JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a property I have some history with. I was first introduced waaaaay back when in 2000. My dad got me a second hand Dreamcast from a work friend of his and with it a butt ton of games. Many of which I never saw again and have never heard anyone talk about (show of hands all those who played Millennium Soldier: Expendable). Among those disks was a brightly coloured box simple called JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure a fighting game, made by capcom no less. I was already infatuated with Capcom vs SNK by that point so I was ready to try this out. It was a game that surprised me, it felt great to play and the art was absolutely top teir, but I was shock by how much story this had for a fighting game. Then I beat it and I put it away, replaying every now and then, and on the few occasions my friends wanted to play me at a fighting game I’d bring it back out, but it largely went forgotten after that. I maintained happy memories of it, but I did eventually sell my Dreamcast and all its games (a decision I would come to regret later in life) to fund my addiction to buying new games for my Xbox. So imagine my surprise when, years later, i discover that not only do other people know about JoJo, but that it is actually a huge decade spanning phenomenon with a massive cult following. It took my a while to start reading the Manga properly, but once I did I was hooked and now, after the disapointment of All Star Battle, I finally have a JoJo game that lives up to those fond Dreamcast memories.
You’re Next Line Is “……….”
Eyes of Heaven (Herby shortened to EOH) is not a 2D fighter like its predecessor and thank god for it. I know people enjoyed All Star Battle (herby shortened to ASB) but I was not one of them! The game felt sluggish and overly concerned with its style, which is great for JoJo, but not for a competent one on one fighter. EOH took a different tack, and plays more like a 3D brawler like Budokai Tenkaichi. This style makes a lot more sense to me, as Stand fights (and JoJo fights in general) are often much more open and involve a lot of running around, accurate representing a JoJo fight would be impossible realistic, but this feels a lot truer to the source material. Another major difference this time is the battles are generally two on two fights, which also makes a lot more sense to me as characters in JoJo rarely venture out alone.
In terms of looks, this isn’t a major step up from ASB, despite the generational leap. It’s not surprising considering this is running off the same engine, but EOH often has a lot more happening on screen at any one time so the performance leap is the real star here. The frame rate is pretty stable overall, but if you manage to fit all 4 characters on screen at once, all performing special skills then you might see some dips.
JoJo has really taken off in popularity due to the excellent anime being produced but David Productions. We’re about a third of the way into Part 4 now and the show is an incredibly faithful recreation of the Manga. I know a lot of people will have gotten on the JoJo hype train via the anime and I’d wager a good proportion of those new fans will have only seen as far as the Manga. Some purists on the internet will try and make Anime only fans feel unwelcome to the party because they like to think of JoJo as a secret club only they know about. I welcome the new breed of fan, because more attention is a good thing for the brand! BUT!!! Let me be abundantly clear… if you haven’t read up to AT LEAST part 7… You are NOT welcome to this party, because the game contains enormous spoilers for every single JoJo story. Which is unsurprising considering the basis of the games own original story.
The game opens up with a recreation of the Manga most famous battle, Jotaro vs Dio. And goes on from there to the conclusion of Stardust Crusaders, when suddenly a young Robert E.O. Speedwagon arrives on the scene. As is goes, there are many alternate worlds in the JoJo universe and Speedwagon is explain the chaos being cause by some unknown force (come on, you know who its going to be) when they are rudely interrupted by Avdol and Iggy, which is surprising considering they had to over come the slight handicap of being dead. Apparently this story was ‘supervised’ by JoJo head himself, Hirohiko Araki, but you’ll be hard pressed to find any of his wit or charm here. The story itself isn’t really bad, but its plainly an excuse for a greatest hit collection of JoJo characters. Which is fine really, it is exactly what it needs to be, and I’m not too proud that I won’t admit to fan boying when characters like Weather Report or Buccellati join your party.
Let me just preface the next few paragraphs by saying this: the game is fun and filled with great fan service moments, but it is not without issues. I’m going to spend much more time explaining the problems this game has than I am exalting all the things I liked, so I thought I’d clear that before anyone get the wrong idea.
So what do I like about EOH? Well first of all I like how easy it is to pick up and plan and feel like you’re doing something cool as hell! The combat system is simple as anything as it is essentially two buttons, light and heavy attacks. And what if I’m too lazy to input light and heavy attacks I hear you cry! Well then you’re in luck because you can active cool manga inspired action skills by simply holding R1 and pressing any of the corresponding buttons. And what If I’m too lazy to hold one button?! Then… Christ, how do you even turn your console on?
It takes even less effort to pull off the spectacularly animated special moves that the game refers to as Dual Heat Attacks (DHA). DHA’s are moves that take one of two forms: every character in the game has a super attack, and if you slam any two characters together these special moves with link into one another. However, certain pairings have access to unique variants that are even more exciting that your standard super. What’s especially exciting is seeing characters pair up across generation like Jotaro and Jolyne or Dio and DIO! (Note: Dio and Dio’s DHA is called: “The Sickest and The Strongest” and it is the BEST!!)
The fan service on display here is absolutely staggering and it takes absolutely no effort to pull off, so this game is and easy recommendation for any who doesn’t play games, but loves anime.
Yare Yare Daze (The Bad)
The downside of the easy input combat system is the fact that there really isn’t much room for mastery. You can pull off some simple juggles, but the effort you need to put in for that makes them hardly worth it in the end. The main story modes don’t really demand much mastery to be fair, so you can just blitz through that without much stress. But if you try out the side missions then the difficulty will be bumped up sky high and that’s when your frustration and the limited combat will come to light. Which, again, wouldn’t be such a problem if this game wasn’t so drawn out! I can’t help but feel like the design philosophy behind this game was “if it was cool once, it’ll be cool three times!” Unfortunately, this is not the case, and the constant retreading becomes tiresome long before the game comes to an end.
I applauded the fan service before and I won’t be taking that praise away. They do a lot to please the fanboy inside of me, but they do just enough that he’s still left hungry and wanting more. The DHA are great, but I wanted more of a focus put on intergeneration interaction. Imagine how cool it would have been to have seen a time warping punch from Joseph Joestar who starts beating you when he’s young and finishes the job in his pensionable years! And why doesn’t Speedwagon have any one to combine with!?
End of The World
I like this game. I like it plenty, but I find it hard to recommend without reservations. You have to be a JoJo fan to get in on the fun here, full stop, you just won’t know what on earth is happening without that knowledge. And on top of that, if you’re looking for a genuinely deep fighting experience, you will not find that here. But! If you love JoJo and you want to see Dio and Giorno fighting side by side, or if you want to see how Josuke and Josuke would react to one another, then this game is absolutely the right choice for you.