Dragon Ball has easily been the most successful anime franchise, in terms of video games adaptions. Countless games in the franchise have been well received by both critics and fans, from the recently released Dragon Ball FighterZ, to Legacy of Goku on the GBA. There are plenty of other successful franchises under the Shonen Jump umbrella, however, and Jump Force is the latest crossover game that sees those worlds collide. In truth though, Jump Force totally feels like a Dragon Ball Z game, just with Naruto and Luffy beating the crap out of Frieza. Twinfinite recently got some hands-on time with the game, as well as some new info from Bandai Namco.
Jump Force lets you build a team of three Shonen characters to face off against an enemy team. Currently, only Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, and One Piece are represented but, due to a teaser trailer, we do know Light and Ryuk from Death Note are on the way. In my hands-on time, it was a bit difficult to grasp the main combat system, as there was so much happening on-screen. You control your character from a point of view similar to the Budokai games and can unleash basic attacks, grabs, and a wealth of special moves once you’ve built up a gauge by attacking.
Everything flows similarly to a game like Budokai or Xenoverse, with the ability to execute a high-speed dash on the LB button, and a quick sidestep dodge on the RB button. Attacks send characters flying around the stage, crashing into buildings and causing huge destruction as pieces of the rubble fly everywhere. The special attack button has four over-the-top iconic moves for each character to use, and they cause massive damage, on top of just being flashy as all hell. For example, Goku can use Kamehameha and Spirit Bomb, Naruto Rasengan, and Roronoa Zolo 1080 Pound Phoenix. The key to combat seems to be finding the right timing on all of your attacks, especially when striking a balance between basic attacks, special moves, and guarding. Things really get flashy, however, whenever a character enters their Awakened Mode, turning them into a highly destructive alternate form, like Super Saiyan for Goku and Gear Fourth for Luffy.
The biggest problem I had during my hands-on time was just how floaty everything felt. If you’ve played Dragon Ball games before, you’ll know that precise movement isn’t often their strong suit, and Jump Force seems to have the same problem at the moment. Attacks felt a little imprecise, easy to miss with or interruptible, but considering the game is still early on, that could easily get rectified.
On the other hand, I was blown away by just how gorgeous Jump Force looks, both in terms of characters and stage designs. Characters have vibrant animations and the fabrics of their outfits look incredibly detailed, down to being able to tell what kind of fabric each character’s clothes are made out of. The same goes for stages, as each one has intense detail to things like grass, sand, and the like. These aren’t just stages from anime, however, as all of the locations in Jump Force are actually from the real world. So far, we’ve seen Times Square in New York, and the Matterhorn in the Alps. Bandai Namco wouldn’t explain how these worlds are crossing over with ours, but the main story of the game apparently deals with that central mystery, and the heroes forming a new team called Jump Force to try and stop the immense destruction happening to the Earth, all while the villains interfere.
Bandai Namco also said the design team behind Jump Force made an effort to adapt what these anime characters might look like in our world, what kind of materials they’d wear, and how the conditions of Earth might affect them. This idea helps explain the absurd amount of detail put into each character’s design.
Much like Dragon Ball Z, flash and destruction seem to be the key factors in Jump Force, but that isn’t really a problem. The game currently feels like playing one giant ridiculous episode of a crossover anime, I just hope some of the floaty controls can get nailed down in the long run. Depending on the roster, and gameplay enhancements made, we could end up seeing one of the most ambitious anime games of all time.