Anime and manga aficionados finally got their hands on Jump Force last week, after months of hype and painful waiting. The crossover fighter celebrates 50 years of Shonen Jump manga with a robust roster that reflects that legacy, featuring iconic characters like Goku, lesser-known classics like Dai from Dragon Quest, and rising stars like Deku from My Hero Academia. Unfortunately, the rest of the package fell short.
Jump Force has a lot of problems such as an unfriendly UI, unbalanced characters, and a lifeless story. Under those problems is a solid fighting system that allows fans to feel like they're throwing the earth-shattering punches Shonen anime is known for. So how can developer Spike Chunsoft fix these problems and turn Jump Force into the Super Saiyan blast it was meant to be? Here are some suggestions from a fan that really wants to see the game succeed.
Use Trunks' Time Machine To Patch These Loading Screens Yesterday
(UPDATE: The loading screens were patched! Now we need a rematch button...)
One of the most frustrating things about Jump Force is that the game often stops you from playing the game. The PS4 version is subject to long load times. It's not even a case of "impatient millennial doesn't like waiting for a well-rendered cutscene to load." Loading screens invade almost every aspect of this game. Just bought some new pants for your custom avatar? Well, first you should hope they just happen to look good on your character model, because you can't preview outfits before buying them. Then, prepare for a loading screen. After a fairly substantial wait, you can put your new pants on. Then, it's more waiting to get back to the game.
Another place where the burden of these PS2-era loading times is felt is online multiplayer. Loading is to be expected during any game that requires matchmaking, but Jump Force's wait times are definitely longer. It doesn't help that the loading screen is an unattractive mass of green squares accompanied by the same five tips.
There's a combo that players perform with these loading screens that's deadlier than any other combo in the game. Unfortunately, this combo is activated entirely unwillingly. If the first step of the combo is long loading times, the second is the lack of a rematch button. The only way to proceed after fighting an online match is to check out a replay, end your online session, or rejoin the queue for another match. All of these options subject you to more loading, with no way to quickly set up another fight. That holds true even if your opponent is on your friends list.
Supposedly, a day one patch has already been discovered that addresses both of these things and several other common issues. This patch needs to come ASAP to give Jump Force a fighting chance, though it really should have been built into the release.
We Have Super Saiyans And Death Gods, And I'm Scared Of A Guy With A Gun
This is Ryo Saeba. He's from the '80s series City Hunter. He's not magical or a super-powered martial artist, he's just a clever dude with expert marksmanship. The designers chose to represent those qualities by giving Ryo's Jump Force incarnation guard-breaking bullets and rockets that can hit enemies from across the stage.
Ryo has become the poster boy for everything wrong with the game on a competitive level.
His abilities allow those who play him to sit passively on one side of the stage. If the opponent also tries to play the distance game, Ryo uses his bullets to cancel whatever they're doing and open them up for an attack. His shots have priority over guarding, sidestepping, and even Goku charging up a Kamehameha. Should the opponent rush Ryo to prevent him from shooting, Ryo players will typically call upon an assist character to freeze them in place before they can reach him.
Ryo certainly isn't unstoppable. Already I can envision the responses to this article telling me to "git gud" or pointing out that Hisoka, one of my mains, is actually an excellent Ryo counter. The problem with these arguments, however, is that beating cheesy tactics in Jump Force often requires using cheesy tactics of my own. I use Hisoka to stop Ryo by relying on his counter move, a defensive measure that catches his bullets and instantly triggers a series of attacks that Ryo can't block. That sounds cool, but in reality it means I just sort of run away and wait for him to shoot so I can counter. Not the most exciting gameplay.
I won't claim to be an expert in game design. But something has to change. It's not just a matter of getting good or waiting for the Jump Force community to establish a meta. There's definitely abilities and assist attacks that are unbalanced and promote brainless cheap gameplay. Two reasonable suggestions I've seen are to increase the meter cost of certain abilities and to increase the cooldown of assists. By making these game-changing moves less frequently available, players would be encouraged to use them strategically rather than spam.
Toad-ally Not Okay
One fun little feature the game gives you is mounts based on famous Jump vehicles. You can zoom around in Frieza's pod or float in a mini version of the Straw Hat crew's boat. The Naruto version of this?
If this isn't fixed immediately I am refunding my purchase of the DLC pass. (Okay not really but since when do Naruto frogs fly?)
There's a fun game in Jump Force. It's just buried under layers of loading screens and unbalanced attacks. If Spike Chunsoft can brush away these problems (and let my frog hop), then Jump Force can make a comeback greater than any seen in Dragon Ball.