Jump Force is anime's answer to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, at least for fans of Shounen Jump. Summoning characters from a handful of the magazine's more mainstream properties; Dragon Ball Z's Goku, One Piece's Luffy, and Naruto's Sasuke have assembled to stop the forces of darkness and look horrifying in the process!
Developed by Spike Chunsoft and published by Bandai Namco, Jump Force's misguided decision to sprinkle a dash of realism over characters ill-suited for such an anesthetic has dominated the pre-launch discourse surrounding the arena fighter. Are these criticisms justified? After spending a respectable chunk of hours starring at Luffy's unwavering artificial smile, a new appreciation for J-Stars Victory Vs+'s traditional animation quickly emerged.
Hard as it may be to ignore the visuals, Jump Force's combat will make or break the game for most customers. Spike Chunsoft is no stranger to 3D arena fighters. Along with the mediocre J-Stars Victory Vs+, the studio also created the fun One Piece: Burning Blood. How does Jump Force's mechanics stack up against the competition? Compared to any half-way decent 2D fighter, Shounen's massive crossover is a tad too basic, but the gameplay fares better against Dragon Ball Xenoverse or one of the countless Naruto titles.
Jump Force prioritizes spectacle over depth, but more thought was put into the combat than might initially seem apparent. Seeking to be the best Goku you can be? Here are 25 things we wish we knew before starting Jump Force!
25 Button Mash At Your Own Peril
During battles, Spike Chunsoft loads the screen with so many flashing lights, sparks, and noise; losing sight of the action is a regular occurrence. The combat's frenzied nature adds credence to the critique of Jump Force being a glorified button masher. Now, in all truth, Bandai Namco's anime extravaganza lacks the depth of top-tier fighting games; nonetheless, combos can be halted by a number of methods.
Dodging, blocking, counters, and throws must be mastered for a player to stand any chance in the campaign's endgame or online play. Jump Force is neither an ocean or a puddle.
24 Learn How To Balance Your Team
Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite's teams generally consist of a player's favorite three characters, although this tends to be influenced by tiers. Jump Force rewards balanced over powerful teams. The gameplay's accessible nature means it is relatively easy to test new fighters, but enough nuance exists to allow room for unique play styles.
A capable close-quarters combatant should be the primary member assigned to most teams, but leave the second slot for a ranged fighter. Swordsmen are particularly great in this area, and summoning Roronoa Zoro for an assist provides some breathing room. More importantly, Zoro is simply too cool not to use.
23 Identify Your A-Team
Jump Force is accessible enough to invite a degree of experimentation. With a roster spanning more than 40 fighters, replayability principally comes down to trying out multiple combinations of fighters. Generally speaking, combo prompts are consistent throughout the whole roster, but the members are not clones of each other. Picking someone unfamiliar will result in a disadvantage.
Individual heroes are leveled up by competing in online and offline bouts. Jump Force powers up the fighters rather than the user; hence, a frequently picked combatant is factually stronger than a previously untouched character.
22 The Wax Saiyan Awakens Further!
Awakens are Jump Force's answer to finisher moves. Permitting the Awakening Gauge exceeds 50%, pressing the R3 button activates the character's Awakening Mode, which tends to incorporate a stylish transformation. For instance, Yusuke wakes his demon form to pack an even heavier punch.
A handful of characters have access to a second transformation known as Ultimate Awakening. Using Dragon Ball Z's iconic protagonist as an example, Goku's standard awaken mode is Super Saiyan, but this form can be used to initiate Super Saiyan Blue. Jump Force is not particularly interested in creating a balanced roster.
21 Saiyan Beats Pirate, But Loses To Ninja
Whether playing a single-player RPG or a competitive fighting game, many titles employ a variant of rock-paper-scissors to introduce a touch of variety to encounters. Pokémon is probably the obvious example, with an attack's effectiveness changing depending on the opponent's elemental type. This system tends to be implemented regardless of genre.
