JUMP FORCE First Impression: Settle The Score In A 3D Arena

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While there are constant debates on which anime character is stronger than the other, of which many put Goku as the top tier fighter across all of anime, we finally have a way to settle the score. Bringing all characters across a multitude of popular anime’s, including DragonBall Z, Yu Yu Hakusho, Naruto, Bleach, and much more, to an equal level of strength brings the battle down to fighting styles and move sets. While strength plays the largest role in the actual debates, narrowing it down to fighting styles and move sets is an oddly satisfying representation of “who is better?”

Bandai Namco released a closed beta for Jump Force and I was lucky enough to have been invited! Even more exciting, I found out they removed the scheduled clash times that were previously mentioned on the initial announcements. Even if it weren’t, they allowed players to face off against the CPU. This is where I shined while getting used to the controls, but online was a rather brutal realization that I may not be ready for the 3D style fighting arena while others are much more prepared.

Gameplay

The first thing I want to bring up is the lobby system. They seem to be rather proud of how they handled DragonBall FighterZ because we once again get a lobby system instead of just a menu to use. My hopes are still high that the lobby system will be better than the one from DragonBall FighterZ, but the set up was only slightly different in style while giving you more freedom to look and move around it. This was the closed beta, so there was only one server open which is why this is still a hopeful situation that it will be better but we just can’t know for sure until it is finalized.

When you first load up the game it gives you the option to choose from a few different custom characters. I didn’t get to design them and they looked a bit random generated, but this shows that there will be customization options for players to make unique characters. This character is more than just a lobby character though as the one I chose to use was also on the character roster to take into battle! With the move sets changing per character, I hope we will also be able to mix a few moves and have a character represent multiple of our favorite anime’s.

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The fighting itself seemed smooth overall. You could combine different moves, dash towards players, power up, use one of your super moves, change between characters, call in one of your three chosen fighters for an assist move, and so much more. You can’t switch to one or the other of your back up fighter options as it only let you change to the next one in line, but you can go through the list of them before getting the first fighter back out.

Combinations I could pull off including the basic ground combinations that led to air combinations, ground combinations that led to a super attack with a 100% chance of landing, a grab the led to an air combination, and a few other basic mix ups. When I played higher skilled players online, however, I saw combinations that included using multiple characters in one go, continuing an attack with an assist, and is even where I learned that you can dodge the continued air attack once you have been hit across the arena.

Graphics

Bringing a multitude of anime’s into a single art style that doesn’t make any of them look bad is probably the hardest thing to pull off with this game. I’m not saying they were perfect, but it had a very acceptable aesthetic blend. The lobby and different arenas showed the highest promise of graphics as they had a somewhat realistic look while maintaining the fact that it is a cartoon as well. A few of the maps had some interesting items, such as the broken Statue of Liberty on the Namek map.

Expectations

I’m looking forward to seeing a much larger roster than what was given on the closed beta. I already know it will as it didn’t have Yugi nor Light, both of which I was hoping to try out. Other than that, there seemed to be a bit of favoritism on Naruto and hope to see more anime’s having three character options, if not four. This roster literally has an unlimited amount of room for growth.

The lobby system will need to more universal than the one they use in DragonBall FighterZ. Personally, I prefer to just have a simple menu list, but if I can party up and invite friends to join me, then that will work well enough.

Being able to customize my own character is likely the coolest aspect that I wasn’t expecting to see. Knowing it is there though makes me hope that I will be able to create an ultimate character with moves from DragonBall Z, Yu Yu Hakusho, Deathnote, and Naruto.  Going into battle with moves from my top anime choices would be awesome!

Last thing to mention is the hope for a party mode. Since we can have up to three fighters on our team, I would love to be able to do the same as we do in DragonBall FighterZ and team up with a couple friends to form the ultimate fighting team! There was no spot in the lobby that mentioned it nor did I see it on any options menu, but that is one aspect that is worth implementing.

Conclusion

The closed beta for Jump Force was a lot of fun and brings a new style of fighting for players to enjoy. While I have yet to get used to the 3D arena, unlike many I faced online during the weekend, it is an element that I look forward to exploring further. Bringing together top characters from popular anime’s for a high intensity battle between each other is brilliant and this game is showing promise to be a suitable fit for the ultimate showdown.