Just like any gamer, I have dabbled in the anime scene, but not for some time now. I would hate to be that kind of guy, but modern anime doesn’t really interest me. Sure, some anime sticks out, and I do watch certain modern series, but I wouldn’t call myself a hardcore anime fan. I am, however, more familiar with anime-based video games. I mostly play the games from the “One Piece” and “Naruto” side of gaming, but now I can dip my feet into a game I thought we were never going to get, J-Stars Victory Versus Plus on the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita. Like Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, I was thinking, due to all the different characters from different creators, that they would have to go through a lot of copyright shenanigans to get this game over here. So, what do I think of this game? Well, read on to find out.
The main game’s story mode is basically “Wow! All of these Manga/anime characters are in one huge world, and they must save it!” Seriously, that is basically it. There is very little substance to the story, and you won’t remember it a few days after you picked it up. I wish they could have made a better story, but at least some of the banter between the characters is fun and charming to listen to.
This is a 3D fighting game. I mean, what else are you going to do with a bunch of manga/anime characters that do nothing but fight in their own respective series? You will choose between one or three main fighters, and one support character. You can choose characters from long-running and popular series like “One Piece” and “Dragon Ball Z”, to newer series like “Assassination Classroom.” Each fighter surprisingly has his/her own strengths and weaknesses, and is by no means clones of certain characters. The fighting in this game has you brawling against the other characters until you have beaten them two-three times. It really depends on what kind of fight you are in. The combos are basic, and the combat engine really relies on you to go on the offensive due to how few counter-moves there are. There is a bar at the upper part of the screen that you will want to get on your side, so you can pull off super moves/finishers to really bring down the pain on your opponents. Outside of the main arcade mode, versus mode, and dream fight mode, you have four different story modes that will follow characters like Luffy from “One Piece”, Naruto from, well, “Naruto”, and Toriko from “Toriko”. You can also fight people online with up to four people. Overall, you have a fighting game with an impressively diverse cast of characters, from manga/anime old and new, some simple and satisfying combat, and a good amount of content for a budget price.
Graphically, the game looks okay. It’s cool to see certain characters in 3D, but this game looks like an early PlayStation 3 game. The only voice tracks they have are the Japanese voice cast, and I don’t really mind that. I’d rather have Japanese voice actors, some that play multiple well-known characters, give performances that are energetic compared to a bunch of English voice actors who act like they don’t care. The music is upbeat, but forgettable. I don’t really remember many of the songs that played during each fight I was in. Then again, this is a budget title, so I am not at all surprised by this.
Okay, what does this game do wrong? Unfortunately, it falls into a lot of the same traps that crossover games fall into. First off, the story or “stories” are utter bullocks. The main plot has such little substance to it, that they shouldn’t have put it in at all. The story basically stacks up to “Whoa, these heroes from Shonen Jump are saving the world!” and that is about it. The fighting can also feel a bit unsatisfying and clunky. For example, I feel like I can’t get out of a combo quick enough or block fast enough on the ground or in the air. It has left me open for multiple attacks. The story mode also overstays its welcome, due to how many boring and repetitive side quests there are. I just don’t find myself or any gamer, unless they are hardcore manga fans, enjoying the banter between the multiple characters. I also found having to buy all the characters a little tedious, since at points during the “story mode”, I couldn’t buy them even though I had enough money. While I like the idea of an overworld, I wish it was executed better. This is especially true with the map. The map that you can bring up won’t have every location labeled, and will just end up with you wasting your time flying around and avoiding/not avoiding fights just to find some location. The ship customization is pretty cool, but I found a lot of the upgrades to either be pointless or clunky, since positioning yourself at the right angle to enter one location became annoying. I wish the support characters were also playable fighters. Like, give every fighter a support and main fighter capabilities. What about the card element? Yeah, you can buy cards to improve the strength of your characters, but I never found myself using them. I never felt stronger, so why should I use an element of the game I consider worthless?
This game itself relies and leans heavily on the fact that you have some of manga/anime’s greatest icons in one fighting game. Outside of that, all you have is an average fighting game that can be fun and varied, due to how big the cast is, but ends up becoming a stale experience very fast unless you are into fighting games. I think pick it up, because it might be hard to find later down the line, but I would definitely rent it first before buying it. While a solid bit of fan service, you can do better for fighting games and crossover-style games. Check it out for yourself, but there are no negatives towards skipping it.
This game gets 6 out of 10