Arriving in a release which would have seemed impossible not too long ago, J-Stars Victory Vs+ is the latest fighting game in the Shonen Jump game series and the first to be released in english and outside of Japan. Developed by Spike Chunsoft and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment J-Stars Victory Vs+ is an enhanced release of the Japanese version which launched early last year. Featuring many of the major characters in the Shonen Jump series, J-Stars Victory Vs+ is the first crossover shonen jump game since “Jump Ultimate Stars” on the DS, which was considered to be a huge success even though it never reached outside Japan.
J-Stars Victory Vs+ is set in an universe were all of the universes from the Shonen Jump magazine and manga series are linked together and the characters from those series have come together to compete in the Jump Battle tournament, to determine who is the strongest character overall. The tournament is based on teams of 3 (2 fighters and 1 supporter), where each team is given 3 lives. If all 3 lives are used, it’s game over; the lives are shared between you and your team mate so you have to make sure the NPC does not mess up.
The combat system is set in 3D environment with obstacles which be broken during battle. The controls are very simple to use as well and don’t require too much effort to get used to them. Each character has their own unique light and strong basic attacks and special moves, with certain characters also being able to transform as well. In addition to this there is also a chance to perform Tag Team Combo Attack if 1 person knocks a player in the air and 2nd person presses the right button to follow on. However it is extremely hard to execute online unless you coordinate very well.
Last of all there is a Victory Burst meter which boosts your teams damage output for a set period of time as well as allow your character to perform certain moves which costs 1 bar. To fill up the bar, one must KO a character in the other team.
In J-Stars, there are 4 different main story mode the player can choose from to play which are:
- Dynamic Arc (Luffy’s point of view from One Piece)
- Hope Arc (Naruto’s point of view from Naruto)
- Investigation Arc (Toriko’s point of view from Toriko)
- Pursuit Arc (Ichigo’s point of view from Ichigo)
Each of these Arcs have the same story setting, exact missions and quests however, you can only play as certain characters till you unlock them all later on the story. I have no idea why they did that as it was very repetitive to play through all 4 of the Arcs to unlock one trophy and finding out has the same story in each of them. However 1 key aspect is that your cards can be carried over to any of the story mode and online battle.
However there was one flaw that I noticed when playing the story mode and is the lack of voice acting for these iconic characters. There is 0 voice acting apart from the simple voice effects such as “Ohhh” “Wow” etc which was very disappointing as a fan of several of these series’ characters. The lack of voice acting could have improved the quality of the story mode as it’s quite boring to read all of the character’s dialog with no audio, slightly making it feel like a visual novel or one of the JRPG games which this is not.
As mentioned before, you can collect cards while playing, which can then be used to boost the stats of the characters you are playing with. However, to unlock the cards, the player must either complete certain quests or buy gachapon coins. Once you have these cards, you can increase stats like Attack damage, Defense from Damage, Cool downs etc. Due to the vast amount of cards available to collect, players can build their unique decks and challenge other players online with their customised decks for their characters.
The online mode is split into two sections; Free battle mode and Ranked. Free mode allows players to play against each other up to 4 people without any negative impact to their ranking, while ranked mode lets players compete to get to the top of the ladder and become the very best. Based on my experience of the game in Free battle mode and Ranked, I can tell that most people have figured out which characters are good as it is very repetitive whom you face. Of course you’ll face the occasional player where they try to spam certain moves or lag so much that you can’t attack or block. In addition to this, the hit boxes in the game are extremely weird where some attacks misses even though they land first before the enemy attacks, which can be frustrating when playing other people.
With the big character roster, the characters in the game have their unique abilities based on their moves and appearances within their respective series, such as Luffy able to go to 2nd Gear to Raoh, ripping off his shirt! Certain characters are easier to use and pack a lot more damage than others such as Luffy, Joseph, Kenshiro where their normal attacks can be linked to their special attack without any trouble.
However there are some questions I have though about the game for certain characters such as Ichigo and Goku. Why does Ichigo do so little damage? Why give Ichigo a special move which 1 hits KO if it lands and kill himself after? Why does goes only go to SSJ1? Why is Allen Walker unplayable? These questions can’t be answered of course but I’m sure the creators have their reasons. (Hopefully)