J-Stars Victory Vs+ on PlayStation 4
J-Stars Victory Vs+ is the international release of 2014’s J-Stars Victory Vs. This time around, players can get in on the action on the PS4 as well as the PS3 and Vita. It’s set in the fictional Jump World, where characters from some of the most popular animes get to fight with and against characters from other universes.
First, let’s take a look at what J-Stars Victory Vs+ has going for it. Combining multiple series is often a difficult task due to the differences in art direction and combat styles. Taking the devil-fruit eaters from the One Piece universe and throwing them against the Shinigami of Bleach is the stuff dreams are made of. After all, it’s not everyday that you get to see two of the most popular leading stars in manga and anime duke it out in a battle for supremacy. But, it is a difficult task to have them retain their identity yet still fit the game without feeling disjointed. Luckily, the folks over at Spike Chunsoft managed to accomplish this task in a way that is both beautiful and exciting.
In order to find a balance between the universes represented in J-Stars Victory Vs+ all of the arenas are rendered the same way. No matter what location you find yourself in, aside from its structural differences, they look like they all exist in the same world. This serves as a central point for all of the imagery, and works to tie everything together. With that being done, the devs were able to leave all of the 59 characters to look just as fans would expect them, as well as maintain their very unique fighting styles.
Monkey D. Luffy stretches and dashes across the screen, Ichigo unleashes a vicious onslaught of blade attacks, and Boa Hancock kicks, kisses, and transforms her opponents to stone with ease. The best part is that nobody feels out of balance in J-Stars Victory Vs+, and that allows for players to choose who they’re most comfortable with rather than having to always be the most powerful fighter in the universe (we’re looking at you, Goku). The only shame is that the game doesn’t play as good as it looks.
J-Stars Victory Vs+ has a very simple control scheme, which is likely due to the variety offered by the game’s roster. A simple light/heavy attack combo system, as well as easy to pull of special attacks round out the controls. You can charge stamina, and that leads to a new form for some . After dishing out enough damage to the opposition, you can trigger Victory Burst, which steps your team’s abilities up a notch depending on types you chose for each of them. In this mode, you will be able to trigger your controlled character’s ultimate attack. The simple nature of this scheme is good for providing accessibility but ultimately leads to J-Stars Victory Vs+‘s downfall.
After the first few matches, the combat is reduced to a button-mashing test of patience. Spamming the same combo over and over in the hopes that you can take down one of your targets as quickly as possible is what J-Stars Victory Vs+ ends up boiling down to. To make matters worse, your team AI is often pretty useless. You can assign them one of four tasks (attack, focus, scatter, reserve), but the computer makes sure to do the bare minimum, leaving the player to do all of the heavy lifting. It adds an unwelcome challenge of having to both survive a heavy onslaught and babysit a supposedly powerful warrior.
Adding insult to injury is the way in which the story is delivered to players. The story scenes consist of stills of the J-Stars Victory Vs+ cast, as their dialogue appears below. Voice acting comes in the form of a single shout from the speaking character or a hearty laugh. The story itself is largely forgettable. There are a few laughs to be had, especially if you choose Luffy’s questline. But those laughs are few and far in between, and they don’t do much to redeem the story.
J-Stars Victory Vs+ is a game that has the look, but just couldn’t follow through on the execution. While it may be cool to see characters like Goku and Medaka fight head to head, the fact that the act of participating in said fight isn’t very fun makes the whole moment lose its magic. The fan-service offered by the extensive roster isn’t enough to hold up the dull, repetitive gameplay, and a lackluster story. So, unless you’re a huge fan of the numerous animes and mangas on display in J-Stars Victory Vs+, you may want to skirt around this one.