JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is one of my favourite anime out there. It has whacky characters, bombastic battles, manly posing, and a whole lot of people shouting “JOJO!” and “DIO!” at the top of their lungs. It’s bizarre, and it’s wonderful. So when word came about that the fighting game was coming to the west, I was overjoyed with the thought that more people would experience the sheer joy from the game that I felt watching the anime. After playing a good few hours of the new demo that was just released, all I can say is that I want this game more than ever.
While I’m going to keep this impression as fair as possible, I am a fan of the source material. This means that I’m going to be fanboy-ing over the littlest things in this demo. With that said, let’s go!
The demo let’s you play as three characters from the first three saga’s of Jojo’s adventure; Dio from Phantom Blood, Caesar from Battle Tendency, and Jotaro from Stardust Crusaders. Each character has their own “style” that makes them unique. Dio has vampirism, Caesar has hamon, and Jotaro has his stand. These styles make the characters feel completely different from one another, and make each one play in vastly unique ways.
Dio’s vampirism makes him a force to be reckoned with. His attacks are relentless and can easily chain together to send the opponent flying, venerable for a special attack. While his attacks are strong, he’s health can quickly be depleted, and hamon attacks do a little bit extra damage to him (just like in the anime!). To make up for his small amount of health, he can heal by using special moves that drain the enemies health and restore a little of his. I found Dio the easiest to play out of the three, since his attacks flow together with ease and cause the enemy to go skyward. He’s a good starter character with little strategy. Also, he yells “Mudamudamudamuda!” during his ultimate, making me very happy.
Caesar was by far the most difficult to master. Caesar isn’t built to combo standard attacks, as all of his specials are stuns that can lead into attack the enemy with his ultimate, and he can do this thanks to his hamon. Caesar’s hamon allows him to charge up his special meter without having to enter combat, meaning he can charge his specials to stack and cause some brutal damage. The downside to this is that he is incredibly open to attacks when doing this, and since there is no block button, can easily be chained into a massive combo. A good character for those who like to dodge and jump around, but not for those who are new to the game.
Jotaro is the most well rounded and spam-able characters in the demo. Jotaro (also called Jojo) can summon his stand to attack a few meters in front of him. This stand ends every combo by using ora to land roughly 40 hits on the opponent, sending them flying away from Jojo. The most annoying thing about this is that it does little damage and is just there to humiliate the opponent. There is one redeeming thing about Jojo, his time stop ability. Stopping time freezes the opponent and allows Jojo to pull of whatever move he wants with added damage. Combine this with his super move “Oraoraoraoraoraora!” and the player can do some seriously massive damage. A good player for people starting out, but a little annoying to fight with as battle can take forever.
The demo lets you duke it out on three different arenas relating to each character, and each one has its own events that can hurt both players if they aren’t too careful. The best by far was in Battle Tendency’s Circus Maximus, where vampire horses run loose on the tracks from the chariots used by Wamuu and Jojo. These events keep you on your toes and constantly moving, as getting hurt by one of these events can turn the tides of battle quite quickly.
The demo lets you play three battles in arcade against the other two characters and one secret character restricted to each combatant. Dio fights Avdol, Jojo fights Gyro, and (most importantly) Caesar fights Wamuu. These battles really challenge how well you understand the character you’re playing and really test your might when it comes to quick thinking. Winning these battles nets you nothing special, but having the ability to beat the crap out of Wamuu with Caesar was one of the most satisfying things I’ve done in a long time.
My biggest worries for the full game are two simple mechanics: A lack of a block button and auto specials. The game doesn’t use a block button, instead relying on a dodge manoeuvre that twiddles down a small bar below the health that moves the player out of the way of the attack. I didn’t really like this mechanic, as dodging leaves the player immovable for a few seconds and allows the opponent to ready up another attack while they wait. Maybe this delay time was just for the demo, but it has me worrying.
But while that is only a small concern, my biggest issue comes from the specials that automatically activate at the end of a combo if the player has a special available. There is a small bar at the bottom of the screen that slowly fills up over the course of the battle that can stack three times, when full once the player can perform a special move that deals massive damage. In the demo, whenever you chain a combo together and have the option to use a special, it does it without your consent. This means that if you’re trying to save up for an ultimate attack, then you’re in trouble. While this feature to auto-chain moves has been seen in many other fighting games, it has always been an option. Hopefully this option will be available to toggle on and off in the full game.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle is already a blast to play, and that’s only from the demo. When the full game comes out later this month, come back to see the full review on this action packed bizarre brawler.