Few developers are able to capture the sleek action found in anime quite like CyberConnect2. Through its successful Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm series of games and its more recent Demon Slayer adaptation, the studio has developed a stellar track record. His latest release is JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle R, which gave the team the chance to revisit and update their character-filled 2013 fighting game based on Hirohiko Araki’s magnum opus. ridiculous, absurd but impressive fights and musical references. With new characters, stages, and a new single-player mode, Bandai Namco’s remaster is clearly the definitive version of the game even if it’s not the best of the developer’s impressive catalog.
The most substantial change is that the original’s story mode is completely gone. In its place is its All Star Battle mode, which features over 100 battles of varying difficulty to complete. Medals can be unlocked by completing each level and their secret secondary objectives, which then allows players to customize their characters with taunts and winning poses, adding more unlocks to seek out. The change to single-player modes removes a lot of context from battles, which span all eight parts of JoJo. While that probably won’t bother diehard fans, those with a more casual acquaintance will find themselves lost in the odd battles that might see them battling a small dog using Stand, but thankfully the absurdity carries the experience. It’s not as ambitious as CyberConnect2’s Naruto games, which is daunting and a missed opportunity, but it delivers the fights you’ll want to relive and the fights fans want to see.
Don’t get me wrong, All Star Battle R is for the biggest fans of the series. Newer games receive fewer missions, with Stardust Crusaders receiving a fifth of overall quests. This is also seen with his new character additions as most of it comes from older parts, such as Robert EO Speedwagon from Phantom Blood, so JoJolion is still terribly underrepresented as only Josuke Higashikata is playable. Most of the new characters were seen in Eyes of Heaven in 2015 (except Prosciutto & Pesci, Foo Fighters, and Ghiaccio), but they still needed to be adapted to All Star Battle’s more traditional 2D combat system. These are all solid additions, with Prosciutto & Pesci being the most unique of the bunch as the two men act as one character.
With 51 characters in total (and four more on the way because an anime game can never avoid having DLC), the list brings out the best in its combat system. It’s not the deepest fighter – it’s fairly accessible thanks to auto combos and simplistic special inputs – but thanks to the wild roster, dramatic finishing maneuvers, environmental hazards and assist fighters, the action is never boring. The on-screen action might not always make sense, as some shorter characters are hit with animations that clearly miss them, but it’s still enjoyable and appropriately overdone.
While the rest of the single-player options like survival and arcade modes are pretty forgettable, its online sections fare a bit better. There are weekly rewards in the form of new outfits that are tied to completing timed missions that will eventually repeat (so no content is locked forever). These range from simple, like using a specific character or launching a certain attack, to playing a number of ranked battles. It’s a good way to keep players active online for weeks to come, which is always essential for a more specialized fighting game.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle R isn’t a huge reimagining of the 2013 title, but it doesn’t have to appeal to its target audience. The additions to the cast are solid, the game still looks as classy due to its excellent art style that stands the test of time, and the basic fighting game principles, while still a bit simple, are always satisfactory. While it’s disappointing that the story mode hasn’t been revamped to more closely resemble the campaigns found in CyberConnect2’s more recent anime titles, the mission mode gets the job done. There’s no doubt that this is the best version of All Star Battle to play and an interesting pickup for any JoJo fan.
As ComingSoon’s review policy explains, a score of 7.5 equates to “Good.” A successful entertainment that is worth seeing, but which may not please everyone.
Disclosure: The publisher provided a PlayStation 5 copy for our JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle R review. Revised on version 1,100,000.