Jump Force is anime fan service to the extreme; a crossover 3-on-3 3D fighting game that accomplishes for readers of Weekly Shonen Jump manga series what Smash Bros. does for video game enthusiasts- provide a platform to settle playground arguments over which overpowered fictional characters would win in an all-out brawl. Developed by Spike Chunsoft and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment, Jump Force has a launch roster comprised of 42 characters from beloved manga including Dragon Ball, Naruto, One Piece, My Hero Academia, Saint Seiya, and even Fist of the North Star. With all the love that newer heroes like Deku get in the pop culture pantheon nowadays, it’s nice to see Kenshiro’s no-nonsense attitude and hundred-fist attacks in the spotlight once again.
Unfortunately, when you peel back the flashy roster of space aliens and samurai warriors, what you’re left with is an often-frustrating fighting game held back by its very structure. Whether playing online with friends or offline on your own, it takes far too long to get into the action in Jump Force. The title’s overworld is cumbersome to navigate if all you want to do is recreate a classic anime battle, although it does give you a chance to show off the clothing that you’ve customized your avatar with.
That’s not to say that the battles in Jump Force aren’t challenging. In fact, there are multiple layers of mechanics involving combos, throws, flashy special attacks, and other combat wrinkles unique to every character that makes each battle feel fresh. Knowing that Luffy is excellent for knocking around enemies at a long distance, for example, could mean the difference between victory and Himura Kenshin’s blade causing your demise. If you have the patience to wade through a few too many menus and loading screens, you’ll find a fine fighting game that will put up more of a challenge than you may have expected from it in the first place.
Jump Force Review Final Thoughts:
Jump Force is a fun, but flawed, fighting game that hardcore anime fans would get a kick out of playing between streaming episodes on Crunchyroll. The roster is broad enough to appeal to wide audiences, and the frantic battles require more than button-mashing, which fighting fans can appreciate. That’s not to say that you can’t cheese your way to victory by creating a character that uses everyone else’s best moves to win – it’s worked for Goku for the last 30+ years.
Jump Force on PS4
- Large character roster filled with popular manga characters.
- An original story mode and missions that reward skill with unlockable items and upgrades.
- Online battles to enjoy with friends (before getting thwomped by people who take the time to really practice).
- Would be nice to have non-Shonen Jump characters available as DLC in the future, including Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop, Ryuko Matoi from Kill la Kill, and Saitama from One Punch Man, but that is what the create-a-character mode is for.
- Clunky dialogue, cinematic animations, and menu navigations between battles.