A good roster is a balanced roster. Unfortunately, 3D arena fighters frequently struggle to build a level playing field. Jump Force attempts to fix this issue by ensuring each character possesses certain strengths and weaknesses. Taking into account online battles are 3v3, tagging in a complimentary character is the key to winning.
20 Patience Is Not A Virtue
A spectacle fighter punishes hesitation. Frieza's weakest form is strong enough to reduce a planet to ashes. You cannot afford to allow such a person to set the pace. Seize control of the situation and make the first move! Do not grant an opponent the luxury of contemplation. Striking first is a surefire way to win 99% of fights.
Want to score more victories than losses? Mount a swift and relentless attack. Online play injects an element of unpredictability, as one wrong move could end the contest before it even begins. It is natural to assume a cautious stance, but resist this impulse!
19 Defense Should Be Instinctive
It is not unusually for a Jump Force contest to boil down to an endless string of counters or side steps. Tank characters are not a thing; in fact, health dissipates at an alarming rate. A couple of solid hits is enough to reduce an HP bar to a sliver of its former self. Powering through is not a viable strategy.
Permitting the dev studio is competent at its job, there should be no such thing as a pointless mechanic. Spike Chunsoft dedicated resources to installing dodge and guard mechanics. Practice using them. Attacks are quick, but a timely step is a lifesaver!
18 Elbow Gon While He Is Down!
Ignoring the fact shounen protagonists tend to be cookie cutter boy scouts hot on the trail of a fair fight, there is no such thing as a cheap move in a battle to determine a planet's faith. If the opponent is grounded, then use this opportunity to further cement their backs to the pavement!
3D arena fighters tend to bestow knocked down opponents with a period of invincibility, but Jump Force believes there is nothing wrong with kicking someone while they are down! As a laid out Monkey D. Luffy attempts to regain his bearings, leap to the skies and deliver a Heavy Smash Attack.
17 Kick Naruto While He Is Flying!
A second spent resting is a second wasted. Regardless of the situation, Jump Force includes an option to do something more. Caught in a seemingly neverending combo? Execute a counter! Knocked down and vulnerable? Escape from danger! Performed a Rush Attack resulting in an airborne Naruto? Chase the ninja down!
As a mechanic, the Chase move is quite straightforward. Once the opponent has been sent flying, tilt the left stick while pressing the Square/X button to give chase. Altering the stick's direction switches the move's intended trajectory, and repeating the chase's initiating prompt cancels out the attack.
16 Say Kamehameha (Charge Up For More Damage!)
Powerful moves need to be prepared. Why else would Goku deliberately pronounce an attack's name like he is taking part in a spelling bee? A Kamehameha does not merely happen! No, it must be charged.
Along with an Awakening Move, each character is assigned three special moves that can be triggered by matching R2/RT with an input command. R2+Square leads to Goku releasing a Kamehameha, but the vast majority of abilities can be charged for more damage. Unsurprisingly, a fully powered Kamehameha makes the quick version seem like a cheap imitation!
15 No Shame In Escaping
Along with HP, Awakening, and Ability bars, users must also monitor a mobility gauge. As implied by the name, this data determines a character's ability to dash or execute situational high-speed moves. Basically, mobility is Jump Force's stamina meter.
Dashing quickly depletes the gauge, which becomes an issue when a character is on the receiving end of a combo. Perhaps overcompensating for J-Stars Victory Vs+'s insufficient protective options, Jump Force grants access to a number of mechanics to avoid catching a blow to the head. If stuck blocking a combo or knocked down, a player can deplete the entire mobility gauge to execute an escape. Save some energy for the trip home.
14 A Change In Scenery
Besides recreating an array of popular locations from the anime - including Dragon Ball Z's Namek and One Piece's Marineford - Spike Chunsoft adopted a number of real cities as arenas. Once the initial surrealness of Jotaro Kujo and Jimura Kenshin battling in New York City's Time Square fades, arenas became little more than backdrops for the action.
But, things do not need to be this way!
