Jump Force Review

By Ethan Anderson, 28 days ago

Back at E3 2018, the Jump Force reveal trailer was considered to be one of the more unexpected high points of the Microsoft conference, especially among anime watchers and manga readers. The Shonen Jump crossover certainly brought fans of many different series together in anticipation. As one of those fans myself, it’s disappointing that my experience with the game left me with many gripes, yet only a handful of praises. Many of the game’s issues lie with its performance and its singleplayer components. With that said, Jump Force is still reasonably enjoyable to play either with friends or other players online, despite all of its various shortcomings.

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Before you can get to any multiplayer content, you’ll have to play a bit of the game’s story mode first as your own avatar. The merging of the Jump worlds has already taken place, and you begin the game as a civilian who was injured during an attack perpetrated by the Venoms, a group of mind-controlled antagonists. From there, you’ll enter the relatively solid character creator before becoming a hero who joins the Jump Force. Over the course of the campaign, you’ll be able to learn the signature moves of the heroes and villains on the roster and put them to use in numerous battles. There’s an extensive list of visually stunning abilities to acquire, and mixing and matching them to best suit your play style or preferences is one of best elements of the character customization. However, while the signature moves do look great, too many effects on screen at once can cause severe slow down. Additionally, a few of the animations for movement and regular attacks can look extremely rough when transitioning from one move to another.

The combat system is fairly simple to initially grasp while also leaving room for players to excel in fights once they gain a certain level of proficiency with the mechanics. At the core of the combat, every character has a light attack, a heavy attack, three special moves, an awakening ability, and escape and chase moves that use up a mobility meter. When I started out, there was much more button mashing and random special moves than I’d like to admit, but as I became more familiar with the mechanics, I learned the basics of when to attack, when to evade, and when to block. Constantly attacking can leave you open to a counterattack via an escape move, whereas escaping at the wrong time can leave you highly vulnerable to combos.

Thanks to this system, playing against other players of a similar skill level who understand the mechanics just as well as you do can make for some truly thrilling battles. Matchmaking is quick and easy if you go to the online counter in the center of the game’s hub room, but you can also challenge any player that you see walking around immediately if you wish to do so. The most notable downside to the online experience though, is the fact that there is no option to request a rematch, so you'll very likely only ever be having one match per player.

While the customization and combat deserve some praise, it’s mostly the moments in between these two aspects of Jump Force that bring the game down considerably. Even with the star-studded cast of characters, the game’s story mode never reaches a level of excitement or entertainment that goes beyond average, and at times, its quality dips below even that. Granted, one could say that the focus for a game such as this isn’t single player, but when looking at a similar title in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, Jump Force pales in comparison in this area.

Deku

On the topic of single player, this game has some of the worst cutscenes that I’ve seen in recent memory. In the majority of scenes, characters will simply face each other, standing in lines without much animation at all. Too often, they feel much more like talking wax figures than actual living, breathing individuals. When characters do move and interact, the frame rate lowers significantly. As if that weren’t enough, the actual content of the scenes usually feels exceedingly random and nonsensical. After defeating a notable villain, the heroes will watch the enemy slowly walk out of frame or float into the sky in an idle stance, then claim “he got away.” At first, these moments were hilarious to witness, but then they became genuinely irritating as the narrative dragged on unnecessarily.

The cliché plot feels like it’s moving at a crawl thanks in large part to the unbelievable amount of loading screens that the game will put you through. For instance, whenever a side mission is selected there will be a loading screen followed by a short, unvoiced conversation, followed by another loading screen for another short conversation, followed by yet another loading screen that will finally take you to a fight. And you better not lose that fight, or else you’ll have to sit through another minute-long loading screen for a rematch. Bandai Namco recently put out an update to add a scene skip function and improve load times, but this was what I experienced in my time with the game.

If you can make it through all of these loading screens, you’ll find that the side quests, dubbed “Missions,” are sorted by difficulty, with the tougher ones offering worthwhile rewards behind challenging fights that will ultimately help improve your combat skills. Completing these optional battles awarded me with more than enough in-game currency to purchase any cosmetic items, abilities, and upgrades that I wanted as well.

TGS Screens

Jump Force contains a total of 50 achievements that could possibly take a significant amount of time to obtain. The easiest ones can be unlocked by simply completing the story while the most time-consuming achievements will require you to collect large amounts of items, abilities, titles etc. Reaching level 70 and completing multiple missions with an S rank aren’t exactly simple tasks either. I was at level 50 when I completed the story mode. Quite simply, this list looks to be a major grind.

Check out our Best Xbox Fighting Games Available in 2018 article for a compilation of other great games in this genre.

Summary

Jump Force somehow only achieves mediocrity at best despite the star power found on its roster and the potential that comes with that cast. The characters are indeed faithfully recreated, stylish abilities and all, but nothing feels seamless. From the horrible cutscenes and choppy combat animations to the struggling frame rate, everything feels cut together haphazardly. Jump Force looks like an excellent idea on paper as a crossover containing over 40 characters from various Shonen Jump series, but in practice, the vision falls flat due to a serious lack of polish.
2.5 / 5
Jump Force
Positives
  • Signature moves look awesome visually
  • Can choose from a wide range of special abilities to fit your play style and preferences
  • Battles against friends and online players are enjoyable for the most part
Negatives
  • Cutscenes are terrible in so many ways
  • Loading screen frequency is baffling
  • Significant frame rate dips throughout the game
  • No rematch option in online matches
  • Serious overall lack of polish
Ethics Statement
This reviewer spent 24 hours staring at loading screens while managing to get some fights in every now and then. 25 out of 50 achievements were obtained during this experience. A download code was provided for the purpose of this review.
Please read our Review and Ethics Statement for more information.
Ethan Anderson
Written by Ethan Anderson
Newshound and part of the TrueGaming Network YouTube team. College student who loves making videos and writing about games. In my free time I'm either struggling/failing to get completions, or praying for a Jak 4.