Ever since Jump Ultimate Stars released on the DS back in 2006 to much praise and success, fans were repeatedly asking for a new fighting game featuring all their favorite Shonen characters on a home console. With all the possibilities and potential this idea had, it would have surely been an amazing experience possibly on par with Super Smash Bros. That dream finally came true when J-Stars Victory VS released on PlayStation 3 back in 2015 but to much disappointment with the game feeling quite lacking among fans. But then at E3 2018, Shonen fans had a glimmer of hope when Jump Force was announced for PS4, PC and Xbox One as a celebration of Shonen Jump’s 50th Anniversary. In this reveal, the game looked great debuting with a trailer featuring some flashy visuals and a sneak peak of the all star roster. However, when it finally released, fans were extremely disappointed with the game due to its lackluster roster, boring story mode, lazy animations and a realistic art style that looked jarring on the cartoony designs of many of the anime/manga characters. Months after the game released, the game fell into obscurity with concurrent players dropping day by day until recently. Over a year later, Jump Force has been re-released for Nintendo Switch in a deluxe package that features all previous patches and all the season 1 DLC. As it has been several months after release, we’ll be taking a look to see if any improvements have been made to this new version of the game.
Jump Force allows you to play as characters from many iconic Shonen Jump series such as Dragon Ball, Naruto, One Piece, Hunter x Hunter, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and more! Even some other unexpected Shonen Jump series such as Fist Of The North Star and Yu Yu Hakusho have received some representation which is great to see in an anniversary celebration game like this. However, there isn’t much representation for many other Shonen franchises that fans would have loved to see, with only the most popular being represented, which is quite disappointing as even Jump Ultimate Stars on the DS was able to achieve this many years ago on much weaker portable hardware. Other than that, each of these playable characters all have unique move sets that all successfully reference their source material which is sure to make fans happy. Unfortunately, as of the writing of this article, the new season 2 DLC fighters, besides Todoroki from My Hero Academia, have yet to be added to this Nintendo Switch version of the game whilst the other versions of the game received them many months ago.
Alongside these iconic Shonen characters, Jump Force even introduces some original characters designed by the creator of Dragon Ball himself, Akira Toriyama, with them either being playable or featured in the game’s story mode. Unfortunately the story mode is pretty lackluster as it is quite uninteresting, bland and basic. In this story mode, you can even play as your own custom character, with a large variety of customization options which is great to see as it can make anime fans feel like they’re really interacting with their favorite characters. Your custom character even appears in the story mode cutscenes similarly to how your custom avatar in Sonic Forces does. Unfortunately, that’s where the positives for this story mode ends as it is an extremely boring experience with it having quite an uninteresting story and long boring cutscenes. These cutscenes are horribly animated and make all these once lively anime characters now feel soulless with them not showing any emotion at all with their static faces and jarring motion captured animations that look as bad as the cutscenes from Sonic 06. In the video below, you can even see Freiza from Dragon Ball basically just ascending upwards without any reaction or movement when he’s flying away which goes to show how lazy the animations in this game are. Even Ryuk from Death Note’s wing animations are only animated in his introduction cutscenes.
In terms of gameplay, matches can surprisingly be quite fun to play, especially with friends. However, this Nintendo Switch version of the game isn’t suited at all for competitive gameplay with the framerate being all over the place. The game is playable and fun but the framerate can get quite bad with it not being consistent at all at around 20fps. A large contrast to a consistent 60fps you could experience on PC. These dips in frames especially get bad whilst you’re in the lobby with the low framerate feeling extremely choppy and quite noticeable.
It does feel like a miracle that Bandai Namco even managed to get the game running at a playable framerate on Switch as the visuals are extremely demanding with even the game dropping frames on the PS4 and Xbox One. However, to meet this demand there are some compromises to the already odd looking visuals but overall, Bandai Namco did a great job porting this game with the limited hardware of the Switch. The game can seem blurry in portable mode however its hard to notice with the small resolution of the Switch’s screen.
Overall, Jump Force was quite an underwhelming game that I wouldn’t recommend unless you’re looking for a fighting game with dumb fun to play with friends. However, there are many other Anime fighting games on the market that are much more worth your time such as Dragon Ball FighterZ that continues to be supported around 4 years after release. If you’re still interested in Jump Force, then I would recommend the other versions of the game due to the Nintendo Switch version having framerate issues which will affect anybody wanting to play this game competitively and no changes were made to make this version any special.
- Allows you to play as a variety of iconic Shonen anime characters.
- Great customizable features for custom character.
- Fun as a party game with friends.
- Another generic anime arena fighter.
- Generic storymode.
- Lackluster roster of characters.
- Jarring animations and visuals due to poor choice of artstyle.
- Choppy framerate.
- Season 2 DLC has yet to be added.
This soup should be served on another platform.
A review code for Jump Force: Deluxe Edition was provided by Bandai Namco for the purpose of this review.