Sleek design, a killer story line and gripping cutscenes – are three things you will not find in Jump Force. This manga fighting game was released to much anticipation in February 2019. When developer Spike Chunsoft set out to pay homage the 50-year anniversary of the Weekly Shonen Jump series – he was doomed to disappoint. Expectations were as high as the Shonen worlds are vast, and players were hungry to see their favorite characters together were in for a letdown. Jump Force takes 40 manga characters from 16 anime series and brings them together to fight villains in recognizable locations like Times Square and the snowy peaks of the Matterhorn.
In a nutshell, this is flashy and fun fighting game. What drags Jump Force down is the poorly developed story in between. Jump Force was ambitious, and the concept had great potential yet inevitably it couldn’t live up to the hype. Like one of those buzz movies with a stellar cast that somehow never fail to disappoint. That said, if you are itching for a scrappy brawl with some of your favorite manga characters, Jump Force could be worth a download. Let’s get into the nitty gritty and see if the game is a good shout for you.
Jump Force: some ups and downs
Jump Force: a garish mashup of manga characters
The 3D fighting game begins with an epic battle with some of the most popular manga characters and villains in the heart of Times Square, but it only goes down from there. What brought this legendary cast of Shonen Jump characters to our little old Earth? The basic premise is pretty cool: a pair of villains (original characters by Shonen Jump creator Arika Toriyama) are attacking our world using video game space cubes. The Shonen Jump worlds collide and bring the Japanese manga characters together. The literal juxtaposition of magical and real allows for some pretty surreal settings like the Statue of Liberty in a Shonen Jump landscape.
Aesthetically the graphics are almost too good. The motion blur fight scenes are chaotic. The hyperactive action in the foreground coupled with the spinning camera does to your head what a long car ride down country lanes does to your stomach. You create your player avatar with various costumes and choose some moves. You may find the characters are excessively stylized and polished. This results in a photo-shopped feel with their bulging veins and overly glossy hair. Where Jump Force disappointed most deeply was in the poorly constructed story line and frankly boring cut-scenes. After the high-tension action-backed battle with the supervillains in Times Square, you are introduced to the back story of the game. For way too long. This is a scenario repeated throughout: in between each fight, you will have to walk your player around a hub world. You will have the opportunity to grab some new gear or gain experience points. Walking around with a map just to unlock new missions feels like a slog, and the downtime isn’t entertaining enough to engage. Nothing is ever explained to satisfaction. The Earth is inexplicably under attack, and for some reason a huge roster of Jump Force characters from various franchises meet (and are not surprised to see each other?). If you are a diehard anime fan then the characters may disappoint (where were Raoh and Gohan?), and if you are not then they will baffle (who is Gon Freecs?). One major flaw of the game was the lack of simple replay. You have to start from scratch with the load times and character selection. You won’t be able to settle into a binge battle session with friends.
Is it all bad? If you are looking for some high definition brawling, then Jump Force does guarantee some hardcore action. The fighting sequences are fun but simple. Basically, each fight scene is built on a three-player attack. You have the option of standard attack and defense punches and kicks in a two-button system. Or you can pull up a special attack menu with all the legendary moves from the Jump Force teams. (Remember however this will depend on your meter that will fill up over time). Your original avatar will be your main player, but you can swap the characters out for various fight scenes. Each player shares a “health bar” and shares it equally. This is a niche concept and one of the saving graces of an otherwise pretty dire game. Ditto the opportunity to put “your” custom made character as comrade in arms with some Manga legends. That is a pretty neat touch.
Is there a better alternative?
If you’re looking for a fast-paced fighting game, try Hatsune Miku. This will test your reflexes and sharpen your timing. Like Jump Force it tests skilled combat and not just brawls over brains thug force. Mortal Kombat is a classic and well deserving of its top rung status. For painstaking detail on each bone-breaking move, Mortal Kombat leaves nothing to the imagination. The latest graphics need to be experienced to be believed.
If it’s budget but blazing entertainment that you seek, then Street Fighter V is not very expensive. The latest in the franchise, it promises high-tension fighting and some great news. Not close enough? You won’t get closer to Jump Force than Dragon Ball Z. A best-loved anime game with epic combat scenes and advanced 3D characters.
Where can you run this program?
Are you ready to pit your favorite manga characters against each other? Jump Force can be played on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. The online version actually works great. If you want to play it on your computer, you will need the right specifications. At best, you’ll need a 64-bit processor and operating system. It will run on Windows 7, 8 and 10. Make sure you have at least 4 GB RAM (8 GB of RAM ideally), 17 GB of space available and a good WiFi connection. You will also need a DirectX compatible soundcard or onboard chipset.
The fighting is pretty good, and the graphics are admittedly awesome. Also, if you are a fanatic fan of the Weekly Shonen Jump, then you will love fighting alongside some of your favorite characters and it may be worth the stiff price.
Should you download it?
Not really. Should you do it, keep your expectations low. That said, if the names Rukia, Goku and Asta don’t get your thumbs itching to play then do not download this game. Save your dollars for something with a great story line or killer combat scenes. Jump Force fails on both fronts.