Game Review: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven (PS4)
22/07/2016 Leave a comment
Despite making a rather ‘unimpressive’ DVD debut within the UK the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure franchise continues to resonate with fans across the world and because of this keen interest in the franchise CyberConnect2, the development team behind the strong line-up of Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm titles, opted to create a brand new JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure videogame experience for fans.
It’s known as JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven and it aims to provide the definitive gameplay and story experience that would one expect to receive from such a ‘unique’ franchise… so Just how good is this latest game? Well let’s take a look and find out!
|Title:||JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven|
|Publisher:||Bandai Namco Entertainment|
|Resolution:||1920 X 1080
As someone who is relatively new to the storyline of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure then I must admit that this games story completely baffles me; fortunately enough however the game has been designed in such a way that it makes the general gameplay fun without any prior knowledge of the characters and the story they offer.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Eye of Heaven is a 3D Arena brawler styled fighting game developed by CyberConnect2, the studio who previously brought us the Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm franchise; and it’s painfully obvious that some trends have been carried over between the two franchises. The first JoJo game, which was released onto the SEGA Dreamcast as well as Japanese Arcades, was a typical 2D sprite based fighting game on par with Street Fighter – albeit slightly more difficult to get to grips with – while the second JoJo’s game, which was released onto the PS3 in 2014 retained the iconic 2D fighting style with 3D characters. This latest instalment however opts to completely change the way fighting games are played and instead puts players in fully 3D environments that not only can be navigated around but interacted with as well.
The result of this ‘new found gameplay style’ is a new type of fighting game genre; one which isn’t 2D, 2.5D or even 3D but instead a more third person action title with fighting game rules. It’s bizarre but somehow it manages to work exceedingly well. Through this new gameplay type up to four players can battle at once, two on either side, and each player has three health bars. The objective of each fight is to completely defeat your opponent; an objective achieved by constantly attacking your opponent until your opponents health bar has been depleted. It’s basic fighting game rules but in order to aid players in accomplishing this then numerous types of attacks can be used.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is known for its wide-range of notable characters and within this ‘Eyes of Heaven’ release a large portion of characters from all eight chapters of the manga series are present; including the different forms of Dio. Each character has their own unique set of skills and attacks, each of which are activated through multiple button combinations such as R2 and Cricle, but alongside this each player has basic attacks. That’s not all either as when multiple characters on are screen team attacks can be accomplished for a more destructive attack and let’s not forget when the special attack guage has been filled an ultimate can be performed with each one being as unique as the character itself. As you can imagine each player attacks in a different style; for instance the ‘Joes’ fighting style is usual up close and personal but other characters can opt to attack from a far and it’s here where the annoyance of the battlefield comes into effect; something which made itself known in my gameplay video.
Each battlefield is based upon particular locations found within the source material, which is of course a good thing, but in order to make the battlefield more interesting ‘different’ traps, pitfalls and holes have been placed. The result is that some battlefields, such as the rooftap map found within the demo, can prove a difficult map to play on when in control of ‘close quarter’ players such as Jotaro. For example some long range characters can attack you from afar while you constantly become bombarded with attacks (which reminds me of certain characters from CyberConnect2’s Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm franchise) and as a result your health will quickly become depleted; especially if the opposing AI (or player controlled opponent) decides to gang up on you.
Of course these battlefields do offer a wider variety than what you may expect to receive from your traditional fighting game; for instance one map I played on saw me able to navigate around a small two-storey-castle setting up traps while another featured a spiked pitfall in the middle that would constantly deal damage if you are knocked into it. It’s a refreshing take on a fighting game, or 3D Brawler if you prefer, and it’s the type of fighting game style I haven’t seen since Capcom’s Powerstone release on the Dreamcast – albeit on a much larger scale.
While JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Eye of Heaven is a fighting game at heart most of the attention has been placed on the games ‘Story Mode’ and just like with CyberConnect2’s Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm franchise a lot of work and attention to detail has gone into it. Unfortunately for me however this hard work leaves me completely clueless as to whats transpiring and why. For someone who has never read or seen the source material then the story mode is quite hard to grasp; so to someone who doesn’t understand anime or manga then they probably won’t enjoy what it has to offer.
Why exactly do I bring this up? Well the story mode of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Eye of Heaven begins at the penultimate fight between Jotaro and Dio during the Stardust Crusaders act (which is classed as Part 3 within the source material). A prologue to who these characters are, the universe surrounding them or why exactly Jotaro and Dio are fighting is completely left out; instead all we are treated to is a summary that Dio defeated numerous friends of Jotaro and how he must defeat him; to which the player takes control and begins the fight. It does nothing to introduce the player to the world of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and whats even more frustrating is that while this first fight is easy it does very little in explaining the controls, the heads up display or navigating the world around you. Personally I would have preferred a proper introduction into this world and then an in-depth step-by-step on how to perform the actions required to defeat your opponent; an option which some games tend to do.
While I may have my complaints about how the game starts I have nothing but commendations for the presentation of the story itself as each fight is interlinked with another through cut-scenes and full CGI/Character model visual novel elements. It’s not quite the same ‘visual’ standard as Naruto Shippuden titles but it does retain the animation style found within the JoJo anime; and better yet the character models during cut-scenes look exactly the same as when they are in combat so it’s a nice touch for everything to balance out throughout both cut-scene and gameplay; even if I have no idea what’s happening.
If the games in-depth story, which goes through majority of what the JoJo Bizarre Adventure universe has to offer, isn’t your type of thing then a variety of supplementary content has also been included for your pleasure. For starters players can partake in offline battles with local players or AI opponents and with all characters, and stages, unlocked from the start you’ll have a lot to choose from. If playing offline isn’t your thing then online multiplayer, with both casual and ranked match types, are also included with yet again all characters and stages unlocked from the start. Personally I find it difficult learning the moves of a single character so with over forty characters to choose from it’s going to be a long journey of becoming a master with them all; especially when it comes to the intense online battles – all of which I completely lost.
One notable feature I did like in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Eye of Heaven is the ability to customise your characters ending stance and commentary along with small tweaks to your characters appearance. By using points earned in combat, which is acquired through all gameplay modes, you can use money to purchase additional phrases, stances and items to make your character stand out in battle. Of course the customisation is as ‘expansive’ as those found within Dragon Ball Xenoverse but it’s still a nice touch and it gives this ‘personal’ experience when fighting other players.
An honourable mention also has to be given to the games ‘Glossary’ mode; as if (like me) you find it difficult to understand the universe of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure then this glossary, which beings updated with new information the more you play the game, will provide definitive information on the characters, events and locations to whats appeared. Its a resourceful tool and it’s an informative feature thats often overlooked in anime games – as usually you already know the product before it has arrived.
Overall JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Eye of Heaven is another high quality fighting game from CyberConnect2 and while I approve of it’s unqiue approach and detailed storyline I couldn’t find much enjoyment in what the game had to offer and it’s all because I am not a fan of the franchise. It’s a fun game; but I find it quickly become tedious and repetitive however if you understand and enjoy the franchise then its sure to be a hit with your ideals of what a good JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure game is to be. Like a said; it’s a great game but it’s one for the fans of the show.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven is now available exclusively for the PS4 within the UK and Europe as both a digital download and retail disc.