Anime Fighting Review

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R – Review

For the few who haven’t heard of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, it started life as a manga that had quite a cult following. It was then turned into an anime that skyrocketed its popularity. It soon added a few games under its belt, including a certain 3D fighting game added back in 2013. Let’s see if the remaster of that game, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R, is ready to Shonen how it’s done.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure follows the trials and tribulations of the Joestar bloodline starting from the rivalry between Jonathan Joestar and Dio Brando. This involves Vampires, Nazis, Spirits based on your emotions (yes kids like Personas), lots of posing, and even dinosaurs.

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R - Story

Yare Yare Daze

What I’ve just told you about the series is little more than is presented within the “story mode” of the game titled “All-Star Battle” mode. Outside of the glossary, the game doesn’t tell you much about the events of the game. This is unlike some other Bandai Namco titles that tend to have you playing through the story time and time again.

It’s strange to not have that kind of story mode in place as it’s usually a staple of the genre. For me, this wasn’t an issue. I’ve read the manga and watched the anime. I know my Jonathan from my Jotaro and my Dio from my Diago. For the few casual players who just randomly pick this up because of its visuals, welcome to an absolutely beautiful world of confusion.

Need For Speedwagon

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R is a 3D 1vs1 Fighting game. While it functions mostly as a 2D fighter, you have a sidestep option opening up a little more as a 3D fighter. This is much in the vein of titles like Tekken or Virtua Fighter.

If you have played any fighter be it the recent Persona 4 Arena UltimaxPhantom Breaker: Omnia, or The King of Fighters XV, you’ll have an idea of what to expect with its controls. There are light, medium, and heavy attacks and the usual movement options. Aside from a side-step button, it doesn’t do anything bizarre with its button layout.

Special moves are performed using traditional fighting game inputs; That’s quarter circles and the like. You also have 2 sets of “ultra” moves. These are just as easy to pull off, and to help casual gamers there is an auto-combo mode on offer to help even the playing field somewhat. 

A more unique feature to JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R is the flashy dodge and block, which rewards split-second blocking/dodging reactions with damage negation and a flashy side step. Taunts also make a big impact here. This flashs a quote and panel from the anime, along with causing your foe to gain a negative special meter build and other bad status effects.

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R - Roster

An Enemy Stand!

The gameplay has seen various tweaks to its speed and balance. This makes it feel closer to a competitive traditional fighting game, whereas the original PlayStation 3 release felt closer to a 3D arena brawler with much stiffer controls and it was a much more unbalanced game. 

The roster is a fantastic collection of characters who all play in rather unique ways. Even if you weren’t a JoJo fan, I think you could easily appreciate the diverse roster on offer here.

The issue with the roster is the additions or rather the lack of them. Six “new” characters are in such as F.F from Stone Ocean. The issue is that the new characters are all reused assets from Eyes of Heaven, a previous JoJo title. On top of that, Part 8 (JoJolion) despite being finished now only has 1 character to represent it. This was much more acceptable in the original release due to it being very early into its run at that point. It’s less so here.

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R - Joseph Flying

Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!

In terms of game modes, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R has the following.

  • All-Star Battle
  • Arcade
  • Versus
  • Online 
  • Practice
  • Customize
  • Shop & Gallery

All-Star Battle is your main “story mode” featuring many of the major fights in the series’ history. This starts with Part 1 of the series (Phantom Blood) and ends with Part 8 (JoJolion).

While it replicates the fights as far as pitting say, Jonathan Vs Dio, it doesn’t explain why the fight is happening. It does however present many “What If” battles such as “What If” Kars fought Dio Brando from Stardust Crusaders.

Each fight has specific modifiers such as lowered defense and also a set of “secret objectives” such as “hit X move” or “win without losing”. You don’t know the full details of these until you do them without realizing or by paying a few hundred gold coins to unlock them. Completing these unlock costumes and Gallery items. 

All-Star Battle is a fun mode that can test you at times with its What-If and Boss fights alongside the optional objectives. The only real issue is the lack of context for people less familiar with the franchise. As it covers parts that have yet to receive anime adaptations, if you’re not a manga reader, you’ll have no context why a dinosaur and a disabled cowboy are trying to collect Jesus’ body parts. 

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R - Customize

The Joestar Family Technique

Arcade is your standard affair and good for your quick offline fix with its traditional 8-battle ladder or endless mode. Naturally, it doesn’t have character endings but does help you pad that gold coin counter for purchasing stuff in the Gallery.

Online multiplayer is here. As an incentive to play, there are unique costumes locked behind online trials. The issue here is that the Netcode isn’t really of an acceptable standard at the moment. Bandai Namco has stated they are looking into making it a much smoother experience because as it currently stands it’s not worth the consistent loading and lagging.

Customize allows you to customize your player profile and characters to show off your unique JoJo style. It’s a fun little diversion and something I’d imagine will come into its own once the online Netcode has been addressed.

Shop & Gallery has a plethora of JoJo content on offer to spend your gold coins on. There’s concept art, stage art, manga panels, and 3D models. Get stuck in and spend those points!

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R - Shop and Gallery

Filthy Acts Done For A Reasonable Price 

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R is just a visual treat. It takes all the wacky designs from the manga and brings them to life with 3D cel-shading and takes no liberties in doing so. 

The stages are beautifully recreated and based upon iconic fighting locations from the series, including certain events like the roof being full of vampires from Phantom Blood. There are also unique endings to fights called Dramatic Finishes, and should you meet the requirement you’re treated to a cutscene replicating stuff like someone’s death from Stardust Crusaders.

All the voice actors from the Japanese dub of the anime reprise their roles from the series. Those yet to receive adaptation have been suitably voiced, so zero complaints there either.

The music suitably fits the “Bizarre” tone of the game while not being too out there. In regards to licensed tracks, I’m not 100% sure but this seems to be missing a good few, especially from the Diamond Is Unbreakable and Golden Wind arcs. It’s nothing major though.


JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R is a much better fighting game than it was on its original release. The various gameplay tweaks and the increase to 60fps on current-gen and PC bring this underrated title to life. 

Unfortunately lackluster online multiplayer and lack of new characters do knock this down somewhat, but if you haven’t already owned the original and are newly into JoJo you’d be downright bizarre to sit this title out. 


Platforms: PC (Steam), PlayStation 4|5, XBox, Nintendo Switch

If you would like to see more anime fighters, you may be interested in our review of Persona 4 Arena Ultimax.

Many thanks go to Bandai Namco for a PlayStation 5 review code for this title.

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