JoJo's Bizzare Adventure: All-Star Battle R
Previously, I've mentioned how Anime and Gaming go hand-in-hand across various genres, with the most recent unique example being the Kobayashi-San shoot-em-up. Usually, however, anime and gaming can be seen as action or fighting games, providing minimal effort for the largest payoff. When JoJo's Bizzare Adventure: All-Star Battle was released in 2014 on the PS3 in the West, it was placed in an unfortunate scenario as the PS4 was released a few months before and all eyes were on Sony's newest console.
Unfortunately, this meant that while All-Star Battle was a solid fighting game experience, its console exclusivity and timing meant that it was in direct competition with another Sony exclusive, The Last of Us. Add on several other variables and the silent release of All-Star Battle was unfortunate to meet with minimal buzz. The game could have had far more popular than it would have been back then as the JoJo's Bizzare Adventure series was reaching its apex in popularity during this time. Maybe if Sony had introduced a way to make backward compatibility a possibility, the game would have had a chance.
Despite the setbacks, the game proved popular enough to warrant discussion of a proper remaster. With the release of Stone Ocean on Netflix, the Jojo's Bizzare Adventure brand continues to remain a strong one among anime fans. It would be Bandai Namco's second chance to capitalize on it and this time they would go all out with marketing and promotion.
During my time at EVO, I'd occasionally walk past the booth and there were always people trying the game out. There was even a tournament featuring the game itself and many players had positive things to say about it. As I finally had the chance to play the game in my hands, here are my thoughts on JoJo's Bizzare Adventure All-Star Battle R as one who didn't play the original. So, what is new in R that's different from the original?
In total, aside from a remaster to make the game look as modern as possible, there are bonus exclusive characters, expanding the already massive roster past 50 characters. Fan favorites including Trish Una, Speedwagon, and the infamous Pet Shop (thanks Capcom) are added to the line-up of fighters. While the controversy surrounding the lack of "rollback netcode" is a current talking point for All-Star Battle, I'm here to talk semantics.
Mechanically, Jojo's Bizzare Adventure: All-Star Battle succeeds in sticking to the source material as a majority of the cast fights using "stands." In the anime, it's explained that Stands are the physical manifestation of a fighter's energy. Those who wield it are aptly named "Stand Users." As the concept of "Stands" didn't manifest until Part 3's Stardust Crusaders, characters from the first two parts use "Ripple," or "Hamon," which works similarly but without the usage of stands.
Every character has access to a "Style" button, which acts differently depending on if a fighter relies on Hamon or Stands. The former charges up energy and increases their super meter, similar to ki-charging in a Dragon Ball game. While they don't have an expansive move list like Stand users, Hamon users rely on raw power to win battles. The latter is the most interesting of the two styles as players can summon their Stand at will.
For my first impressions, I used Jolyne Cujoh as she's one of my favorite Jojo's characters. The combat in All-Star Battle is incredibly easy to grasp. There are light, medium, and heavy attacks with each having a special move assigned to them. Using a traditional "fireball" motion plus any two buttons will initiate a Super and using three buttons will use their ultimate attack. The combo system is just as easy to understand. Light > Medium > Heavy > Special > Super is generally the hierarchy of attacks. With Stand users, they call in their Stand, and their move list changes accordingly but the same principles apply. You can even cancel your stand to act autonomously on its own as you control your character separately, like a puppet character in other fighters.
After spending a half hour in training mode, I was able to see the potential depths that lie with characters like these. I think that's the beauty of All-Star Battle in that it's not simply an Ultimate Ninja Storm clone like the Demon Slayer fighter was. It's a well-thought-out 2.5D fighter that rewards players in trying out things and taking risks. There's enough fanservice for fans of the series in story mode as well, including "canon" fights and "extra 'what-if' fights."
One humorous "Extra" fight is between Jolyne herself and Part 4 Jotaro, the former being a new character in All-Star Battle R. Without saying too much, Jotaro is the father of Jolyne who has been absent for most of her life. This leads to a bitter confrontation from the latter, who Jotaro is very much aware of who she is as she was already born by the time Diamond Is Unbreakable (Part 4) took place. I wouldn't consider myself the biggest JoJo fan, but JoJo's Bizzare Adventure: All-Star Battle R is a must-have for any fan of the series and any fan of fighting games who missed out on the original a decade ago.
JoJo's Bizzare Adventure: All-Star Battle R is available on Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, Sony PlayStation 4, Sony PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S.