Changing the arena is only a charged Smash Attack away! Activating a swap necessitates the player be pushed against an arena's edge. Is there anything more shounen than Goku knocking Vegeta from Paris to Hong Kong?
13 A Step To The Left Keeps The Kamehameha Away
As a last ditch option to get out of a sticky situation, escape is definitely useful; nevertheless, it should be practiced sparingly. Jump Force's action runs at a rather frantic pace and can be quite overwhelming. More often than not, a second is the difference between avoiding or succumbing to an attack. During the campaign's harder battles, a single combo eliminates half of the player's health.
With virtually no time to think, the combat becomes reactionary rather than strategic. Overrelying on escaping ensures the player seldom has enough stamina to mount an effective attack. We recommend mastering the side step, a quick dash perfect for bypassing homing attacks.
12 Combat Is Flexible
Jump Force's standard attacks are split into Rush and Heavy. The former offers pacey but simple combos, while the latter trades speed for higher damage output. A Heavy Attack's slower delivery leaves the player exposed for a brief period, but the reward tends to justify the risk.
Timing is everything.
There are going to be moments when attempting a Heavy Attack will spectacularly backfire. Are such circumstances beyond salvaging? Jump Force allows a Rush Attack to cancel its stronger counterpart, granting a degree of control over combos. Picking the right second to perform a weak or strong attack is crucial!
11 Guards Are Made To Be Broken
Jump Force loves to guard. To be more precise, the endgame's CPU loves to guard. Seriously, they spend the majority of battles hiding behind a forcefield! It borders on the ludicrous. What happened to the idea that the best defense is a strong offense? Goku can lift a planet in one hand while eating a sandwich from the other, but the Saiyan is afraid Yugi Moto's actualized cards carry too heavy of a wallop?
Jump Force offers an answer for every question, and blocking is no exception. Guard breaks came in two forms: Smash or Throw Attacks. Learning to perfectly time these moves is the difference between victory and defeat.
10 Patience Can Be A Virtue
Picture this; two experienced players are engaged in a fierce bout with a rank up for grabs. Team Ora-Ora nicked the opening round due to some last minute heroics by Dio Brando, but they gained a quick advantage in the second match. Ora-Ora's Younger Toguro has barely touched their HP bar, but the former succeeded in accumulated enough charge to activate an Awaken.
Ability and Awakening gauges do not reset at the end of a round, therefore winning the war can entail losing a battle. Conserve the big guns for when they might actually make a difference!
9 Looks Can Be Deceiving
Jump Force wants to be a flashy arena fighter designed to satisfy fans yearning to pit Saint Seiya's Pegasus Seiya against Hunter x Hunter's Kurapika. The game never surrenders style in favor of substance, and nothing represents this mantra better than Awakens.
Permitting the associated gauge exceeds the midway point, pressing the R3 causes a character to convert into an even more awesome form. Bleach's Ichigo's hollow form completely overrides the Substitute Shinigami's exterior design. Even though Ichigo maintains this new look for the remaining duration of the fight, an Awaken's benefits last for only a short period. In other words, the Ultimate Technique will be lost if not utilized quickly enough.
8 No Shame In...Vanishing?
Jump Force's combat is kinetic, exciting, and smooth. Even if many aspects of Spike Chunsoft's fighter feels undercooked, things improve greatly once the famous faces step into the ring and begin to destroy mountains with their bare hands.
Nobody ever accused shounen of subtlety.
Look, we like Jump Force, but none of the mechanics are particularly original. The combos are merely variations of light and heavy attacks, while the assigned special abilities are reminiscent of many other anime games. Vanish is the one unique mechanic; thankfully, it is pretty cool! While executing or receiving a combo, pressing the R1 causes the character to temporarily disappear, allowing for a surprise move to be performed.
