- System: PS4, Xbox One, PC
- Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
- Developer: Spike Chunsoft
- Release Date: February 15, 2019
- Rating: T for Teen
- Genre: Fighting, Action
- Players: 1-2 (Online)
- Official Website: https://www.bandainamcoent.com/games/jump-force
Who it Caters to
What to Expect
As is apparent quite quickly, Jump Force centers around the concept of having popular Shonen Jump franchises thrown together in a 3D fighting game. Players will create their own heroes, give them a fighting style and enter the world of Goku, Luffy, Naruto and a plethora of other familiar faces to Jump fans. The main story itself centers around your hero—or heroine—being brought back to life via the powers of the umbras cube. From here, you’ll choose between three factions—Alpha, Beta and Gamma—all of which are represented by the three main heroes mentioned above. This set up begins the good and bad of Jump Force…we’ll start with the good and work our way to the bad.
As a fighting game, Jump Force is quite competent. Similar to most 3D brawlers—like Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm—players choose teams of three and fight with a wide spread arsenal of characters. To keep things simple, Jump Force relies on using a very simple 3D fighting set-up that is seen in tons of other fighters. Each warrior might play slightly different from one another but on a whole, each has the same light, heavy, grab and special attack set up. As you fight you gain a meter that allows for a special move and or the ability to boost your stats via an awakening mode. We did love that your main character has a blank slate of abilities allowing him or her to be given almost all of the other Jump Force characters skills and allows players to make a warrior that is truly pretty powerful.
As you play Jump Force, you’ll find the story mode will be the brunt of your single player experience as you fight against heroes and villains alike from the Shonen Jump world. Each win gives you gold that can be spent on customization items for your warrior as well as new abilities and skills that boost their stats. Your best bet before purchasing skills and abilities is to fight as the various other heroes as you unlock them and see what skills you prefer before you end up wasting gold on a skill that ultimately doesn’t mesh with your own play style. Jump Force is truly pretty robust as a fighting game, offering tons of modes—story, free battles, online and offline fights—which gives players a nice amount of content for their dollar.
The last strong element of Jump Force comes in its graphical element. Outside of cutscenes—which we’ll mention soon enough don’t you worry—Jump Force looks down right spectacular. All of the heroes and villains are well animated in combat and look spot on to their original manga/anime counterparts. Unleashing Vegeta’s Big Bang Attack or Goku’s Spirit Bomb look downright marvelous and never gets old. Ichigo going into his special Bankai form and or seeing Naruto enter Sage Mode put smiles on our faces every time we did it during battle. Plus, hearing the original voice actors/actresses for almost all of the characters makes Jump Force pretty dang loyal to fans of the franchise.
Unfortunately, with all that Jump Force does well…it also fails in many of its elements equally as bad. The first major flaw of Jump Force comes in the story itself. While we didn’t expect an award-winning script—many collaboration fighters have weak stories—we did expect a story that at least made us want to play all the way through story mode. The story itself is just laughable with no shocks other than how mediocre it comes off at the end of the day. Even when Light Yagami appears, you know he’s not going to be a good guy and it lacked even the impact we had hoped we’d get after having seen the trailers with his looming presence over the battlefield.
Speaking of lack of impact, that’s another issue we had while playing Jump Force. While combat works very well and feels solid—dodging is smooth and unleashing co-op-based attacks or switches rock—it doesn’t have any oomph behind it. A lot of attacks tend to feel flat and it almost feels like you’re fighting against punching bags then legendary warriors. This is kind of fixed when fighting against real people online but even then, it doesn’t feel as impactful as we would have liked.
The biggest crime of Jump Force though is the beautiful animation coming off flat and ridiculous when you’re playing the story. We said it before, Jump Force looks incredible most of the time but when cutscenes occur, the ball game changes…poorly. Characters will move in bizarre ways and tend to lack almost any emotion behind their words or actions. All you need to do—after reading this review of course—is search up Jump Force cutscenes and you’ll see tons of hilariously bad clips of characters moving and acting during these moments. Jump Force looks beautiful, but when the story comes into being, those looks tend to drop harshly.
Wrapping up our gameplay section, we do have a few more minor gripes with Jump Force to mention. The first is the loading times. Pausing the game to go into customization menus or going from scene to scene all results in lengthy load times. Add to this online lag—which we experienced several times—and loading into a long-awaited battle just feels like a punch to the gut. Are these issues game breaking? No, but they do ruin the fun to be had with Jump Force.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
- Amazing graphics with a high amount of attention to character models
- Solid 3 vs 3 fighting gameplay that makes fights simple for all fighting gamer levels
- Use of most of the original voice actors/actresses is wonderful to hear
- Plenty of customization options to make for the perfect warrior in looks and skills
- Multiple gameplay modes for a plethora of things to do
- Strange and bizarre animation and graphics during cutscenes
- Online has occasional lag
- Fighting tend to sometimes lack impact or feel
- Terrible load times
- Predictable story with no strong moment to be had