JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R Review (Switch)
Anime games are in a strange place. Between the late 90s and the mid 2000s, we received a variety of games such as Berserk: Guts’ Rageand Arc System Works. Fist of the North Star. Aside from Dragon Ball, which has seen a role-playing game, a 2D fighting game, and even a Dead By Daylight clone over the past few years, most anime series are relegated to 3D arena fighting games like My Hero: One’s Justice or the Attack On Titan duology.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is no different. Gone are the days of excellent 2D action games from Capcom. Legacy for the futureand beat ’em up only for Japan JoJio’s Bizarre Adventure; instead, console entries over the last decade have followed the same style with games like Eyes of Heaven and appearances in Shonen jump crossovers like Jump Force. The only outsider was 2013. All Star Battle, which was a more traditional fighter. Nine years later, it’s coming to modern platforms in the form of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R, a remastered game that makes some good changes but ultimately doesn’t fix the problems that the original game had.
If you’re not familiar with the source, here’s a quick recap: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a manga series created by Hirohiko Araki as part of Shonen Jump magazine. JoJo tells the story of one family line, with each “part” of the manga following a different member of the Joestar bloodline. Cyberconnect2 accurately combined all eight eras of JoJo into one game for a true all-star battle.
All-Star Battle is a 3D fighting game in the style of games like Tekken, in which fights are fought on a 2D plane with the ability to dodge to the front or back. While the game lacks the mechanical depth of a traditional fighter, it does have room to create unique combos. It also offers a “light hit” system where simply pressing “Y” will create a custom combo for those struggling with the traditional button input seen in games like Street Fighter.
As the manga progressed, new fighting styles were introduced. Stand users are the most prominent in the game, and users have two modes; one where the character himself fights, and the other where he summons his stance to fight. Because Stands didn’t exist until the third part of the manga, there are also Hamon users who play the most like typical fighting game characters, with Jonathan Joestar feeling like the game’s equivalent of Ryu. There are also character-specific styles, such as the 7th character on horseback, and characters with vampirism abilities. Each fighter feels unique, even including characters with two separate iterations like Jotaro Kujo.
All-Star Battle R replaces the original game’s story and campaigns with a new All-Star Battle mode that offers 104 battles spanning every JoJo era. These fights range from re-creations of classic JoJo battles like the Stardust Crusaders finale that engulfed Cairo, and – best of all – the Diamond Is Unbreakable finale, in which a businessman and teenager throw glass shards at each other, to dream fights like Dio facing off against by his estranged son Giorno. While you can jump in parts at will, some of them can get a little tedious due to the lack of stages representing them; all 17 Battle Tendency fights take place in the same arena.
Each fight has its own unique set of challenges and modifiers based on what happened in the manga. Completing these challenges will reward you with additional colors, costumes, and collectibles. Unfortunately, there is no quick restart for any of these battles, which is frustrating when there are issues with not losing a round during a fight, forcing you to go back to the menu and load again. Overall, however, the All-Star Battle Mode is a big improvement on the modes of the original releases, merging their functionality into one in a satisfying way.
The game also offers an arcade mode where you fight eight random battles without any rewards. There are also online battles with ranked and unranked modes. Unfortunately, the team decided not to include the fallback netcode in this release, using the same delay-based solution as nine years ago. When you have a good internet connection, it’s a good experience; however, when it’s bad, it’s practically unplayable due to the terrible input lag.
All-Star Battle R also includes 10 new fighters not found in the original release, including a mix of previously huge omissions like Foo Fighters and Diego with some standout picks like Ghiaccio. It’s worth noting that all but three of these newcomers were also included in Eyes of Heaven and reused animations and models from that game.
The weird oddity in this release is the treatment of the Stone Ocean (whose animation is currently ongoing). The All-Star Battle mode includes only one canonical battle from the part. The Space Center scene and the ASB version of Pucci are completely absent from this release as the developer decided to use a different version of the character with powers that were earlier in the story. Although they will be added later, it seems strange to remove content that was present in the original game.
The fan service is undoubtedly the game’s strongest point. This is the complete love letter to JoJo and his story. From gallery modes and fully customizable character taunts, with lots of TV series quotes and even manga characters telling the menu. However, the gameplay is where the fan service is Indeed shines as concepts from the series are adapted to fighting game techniques. Little things like Diavolo’s dash being attributed to his time-passing abilities and super-filling Josuke’s opponent’s health bar before knocking him back down made us dizzy.
One aspect that’s a little disappointing is the complete lack of music in the anime – tunes like Fighting Gold and Awaken, My Masters could have been fantastic background music. And while the lack of licensed tracks is understandable, the idea of fighting Jodechi’s Freek’n You sounds incredible.
The Switch version runs at a steady 30fps like the original PS3 version, as opposed to the updated 60 on other consoles, with the only notable downgrade from the original being the lack of NPC models amid some milestones like Rome. While not a big deal, it’s a shame to see a downgraded Switch compared to older hardware.
While you won’t find an Evo-caliber fighting game in depth here, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure All-Star Battle R is way ahead of your typical 3D arena anime action game. It would be hard to recommend this game to someone who isn’t familiar with the franchise, as without the fan service aspect, you’re left with a basic action game with some basic modes. However, for those who love JoJo, this is a great example of how to do fan service the right way, and one where you can feel the love and adoration of the franchise’s 35-year history flowing through every piece of packaging.