game_baron's JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle (PlayStation 3) review

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JoJo's Bizarre Adventure All Star Battle

Based on the popular manga series by Hirohiko Araki, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (or JJBA for short), tells the tale of a family of superheroes, who get into bizarre adventures. Released in Japan in 2013 it was thought to be that this wouldn't get localized, however developer CyberConnect2 listen to fans request and subsequently was released for western markets in 2014.

The gameplay is reminiscent of the Naruto games (which are also developed by CyberConnect2), with over the top cutscenes that are activated into a character's super move. Upon colser experimentation, To me, the gameplay is a mixture of Injustice and Tekken, where there are stage hazards to be manipulated (Injustice) and the shift of chararacters between foreground and background (Tekken). There are four inputs to be used: light, medium and hard attacks (square, triangle and circle, respectively), while the X button is for the character to shift in and out. Depending on the gauge, input a movement with the d-pad plus any two attack buttons to release a Heart Heat Attack, or press all three for a Great Heat Attack. There is also a Style button for each character.

What makes this game stand out are the characters and their styles. Each batch of characters are taken from their respective parts in the manga series and categorized: Hamon (5 characters), Vampire (1 character), Mode (3 characters), Stand (29) and one character who's vastly different from them all (he was based from an earlier manga). Mostly the characters to play would be those of the Stand style. Like the source material, characters can summon a spirit guardian, or Stand to help them. Using the style button, a player can call a stand in and out of gameplay, the only draw is that once a character's stand is activated, another character can knock them down and the stand will disappear, unless the player character do an input at the right time to negate the fall. If a player uses a Hamon character, it is the equivelant of a charge character; using the style button, Hamon characters level up the gauge and unleash attacks faster; the problem is they're more prone to attack from the hard hitting Stand users. The Mode characters are just 3 villains from the series 2nd story arc. One uses wind powers; one uses fire powers and the last uses light powers. Their drawback is that they are weak against Hamon characters due to the nature of the story. There is one Vampire character, who just is a common powerhouse, get-in-close fighter. again, this character is susceptible to Hamon powers. The last two characters focus of horses (yes, they fight on horseback). Even though they do use stands (only as a HHA or GHA attack). They are very tricky as while on horseback, they deal some damage, and cannot be thrown. If they are up against a stand character, they can be knocked of their horse, but are no less weaker.

A fun system in battle situations is each character's taunt. After knocking down a character, a press of the taunt button quickly goes into a cutscene, and with that, it causes the opponent's gauge to go down by a bar, thus putting a dent in the player's power. altough it can get frustrating if spammed a lot, even going against a player who doesn't know the mechanics of the game.

There is an online campaign mode used for fighting online versus ghost characters, to gain power ups, and extra unlockables such as taunt animations and costumes. Arcade mode, which is exclusive to just US and Euro players is that a player picks a character to fight against 8 random computer controlled characters. The higher the numbered character, the higher the difficulty. After each battle, the player is awarded gold based on a three point grade system - the higher the grade, the more gold one gets.

This a game clearly for the fans of the series; although I could argue that bringing in a newcomer and having them play could be an indicator in the awareness of the manga and anime series as well as raise interest in the Fighting Game Community.

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