ANIME & MANGA - Article
12:00 - 6th July 2014, by Matt Kamen

The Best for the West: All Star Battle

All Star Battle isn't the first JoJo's video game - that honour goes to a simple Super Nintendo RPG released only in Japan in 1993. Nor is it the first one to make it to the west - that would be 1999's arcade-perfect 2D beat-'em-up for the Dreamcast. However, this is undeniably the most ambitious and expansive release to ever bear the JoJo's name.

The game is a 3D brawler from CyberConnect2, the studio responsible for the popular Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm series of brawlers. With over 40 characters plucked from all eight of Araki's manga sagas, it is the first time any developer has attempted to capture the sheer breadth and scope of the original comics.

However, bringing the game west, where JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is far from a household name, was a concern for the creators. "To be honest, we do worry about the popularity of the IP when it comes to the international release," Noriaki Niino, producer of All Star Battle, tells NEO. "But I'd also say that compared to, let's say, Dragon Ball, JoJo's has a more realistic style - more lines and detail. Other than that, I think thanks to JoJo's very unique way of presenting a stylish atmosphere, those elements help to appeal more to westerners."

In addition to fighting game staples - a versus mode, online play, and character customisations - us lucky westerners are also getting a brand new Arcade Mode, a feature the original release lacked. It delivers a simple twist on the deeper Story Mode, with players battling through eight challengers at various levels - perfect for shorter bursts of solo play.

The main Story Mode itself lets players pound their way through all eight sagas of the manga, fighting key battles in each generation. As you progress, more characters and styles are unlocked, from the early Hamon users to the later Stand wielders. Although Araki introduced Stands as a power-up, Niino says his team has strived to keep the game balanced. "There is a very slight difference in terms of the power between characters, depending on how that character performed in the manga," he says. "But speaking overall, each character is designed to be completely fair for fighting gamers."

All Star Battle includes a feature called 'Easy Beat' - though hardcore fighting fans may want to look away now. "Easy Beat is simply where you mash the square button to make combos until the special attack triggers," Niino explains. However - and the hardcore can look again now - he also adds that, "Easy Beat is really just a beginner's mode, it's like a tutorial for them. I don't think it's going to deter the hardcore gamers because there are a bunch of other hard combos to learn, and many things that hardcore gamers can take advantage of. I really just want Easy Beat to bring up players to at least the 'average' level!"

Discover the game for yourself - JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle is out now for PS3 from Bandai Namco.

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