It’s no secret, I love crossovers. Big players of the gaming industry joining forces to create behemoth sized games spanning all genres (but mostly fighting games) never fails to interest me. So after the announcement of Spike Chunsoft’s J-Stars Victory Vs+ which was coming to PlayStation 4, I had to cover it and I can thanks to publishers Bandai Namco. I knew it was a fighting game. I expected it to be a one-on-one Street Fighter-esque brawler featuring anime stars but I got quite a surprise when I fired it up.
J-Stars’ story mode is an old cliché which happens in most crossover games. A tournament has opened up in Jump World, which happens to be a mish mash of all the featured characters worlds, and every fighter has their own reason for entering which is told through 4 chapters. The Motion Chapter focuses on Luffy, Ace, and Seiya; the Hope Chapter on Naruto, Yusuke, and Gon; the Research Chapter on Toriko, Zebra, and Goku; and the Pursuit Chapter on Ichigo, Oga, and Hiei. Unfortunately, the plotline failed to grip me. I’m not a huge fan of any of the games of which the characters come from but I found it a confusing assault on the brain and I just wanted to get on with the action...
...the action, however, stumped me. Players take control of a member of a duo of heroes who are then placed in an arena type battleground. Rather than having to defeat your opponent to win, you have to fill up the WIN gauge at the top of the screen made up of three sections. One enemy KO fills up one section. An unusual but simple premise. To kick ass, you have regular attacks, power attacks, area-based attacks, and finishing moves. Regular attacks are quick combos that look cool but don’t really pack that much of a punch whereas power attacks are crunchier but leave you open to counter and the latter two abilities are self-explanatory. You can top the match off with an impressive team move too. These are the most powerful and flashiest moves in the game and are ideal to unleash mega damage. These are character specific so yes Goku can go Super Saiyan! Nice!
The problems with J-Stars begin here. Repetitiveness kicks in fairly quickly as you are forced to perform the same moves over and over. A successful combo knocks back the opponent significantly so you are constantly chasing and hunting for them. It’s a pain. What should be an all-out battle royal ends up being a game of cat and mouse as characters move slowly. This slow movement even helps escape opponent’s team move which no doubt helped but it was a tad unfair.
The environments, although unique to each featured game series, are bland and dull. Buildings can be destroyed but there seems to be no collision detection. What I mean is falling or throwing your opponent into a building causes it to break apart but it has no meatiness to it. The building just seems to...disintegrate. I can’t fault the colour scheme. Environments are bright and colourful and are faithful to the series they are ripped from. Same goes to the cast of characters. Fist of the North Stars’ Kenshiro, DragonBall Z’ Goku and Naruto all look great and their abilities are faithful to their characters. I was impressed with the roster, but you gotta unlock them first which is a chore.
All your favourite Japanese anime stars are here.
Characters look and act how they are well known to.
Team up manoeuvres are awesome.
Multiplayer is fun.
What should be all out war tends to be more cat and mouse.
What potentially could have been a great anime fighter turns out to be a dull and lifeless slow paced brawler which seems to be a missed opportunity. All your favourite Japanese anime fighters are here from the biggest games series but the terrible slow gameplay doesn’t do them justice. The graphics are nice though.