7 Charge That Ki!
What do stand, devil fruit, and jutsu users share in common? Flashy moves came at the expense of stamina. Regardless of whether referring to a physical, spiritual, or card-based move; executing a special attack consumes one ability bar. Shounen fights might entertain fans, but those poor souls involved in the conflict are stuck in a constant state of exhaustion. And, we are not talking about the animators or mangaka who work tirelessly to ensure a new chapter is released on a weekly basis.
Successfully landing hits automatically replenishes an ability bar, but simply holding R2/RT skips quickly charges a character's energy.
6 The Ultimate Combo
Few pleasures compare to the satisfaction of landing a devastating combo. Jump Force assigns unique movesets to each member of its expansive roster, but stringing together a slew of Rush Attacks is nearly as effective as any of the more complicated combos. Just for the sake of diversity, learning a character's full range of attacks is still recommended.
Once a character is awake, repressing the R3 button unleashes their destructive (and awesome) Ultimate Technique. Like everything else in the game, super attacks can be countered, so picking the ideal time to launch a Spirit Bomb is vital. Inject these moves at the end of a combo chain to maximize ownage.
5 The Story Is 10 To 15 Hours Long
How long is too long? Dragon Ball FighterZ is arguably the greatest modern anime fighter on the market. Boasting flawless visuals and an easy to grasp but hard to master combat system, Arc System Works' game towers over its contemporaries.
Despite stating - and believing - all of the above, Dragon Ball FighterZ's story campaign overstays its welcome. As a single-player experience, Jump Force might be superior to Arc's 2D fighter. If nothing else, the CPU actually offer a bit of a challenge. Setting aside the side quests, the main story could last between 10 to 15 hours and the central villains wait until the third act to assume an active role.
Ignore the story, focus on fashion!
4 Play The Fashion Game
Jump Force's campaign opens with a massive battle set in Time Square, leading to a hapless bystander inheriting anime powers before joining several heroes on a quest to save the world. The story is undeniably basic, but it gets the job done.
Your first act is to create a new hero. In terms of customization, Jump Force could have done a far better job, although more options are unlocked as the campaign progresses. Completing a mission rewards cash to purchase new attire from the item shop. Considering the story seems happy to never get to a point, constructing your ideal customizable character is the main reason to continue the single-player mode.
3 One-Punch Man Is MIA (Maybe DLC?)
Saitama is not in Jump Force. Gaining prominence as a webcomic, One-Punch Man's popularity merited a Weekly Shonen Jump remake. Perhaps, the manga's origin worked against Saitama's chances of securing a spot in Jump Force's roster.
Regardless of the reason behind the hero for fun's absence, the omission is disappointing. Jump Force's roster is impressive, but Spike Chunsoft's choices are not going to please everyone. Even if a perfect replica is not possible, the character creator mode contains many references to excluded anime personalities. Create your own Saitama! Please note, a copy's punches cannot compare to the real deal.
2 The Graphics Really Aren't Great...
Our last point is a quality of life recommendation rather than anything directly associated with the gameplay. Jump Force's animation is terrible. Now, to the developer's credit, Spike Chunsoft seemed to genuinely attempt to reimagine Shounen Jump's beloved icons in a new light. Sadly, the hyper-realistic aesthetic juxtapositions horrendously with anime. All this mockery might have been avoided if just one member of the studio had watched Netflix's live-action Fullmetal Alchemist adaptation.
This is not going to work.
Just to be crystal clear, Jump Force's models and graphics deserve every ounce of criticism flung their way. They are not good. Luckily, the actual battles look fine. Cutscenes are a bathroom break.
1 It's A Team Battle Fighter — Learn How To Cycle Your Characters
Jump Force's team battles work quite differently to Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite. While assist moves are definitely useful, the latter's encounters are basically a sequence of 1v1 fights. As long as their teammate succeeds in picking up the slack, losing two fighters is not the end of the world.
Spike Chunsoft opts to present Jump Force's teams as a unified unit rather a collection of mercenaries who happen to be fighting for the same side. One HP bar is shared among the three members, meaning second chances are not a thing. Consequently, cycling through the team is a strategic maneuver.