a regular guy that’s strong and likes to hit on chicks. Not even the subs have gone through proper proofreading as you’ll find a few grammatical errors and it’s also worse since they keep repeating the same errors. The only thing I can appreciate at least in the writing is that they slightly break the 4th wall by acknowledging that the heroes and villains feel like they came out of comic books.
The graphics and art style has shifted to a forced 3D look instead of a more 2D-esque style that we have all come to know and love. The characters look downright horrendous and creepy except for Frieza and Cell which I personally found looked awesome in 3D. Just imagine Luffy’s constant huge smile looking at you all the time in 3D… in 3D! Some characters are passable but most definitely failed. It would’ve definitely been better if they were to use cel-shaded graphics to make it look and feel more natural instead of murdering the images of some of our favorite childhood idols.
For those of you who love Dragonball Xenoverse then this game might be for you since you get to create your own character and walk around in a HUB to interact with the game like for going for online/offline battles, buying things in the shop, claiming rewards, talking to your squad leaders, and etc. Exploring the HUB is something that was taxing in my opinion since there’s no fast travel, no large map option so I could only rely on the minimap which can be hidden if you press triangle if you’re not careful, interactive stalls are so spread out, the basement is large and absolutely empty, and etc. A cool saving grace though is that your created character can have a diverse combination of skills from all other characters. It looks so cool and felt so awesome to use a Kamehameha on a Kaguya Ootsutsuki (Naruto) and using Kenshin’s Kuzuryūsen (Nine-Head Dragon Flash).
The actual fighting is actually fun and easy to get into but it is rather dull when fighting an AI; it is heavily recommended to go online or go up against a friend offline. However, the system doesn’t make sense because even though you have a party of three, all of you have a shared health bar, so tagging in doesn’t do much but change the skillsets in layman’s term. There’s really no explanation the game has to offer for this kind of system. It would’ve been passable if they’d at least try to explain or incorporate it into the story but apparently they don’t even care about common sense. During the action of the fighting, you’ll be amazed by the effects and blurs in the screen but you can also easily get lost in it which makes things a bit hard to keep track of. It should also be noted that the camera can definitely be against you or the other player during multiplayer since it focuses on one character at a time so tread carefully. It is also a bit awkward to see those of different power levels fighting those who are clearly of significantly lower rank but still being balanced in the game. Like seeing Yugi Moto manhandle Frieza using Dark Magician Girl, which by this logic means Yugi and his deck have power levels OVER 9000!
Shounen Jump created this game in celebration of their 50th year anniversary and many of us were definitely at least interested in it and some couldn’t help but be overly excited over it. The theory and potential were definitely there, I just don’t know what happened to the execution, delivery, and passion though. For all we know it could be hidden in Kakashi’s mouth if we’re lucky. Jump Force is not a bad game, nor was it a good game, but definitely a disappointing game in my opinion. For Shounen Jump reaching the big 50, I can only give this game just that, a 5 and a 0.
Disclosure: This review is based on a review code provided by Bandai Namco Entertainment. Read our review policy to know how we go with our game reviews.
Tested: PS4 Pro