Jump Force is one of the most unique games I have played recently. It takes the characters we’ve come to know and love through the years from the Shonen Jump Manga. Then brings them into our reality or in this case the reality of the game because in our reality we have cosplayers who do that. When I started playing it, I was unsure of how the characters would act and how they could get so many unique people with such personalities to work together. I knew the narrative of Jump Force would be the most difficult thing to handle about the game and honestly? Bandai handled it very well. So much of the game revolves around the cast of characters and the story they are building up with them, with combat taking a close second to the gameplay.
The core focus for Jump Force isn’t the fighting which is evident. Due to the scaling of combat to a weaker leveled character and the lack of proper tutorials for more advanced combat. Their core focus going into this was asking the big questions. How are we going to bring together years’ worth of unique personalities into one game? The answer was simple, they took an outside source who hides between the Universes and directly influences the writers and artists for the characters we know and love.
It’s this force who also wants to remake the world in his image, but to accomplish this task he needs energy from both good and evil generated by his Umbra cubes. Which have decimated earth and the other Jump worlds. It’s at this point the character the player is in control of dies and is reborn as a hero thanks to the Umbras cube. Joined by Goku, Luffy, and Naruto. The player has to choose a faction that will help with the online features of the game and doesn’t affect the story at all.
The three legendary heroes from the Jump Worlds then begin to recruit other heroes who were thrown into our world in the hopes to strengthen their numbers and bring a swift end to the event of the worlds merging together. Goku even went on the note and wondered what happened to the Dragon Balls Shenron could probably fix this with no problem at all! It’s a good note to see the characters talking about their world and not the world they’re in. Because of this, it helps reaffirm their connection to the manga and their personality quirks.
When you start accepting missions to further increase the roster of Jump Force characters. You get to encounter other characters and see their interactions with yourself and other Jump Force characters most notably how Sanji deals with fighting female characters such as Rukia from Bleach. The short answer is he can’t, anytime a female character comes into the fight all his special attacks and basic attacks become flying hearts of affection as he tries to win over whoever he is fighting.
It’s these character traits that Jump Force uses a lot both inside and outside of combat and uses to help move the narrative along. Jump Force utilizes character such as Frieza and Perfect Cell from Dragon Ball Z, and Black Beard from One Piece as a means to progress the story and create scenarios that brings the unique cast of characters together. There are issues however due to some heroes not wanting to get along with each other. Sasuke from Naruto is one of these characters as is Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z some characters believe how superior they are to the rest. Zoro from One Piece even is confronted by Kenshin Himura from Rurouni Kenshin and is even beaten in a side quest the player can undertake exposing how Zoro’s drive to be the best. Can also be a double-edged sword that brings about his defeat.
Moving onto the gameplay section of Jump Force, underwhelming is the word that most accurately fits this situation. In Dragon Ball Xenoverse we always had basic moves followed by our four unique skills we can draw upon in combat. Jump Force takes the same approach but instead of wide open areas and numerous enemies to fight. They narrow the field of combat significantly for a one on one fight. The secondary members of your party playing support roles are ready to switch out. On the off chance you encounter issues such as Sanji fighting a lady, or if the enemy has an attribute that is strong against your characters.
Much like older fighting games there are arena changes as you fight against your opponents. When you have ascertained enough strength you are in the very literal sense of the word. Capable of knocking opponents out of where you are fighting. Tearing through the ocean floor, through mountains, or just into a pile of cars to watch it explode. It’s these same moments where whichever opponent you are fighting will be removed from the fight indefinitely and one of their support players will take over.
What Jump Force does, however, is rely so heavily on the combat of the game and try to force interactions between the players through over-the-top cut-scenes. As if Bandai didn’t think they could create more interesting conversations and interactions between the characters from the Shonen Jump mangas. Personal feedback on the matter, they could have had an open world much like Dragon Ball Xenoverse and quests. Having Seto Kaiba in charge of search and development and needing the player to defeat a certain number of enemies to develop new cosmetics. They could even have Goku send the player out on training missions and bring Deku from My Hero Academia along to prove himself and explore his character more.
It’s moments like what I described what Bandai could have done and why I liked the game but remain disappointed in the execution. Jump Force is good with the characters but not through the endless combat it forces the players to partake in as it became repetitive and dull also I didn’t get to summon Blue-Eyes on my character when I bought the Kaiba DLC.
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