All Star Battle R, sins of the past

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Since its return to the anime scene in 2012, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has seen a surge in popularity thanks to its exuberant characters, vibrant world-building, and endless memorable moments. In 2013, developer studio CyberConnect 2 and Bandai Namco released a fighting game based on the long-running manga series, to little fanfare. Nearly a decade later, a remastered and improved version called JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle R looks to make a splash in a fighting game genre that has become more exciting and crowded in recent years. All Star Battle R comes packed with some edgy new characters, clever updates to the combat system, and a disappointing replacement for the original’s story mode. So, in a way, it succeeds as a celebration of the 35-year history of one of the most lush and vibrant anime and manga series out there. But while it’s still an entertaining fighting game, its online components still feel archaic in the modern age.

All Star Battle R’s impressive roster spans the entire history of the series, including 10 more fantastic characters than the already generous 41 of the previous version. Representatives range from Phantom Blood’s Jonathan Joestar and his evil foster brother Dio Brando, to Jonathan’s descendant Jotaro Kujo from the Stardust Crusaders arc, culminating in Josuke from Jojolion’s most recent story, along with allies and enemies of all parties in between. Trying out each of the fighters is a blast, and exploring the lovingly crafted existing fighting styles with new assist move synergies brings more complexity to combat than was possible in the original. This, combined with the fun quirks and interactions of the characters, fills each fight with pleasant surprises. The icing on the cake is the update to the Japanese voice cast in All Star Battle R, with actors reprising their roles from the most recent anime adaptations to make these faithful recreations feel complete, and that’s put to good use in the midst of combat. and on each menu screen.

Each JoJo era has unique combat rules and abilities, making battles varied and fun to control. Each fighter has a style that fits their location in the timeline.. First generation characters can recharge their HH meter by holding down a button and use their meter to perform stronger special moves. Others have vampiric powers, while others can fight both on horseback and without. It’s all wild and wacky, in true JoJo spirit, and that makes for exciting matchups.

It’s wild and wacky, in the true spirit of JoJo.

Much of the confrontation in the series revolves around protective spirits that act as a second body on the battlefield, and as such, most of the roster makes use of this special ability. This may sound a bit homogeneous, but the spirits of the characters can manifest in a variety of surprising ways, along with distinct move sets, making each character seem to have a unique gimmick despite sharing a common battle style.

I appreciate that because, more often than not, learning one character carries enough information to come prepared when trying out another. For example, no matter who you play, basic combos are easy to pull off, and light attacks turn into medium and heavy moves. Many of the special attacks are also assigned similarly across all characters.making it easy for beginners to learn, regardless of who they want to try.

It’s easy for beginners to play regardless of what they want to try.

Speaking of beginners, Easy Beat is a great tool for new players to perform simple combos using only the light attack button, until they learn to lace up the moves on their own. I’ve had a great time switching between the characters I love from the anime and then switching to JoJo’s later heroes and antagonists to see what kind of wacky gameplay schemes they follow.

Once you’ve taken that smooth entrance ramp to play All Star Battle R, there’s lots of advanced skills to learn to maximize your effectiveness on the battlefields. For example, battles take place primarily on a 2D plane, but the dodge button allows the character to dash to the foreground or background to avoid a lunge; learning how to do this is vital to opening up counter-attacking opportunities and punishing aggressive advances. Similarly, the more advanced style dodge can turn last-minute blocks into a dodge against the clock, and getting the hang of it requires precise timing and an intuition of what your opponent’s next attack might be.

Learning when and how to use each of these skills dramatically expands the depth of strategy.

Selected assist characters from any member on the roster can also be called in to extend combos or save you from a beating you may be taking. Even taunts serve an important function by depleting the opponent’s resource meter with properly timed trash talk. For those who want to get more sophisticated, you can also spend a meter bar to cancel cooldowns on moves to continue combos or make certain moves safe to block, similar to Guilty Gear’s cancel. Learning when and how to use each of these skills is rewarding and Dramatically expands the depth of strategy and gameplay in All Star Battle R.

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Due to All Star Battle R’s release date, its visuals are heavily based on JoJo creator Hirohiki Araki’s manga art style and is presented with a wonderful comic book aesthetic, which includes speech bubbles. The colorful hand-drawn textures and impossible poses of each character model are wonderful to watch, though some of the models and sets start to show their age in 2022.

Most of the offline modes in All Star Battle R are solid, if unremarkable.

Most of All Star Battle R’s offline modes are solid, if unremarkable, but many kept me happily grinding games for hours. Of course, arcade and one-on-one modes are to be expected in any fighting game, and these activities are available here without any surprising elements. Nevertheless, there are interesting additions, such as 3v3 team battle, similar to that of King of Fighters, and the possibility of playing tournaments with a maximum of eight people, which offer great possibilities to meet with friends and face each other in person. These modes should be staples in modern fighting games, and I applaud their inclusion here.

The main single player attraction is the All Star Battle mode, which includes canon matches and hypothetical dream matches to see which JoJo from different eras would win if it came to blows. What I like most about these fights are the special conditions they give you and your AI opponent, like boosts or penalties to attributes or the recovery of special meters, defense or attack power. Some boss-type characters can also start in a more challenging state, making many of the battles exciting and difficult to beat.

One of the remaster’s biggest missed opportunities is in the storytelling, or lack thereof.

Although the All Star Battle mode contains many battles from JoJo’s manga and anime, there is not much to learn here about the plot of the series. Unfortunately, this leaves anyone new to JoJo completely in the dark as to what’s going on in the story, who the main characters are, and why these fights are important. The story mode of the original is nowhere to be found, meaning that one of the remaster’s biggest missed opportunities is storytelling, or lack thereof. The only thing there is is a glossary with information on important items and characters hidden in the menus, but it serves more as a reminder for fans who haven’t gotten used to it than a guide to the greatness of JoJo.

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That’s not to say that JoJo’s signature flavor isn’t to be found anywhere; is alive on the battlefield. Explosive super moves known as Heart Heat and Great Heat Attacks unleash devastating combinations that are combined with flashy, ridiculous animations and voice lines. Some of the best include Dio pulverizing a steamroller (a classic), Diego transforming into a Jurassic terror, and Akira Otoshi smashing his guitar as his spirit crushes his enemy.

Where things go downhill for JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle R is lack of online gaming. Not only are the highlights of offline competition missing, such as team battles and tournaments, but remote matches are strictly limited to 1v1 matchmaking with no option for queue groups. Also, while some matches run smoothly online, matches with any network slowdowns can make fights a constant mess. This is a real problem, especially at a time when online gaming is more popular than ever, and competing fighting games like Guilty Gear Strive or the Capcom Fighting Collection have a much better online infrastructure. with a modern network code.

I wish it was just connection issues, but there are more problems with online gambling. Getting into a ranked match is an exercise in navigating unintuitive menus, which made the simple task of selecting my preferred character confusing and frustrating. This annoying mode was also responsible for competitions where I would lose my custom button scheme simply because I was paired in the second player position.

It’s great to have JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle rendered on modern hardware with an improved combat system over its 2013 version. However, its online implementation is in desperate need of an update, and the context of the anime’s pivotal story is almost impossible. non-existent. Even so, All Star Battle R wins with its raucous cast, accessible yet complex combat, and set of solid, yet safe, offline modes.. It’s not the best fighting game out there, but for those who are very into JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, it’s one that we’re glad to have on hand for a good time.