I need to preface this review by saying I’ve never watched Jo Jo’s Bizarre Adventure. I never played JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure All-Star Battle on PlayStation 3. My only exposure to JoJo was spending a small amount of time with the Capcom published, Cyber Connect 2 developed JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure on Dreamcast. But we’re talking over 20 years ago so I’m effectively coming in fresh judging this purely as a fighter I could potentially enjoy.
Yare Yare Daze!
It’s interesting to think that this came out only 2 months before Killer Instinct in 2013 and two years after Marvel vs Capcom 3 and I have to wonder how this game would have done had it been attached to a less niche property. As the original did on Dreamcast, JoJo takes a lot of inspiration from Marvel vs Capcom and it’s immediately apparent when you play it. It’s somewhat less chaotic to actually play, but the on-screen action can appear even crazier with the anime inspired visual splendour on display.
It’s also quite interesting to see that Cyber Connect 2 developed both the Dreamcast original, the PlayStation 3 sequel and the current Remaster. I feel like this has meant we got a super solid port of the game and my brief research of the PlayStation 3 titles shows that it’s been translated beautifully from the original.
But as someone who had never watched the anime, I did my best to briefly catch up on the franchises history both in anime and video games and it really does seem like Cyber Connect 2 have managed to not only faithfully refresh their fighting game series, but also captured JoJo’s extravagant style and really brought the manga to life as a fighting game.
Finding a niche
Having played a lot of fighting games over the last 30 years, JoJo’s Bizarre adventure felt fairly familiar as most of the standards Capcom introduced to us throughout the many versions of Street Fighter and Marvel vs Capcom, were all in place here. Which makes sense given Capcom published (and most likely oversaw) the original game on Dreamcast.
There are some subtle differences in the control scheme some may need to adjust to. Most players these days (at least the more casual fighting fan at least) are more accustomed to the High/Medium/Low combination of punches and kicks. JoJo eschews that and goes for the more SNK inspired High/Medium/Low Attack as well as “Dodge” which many Sega fans will remember from Virtua Fighter.
It won’t take most long to acclimatise, but I did however find myself pressing incorrect buttons every now and again, but I put that down to muscle memory on Capcom fighters more than anything.
Speaking of niche, maybe it’s down to my timezone, but I simply couldn’t find an online match to try out how the game performs. Which is really unfortunate. While I don’t expect many if any games to ever reach the level of Killer Instinct online, at the very least for a more complete review, it would have been good to see how it fared.
It has to be said that I personally feel the visual style and flair is where JoJo really shines. Cyber Connect 2 really went to great lengths to make this game feel like Hirohiko Araki’s Manga comic come to life. Characters are big, bold and expertly infuse that “hand drawn” almost cel shaded looks to them. Special moves and Ultras/Finishers are suitably over the top and carry that heavy anime influence that can often have you simply staring hypnotically as you watch your super move play out.
The only real knock on the visuals are the animations which can be a bit stiff and it felt to me like it almost affected how well the fights themselves flowed. But that could have been my imagination. It’s also understandable that they probably didn’t think it would be worth the cost/benefit to completely overhaul the animations on a near decade old niche fighting game port.
The options on offer here are pretty standard fare. Arcade, VS, Practice and “All Star Battle” is sort of your “Story” mode where you get to work your way through a bunch of scenarios. For example, fighting a character who replenishes their life periodically. It’s an interesting spin on a more traditional story mode but clearly takes some inspiration from Street Fighter Alpha 3’s World Tour mode. Which is never a bad thing.
Overall JoJo is a pretty solid fighter and a pretty good upgraded port to boot. Some may find the price somewhat prohibitive given the semi-bare bones modes on offer combined with the fact that we are ultimately talking about a port of a niche near decade old fighter, but if you can look past that, there’s fun to be had. Jo Jo Manga/Anime fans should definitely be giving this a go.
|Reviewed on||Xbox Series X|
|Available on||Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Game Pass, Windows PC, PS4|PS5, Switch|
|Release Date||September 2nd, 2022|
|Developer||CyberConnect2 Co., Ltd.|