Published on September 5th, 2012 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure HD Ver. Review
Platform: PlayStation 3
Release Date: Aug. 21, 2012
Review Notes: A game token was received for review purposes.
There is no doubt that Capcom produces some of the best fighting games around. After all, I don’t think we’d be in the current state of fighters if it weren’t for titles like Street Fighter II and the arcade coin eater, Marvel vs. Capcom.
Although these titles are among the more popular fighting games, there are plenty of others out there who have made quite an impact. I don’t know how many people I’ve spoken with who are begging for an HD remake of Power Stone. Most consoles usually boast one fighting game that proved remarkable during its reign. The Sega Dreamcast was known for quite a few of those titles, one such title being JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.
The game is as odd as its title, even more so if you are not familiar with the comic or animated series. The game encompasses many aspects of both, and the Joestar family being the centerpiece.
The family has a history in the use of the Ripple Technique, which if you have ever heard someone talk about their focusing their “Chi” then you can think of the Ripple in a similar fashion. The technique can be developed and trained, but it cannot be necessarily learned. The characters of JoJo’s Bizarre adventure have developed its use and now have the Stand as a consequence to the development of the Ripple.
It may sound like an easy technique to get a hold of, but not everyone has access to its use. According to the story line behind the animated series, to use the Stand, one must either be in the presence of someone who has learned to use their Stand, have it in your bloodline, or use an artificial one. Using an artificial Stand, as done by Hol Horse, can prove minimal in power. His stand only comes to direct his bullet in midair instead of manifesting before him.
As said through the animated series, trying to access this skill without knowledge of its use could possibly kill you. The Joestar’s being one such group of users with the experience to manifest and maintain it.
The gameplay primarily focuses around the use these Stands. The game incorporates the use of these as a different fighting style or stance, which can be turned ON or OFF. But, unlike a variance in stance, it’s actually like fighting with two characters on screen.
When the Stand is on it manifests itself on the exterior of a body and can fight just like your character that was chosen. These supernatural beings can do some radical moves, from manifesting and flying up from the ground for a three hit combo, to burying you literally under a car. They can be used along side character attacks, giving players open reign on combo moves. Unfortunately, they can also be used for repetitive attacks.
This manifested being is often very different than a character themselves, and in the case of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure video game, they often can account for a lot more damage during a fight. This is especially the case when activating Super Combos with your Stand in the “ON” position. If you are not careful they can also account for damage being taken as you cannot block the oncoming hits. Using this mechanic does give the game flavor and a unique experience.
In the case of cowboy Hal Horse, he must utilize his pistol and cabinet of moves to defeat opponents rather than his angry spirit. Even so, his gun can prove brutal and mild spirit usage comes in handy. This is something unique, offering strategic gameplay as you attempt to control both character and Stand. This can be quite confusing and almost overwhelming at first watching your character, Stand, and opponent’s attacks.
Something you might find comparable to Marvel vs. Capcom is the Super Combo moves. Landing strikes or blocking builds your combo gauge into levels. If you have the patience to breeze through the tutorial, then you will find advance guard instructions and the full use of Stand activation.
Filling your bar and reaching a higher level will give your player more damage against your opponent when it is used. So, if you are a defensive player with a keen eye for dodges and parrying moves, you will have no problem building your bar. Activating this is done by pushing down, forward, or down, back and the ‘R1’ button. Hammering other L, M or H buttons will deal the same as you would in MvC.
While the fighting styles are the same as MvC, the Stand does add an extra button for activation. In the case of the PlayStation 3, the X button is mapped to activate your stand, which is monitored with a blue bar below your player’s health.
The modes offered are similar to other fighting games: Story, Player vs. Player, Challenge Mode and Online Multiplayer. The Story Mode is a bit different, being that not every character necessarily has a story or ending. Many characters simply go through the mode, without any cut-scenes or protagonists/antagonists. Most do and some even play out as a side scrolling adventure type level instead of just a traditional fight.
The game isn’t a necessarily a fast-paced fighter. Such titles as Blaz Blue are similar in style, both with gameplay and art. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure HD Ver. offers a hand drawn feel, which pays homage to the animations the game is based off. The level designs are crisp, which are a slight upgrade from the Sega Dreamcast version being that they are now in HD. There is even a setting to set this back to its original display, which can be fun for those throwback players out there.
The game does seem to be fairly unbalanced at times. Many character moves can be repeated for easy damage. Other times, characters are tougher than snot to takedown.
For example, in a match I had against Devo the Cursed, it took some extreme self control not to throw the controller. His Ebony Devil Stand is quick and relentless. After a few too many rematches–I finally took him out. This would have easily been a believable boss battle, but it was only my first match. The same can be said for Avdol and his Magician’s Red Stand. It is pretty fun to fight with him, but being on the other end of the barrel is frustrating.
Having to battle Avdol over and over again opened up something else I noticed in the game. Shooting projectiles is part of most fighting games. While trying to get Avdol into a zone, firing over and over left the AI to back into the corner and end up with a Perfect. This was something that I did time and time again to pull out the win, but I did feel like a big cheater cheater pumpkin eater—so I had to call it quits. I noticed this also occurring in some online matches, not all though.
Even with the game being unbalanced in difficulty, it is still fun to play. It is geared mostly towards manga fans of the series; however, it does pull itself together as contender against others out there.
Those not familiar with the series get brief explanations of character interactions, but I do wish that it gave more background or biography of each individual. Even in the brief load screens I would have liked to see a quick history. This is important particularly due to the sheer quantity of characters and the amount of enemies and allies of the Joestar family. Only some of which are seen in the opening intro.
It’s hard to tell where exactly JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure HD Ver. lands. On one hand, it offers a unique fighting experience along with a fury of manga-inspired themes. And on the other, an unbalanced fighting game that doesn’t really have a story line and makes it hard for newbies to fully enjoy it.
When it boils down to it most players won’t appreciate the game as much as fans of the illustrated series would. Also, the $19.99 price point could be jarring to newcomers. I can appreciate the combo system and story to the game now that I have done my fair share of reading up on the series and what all of the jargon means.
If you enjoy fighting games, there is no doubt you will appreciate most of core mechanics to the game. From the outside looking in, the game is in fact as bizarre as the title, but definitely isn’t for everyone. It released to a niche audience, but still offers fighting mechanics that are unique and fun.
+ Varying characters
+ Unique fighting system
+ Online multiplayer
+ Visual Options to play in its originality
+/- Story Mode