Jump Force is an anime fighting game. If you enjoyed the Dragonball Xenoverse series, this may be for you. Many feel to be the successor as the concept is similar. Unlike Xenoverse however, Jump Force features 40 fighter characters, not only from the Dragonball series but a total of 16 series such as Naruto, One Piece, Rurouni Kenshin, My Hero Academia, Bleach, Yu Yu Hakusho and many more. You can play Jump Force on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
The plot of the story is admittedly quite weak. You play as a custom character who is given power after almost dying as a bystander in a fight between Frieza and Goku. The power is given through the umbra cube, a device which the antagonist has been using to control the heroes of the multiverse. Your custom character can be designed from parts which seem to be from the other characters in the game. If you ever wanted to make Piccolo with Goku’s hair, this is your chance.
The majority of the story revolves around this plot of heroes being controlled as an excuse to go and defeat them and then recruit them into your team. You get called into the team leader’s office, told a little bit about the character and get sent to fight him. You then bring them back to the base and can use them as a character.
Unfortunately the story never really addresses certain inconsistent aspects, such as how Kenshin (a top-tier swordsman, but a normal human) can equally fight Frieza (an alien being who can destroy planets). Another of note is that a teenage Naruto exists at the same time as his teenage son, likely just to shoehorn in the Boruto series which is popular now with the most well-known version of Naruto.
The story does redeem itself a little near the end. I’ll not say why to avoid spoilers, but you do get to learn more about a certain character and something out of the ordinary from the rest of the story happens.
As for the gameplay, most of it revolves around the fighting as would be expected. You participate in fights, usually with three characters whom you can switch between while sharing a single health bar. Through the story, one of these will be your custom character and you can bring along two more characters from your team. You can switch as much as you would like mid-match and even do combos together while doing it.
The fighting is fairly easy to pick up. There are no long orders of buttons to learn to pull off certain attacks, but you do have to learn when to use certain attacks for the best effect. You will need to ingrain the controls into your memory well enough to get past the story battles though, as they’re not too easy. Quick reactions are needed to successfully dodge or block the enemy’s attack or to continue a combo.
Each character has several of their signature attacks. Kamehameha for Goku from Dragonball for example. Most seem to have an attack suited for close, mid and long range, but you can choose which attacks to use for your custom character. Each character also has a special attack which can only be used after receiving high enough damage. This attack can do an incredible amount of damage and change the flow of the battle in seconds if it hits.
My opinion on the fighting is quite good, as it’s very responsive and not too technical so everyone can enjoy it, but still relies on skill quite a bit. I enjoyed using the various attacks and while they might fall into a similar category as another, they’re reasonably unique from each other.
One thing which keeps the gameplay interesting is some variation in the matches. Outside of the story fights, there are missions which often include special conditions to win. These can vary from using a certain character in your team, to keeping above a certain health level or fighting in a certain way.
Another way to keep things fresh is delving into online battles. Humans do tend to fight quite differently from the NPCs and can be far more difficult to beat. I did have technical issues getting into matches with other people at times, but it generally worked well enough. Wait times were a bit long sometimes, which wasn’t a huge issue but could be improved.
Outside of the fighting, you spend your time in a lobby where you can interact with a variety of NPCs and see other online players running around. Sometimes you have to run around talking to a few specific characters to move the story along, but it’s often just a case of going to the mission counter or to the office.
There are shops to buy extra customization items for your character. This allows you to expand both your options for the appearance of the character and the options you have to choose their special attacks from.
The graphics in the game look amazing generally, but the facial animations are really off. If you can ignore that, it’s all good.
The sound is good, but it is worth noting that there is not an English dub for this game. The character voices are purely in Japanese, so subtitles will be a must for the majority of people.
One big downside of this game is the price. The base game’s price is on the same level as an AAA game and unlikely to get a discount soon as those often do. The DLC price is enough to pick up another game and only adds character-related content.
Generally, I think that Jump Force is a good fighting game, with a terrible story and too high price. I do feel like fans of the anime involved will appreciate the game much more than others. A lot of care has been taken to transfer the characters from anime format into the game and keep them as they are meant to be. It is also quite fun to see characters from different series talking to each other which you can only really experience in a crossover event.