GAMES - Review
10:54 - 27th August 2015, by Matt Kamen

J-Stars Victory VS+

How’s your Shonen Jump history? Hopefully pretty good if you want to get the most out of J-Stars, with the iconic likes of Bleach’s Ichigo or One Piece’s Luffy sharing screen time with forgotten figures such as Hell Teacher Nube or Luckyman.

As way of story, the cast all exist on “Jump World”, and are taking part in the “J Battle Festival”. It’s pretty bare bones, but splitting the tale into four campaigns allows focus on different groups of unlikely allies teaming up and taking on side quests.

Be it solo or online, each battle sees you forming teams of active and support characters, then fighting it out against rival squads in 3D worlds. It’s worth paying attention to the tutorial, as the system is deeper than you’d expect, factoring in lock-ons, attack distances, guard breaks and more.

Frustratingly, there’s no counter or reversal when you get caught in an enemy’s attack, often leaving you stuck in mega-hit combos with no escape. Conversely, flashy team moves, activated once you’ve built up enough charge, are over-powered, proving a spammy way to win most bouts.

J-Stars also has RPG elements, with character unlocks, levelling, and customisations that can affect battle. Unfortunately, little is explained – annoying if you want to expand your roster, only to find you aren’t allowed to buy more heroes at that point, or that the team you’ve just fought with doesn’t receive any experience, for no clear reason. Irritations such as these undermine what is otherwise a fun crossover.

Aficionados of Shonen Jump’s prodigious back catalogue will adore the attention to detail and “Who’s Who” nature of the game. Occasionally imbalanced combat and unclear progression systems will stymie players looking for a pure brawler though.
SCORE: 3/5
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