What would happen if you put together as many anime characters as you could muster, and shouted FIGHT!?
Jump Force, the upcoming title from Spike Chunsoft and Bandai Namco, attempts to answer exactly that. With characters from Dragon Ball Z, Naruto and many others mixed together, it’s a fighting game that promises big things.
I was extremely fortunate to find myself at Bandai Namco UK HQ recently, getting a hands-on experience with Jump Force. I didn’t waste much time in getting down and smashing some Japanese cartoon characters to bits. However, before jumping in on the action, I sat down to survey the fighters available.
The demo build I was playing didn’t have anywhere near a full roster, but it still boasted familiar faces from Bleach, One Piece and Dragon Ball. As I choose my three heroes I took time to inspect their design, and I was seriously impressed with what I saw. Jump Force goes for a unique aesthetic, blending real life texture with the dramatised features of Japanese cartoons. The characters almost look like dolls you could buy in the shops… but they certainly don’t fight like them.
Anime is very much larger than life – the eyes, the hair, the, er, chests – so the battles had to be too. I was expecting big things from Goku and and the gang, and I was not disappointed. Jump Force manages to make the extraordinary fairly simple. After only a few minutes of gametime, I was masterfully navigating the arena and subjecting my foes to numerous combos. Zipping and winding all over the arenas is made easy and even the combos and force beams weren’t too much trouble. In only a short while I looked the business, constantly jumping around the battlefield, juggling my computer opponents while switching my characters mid-combo.
I really felt like I was recreating the best fights that I had seen in the anime shows themselves. I was a badass! However, looking around at other players at the preview event proved to me that everyone else looked like a pro, too. It wasn’t a fluke of nature that we had all perfected our Super Saiyan abilities; it was a testament to the way Jump Force makes you feel powerful despite your technical level. I haven’t had that feeling of fighting prowess since the days of spamming buttons with Eddie Gordo in Tekken 3.
My brief experience with Jump Force managed to meet that larger-than-life experience I was dreaming of. That craving for flying laserbeams and bizarrely over-the-top combos was more than sated. Jump Force may well be the definitive fighting experience of this generation if it manages to expand on the amazing anime spirit it has captured so far.