JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven - Review (PS4)

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Eyes of Heaven game

  • System: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3
  • Developer: Bandai Namco, CyberConnect2
  • Release Date: June 28, 2016

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Who it caters to

With an anime now airing based on the original epic manga that started a phenomenon, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is well known for its legacy of over the top manliness, poking fun at classics such as Fist of the North Star while maintaining its own unique flair for the dramatic. The new anime has reignited the fandom and introduced a new generation to the franchise forcing publishers to bring more JoJo games overseas. Was the wait worth

What to expect

Some of the first JoJo games to reach Western shores were a series of fighting games originally developed for the arcade but was eventually ported to the PlayStation and Sega Dreamcast in 1999 and named simply JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. An HD version was also made and placed on the PSN and Xbox Live Arcade in 2012. After that, it wasn’t until JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle, when the franchise once again landed on foreign soil with the anime, began to gain popularity.

All Star Battle is a PlayStation 3 game and feels quite similar to other fighting games under the Shonen Jump umbrella considered many were made by developer CyberConnect2, the same creator of the hit Naruto Ninja Storm series. The game received decent reviews and was a lot of fun to play and now CyberConnect2 is back with another JoJo title to add to its impressive lineup.

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Story *Spoilers Ahead for the Show/Manga*

Unlike many other anime titles that are doomed to retell the same story over and over again, Eyes of Heaven brings to the table an all new adventure that was even supervised by the mangaka himself, Hirohiko Araki, giving fans of the hit series something new to drool over as Jotaro and Speedwagon travel through time to correct mysterious anomalies that are bringing many of the series iconic enemies back to life.

The events occur right after the Stardust Crusaders arc, Dio has just been defeated at the hands of Jotaro, but the gang doesn’t have time to celebrate before they are attacked by a series of characters from their past, formerly thought to have been dead. The group reluctantly fights their old friends, as well as their previously defeated enemies when they are found by Speedwagon, who explains that only the Saint's Corpse, which he conveniently has a piece of, may defeat the enemy behind all of these strange events occurring. This allows the party to travel across different timelines to pursue the evil presence lurking at every corner of their timeline.

The story is fun and way over the top, but that’s par for the course in an anime that is nonstop action, man drama, and poses. With Araki on board, it’s no wonder why the story feels like a long lost arc of the original work, and maybe it secretly can be?

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Gameplay

While the story shines through and serves as a love letter to hardcore JoJo fans, the actual game proved to be quite frustrating and confusing resulting in a lackluster experience. It’s hard to enjoy the spot on cell-shaded animation style when you can’t seem to control your character the way you want to. The lack of a thorough and proper tutorial can be annoying during the first three battles where the enemies are not holding any punches and waiting for the player to understand the controls.

While there is technically an explanation for the harder combos in the form of walls of text before the first few battles, leaving the player to continually pull up the menu in order to remember what exactly was said at the beginning is not exactly fun. This can be especially frustrating for players who don’t usually engage in fighting games and are thrust into their first match without time to properly figure out the actual controls. Because of this, button mashing or spamming the normal attack button "O" and performing a combo that way becomes the norm and actually works most of the time. In fact, spamming the normal attack button can even be more effective than the specials using "L1".

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The game is intended to be a buddy/tap out type of game where players can activate a duo mode and unlock combos and attacks that result in more damage. Players can choose from a plethora of characters from all parts of the JoJo universe as either their playable character or their support character while using a similar Battle Style system like All Star Battle. Each style has its own strengths and weaknesses with some granting health restoration over time. Characters may also have multiple Battle Styles, making them more versatile. With all the amazing and diverse characters, there should be a character for everyone to play, whether it’s a favorite or a style that just fits.

In addition to the Battle Style system, new moves, as well as bonuses, may be unlocked in the ability tree using Ability Points earned during battles. The better the ability, the more points it costs to purchase. Many of the characters moves are unlocked this way, so players must choose wisely on how they wish to progress their characters.

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Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

While the cast of playable characters is quite large, almost all characters suffer the weakness of moving like molasses which can be aggravating when attempting to fight an enemy that just keeps walking away! By the time an attack arrives to hit an opponent, he’s gone. Charging with the L2 button does little to ease the pain because if the aim is off just by a little, the character will miss the target completely and continue on until he’s finished, leaving the player even further from the enemy. During a few matches, it took a solid minute to finally land a punch after chasing the enemy down time and time again and missing.

As far as mode options go, the game has a really solid Story Mode, a Free Battle Mode, and an online Network Mode. The meat of the game lies in the Story Mode because the game is so narrative driven. The cut scenes are long, which isn’t really surprising considering it’s a JoJo game and in between battles there is something resembling an overworld, though, the scenes change depending on where in time the party is. In these overworlds, players have the option to replay older missions or battles or take on harder ones. Items can also be found along with clicking on other characters to initiate dialogue. There aren’t very many options, but it’s something to break up the battles, giving the players time to recoup.

Free Battle mode is a standard amongst fighting games and allows players to play the matchups however they choose, but there is one significant option missing, which is a two player mode. It’s almost unheard of and shocking that the game doesn’t offer a two player mode outside of online and is a major setback for those wishing to play locally with friends. The only way to play with others is the Network Mode which isn't the greatest at all. Never mind the fact that the other person must also have their own system and PlayStation Plus. Overall, the lack of a local multiplayer feature is a huge deal.

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The game does manage to get customization right, though. Players can unlock outfits, poses, and quotes for their characters by completing certain objectives in battle and create presets to make the character selection process smoother. There are so many ways to set up different characters that players can get lost in dressing them up for hours. Players may also buy all of these extras with the currency they gain through matches. Seriously, more games should really take the time to allow players to choose all aspects of their characters as it gives players a sense of individuality while playing and sets them apart from others.

Honey's Pros:

  • Amazing Artwork
  • Almost Infinite Customization Options
  • Story by Araki

Honey's Cons:

  • Lack of a Thorough Tutorial
  • No Two Player Local
  • Online Not the Greatest

Honey's Final Verdict(Thoughts):

The game has a lot of problems that can be overlooked by hardcore JoJo fans and really, the fans are the only ones who the game was made for anyway so as long as they are happy then the game is a success. The story mode is colorful and full of references and old characters thanks to Araki’s amazing supervision and will entertain anyone who loves the series. The story mode is a decent length and really fun to play multiple times, which is great for the replay value.

If you aren’t a fan, though, a word of caution, you may not understand most of what is going on. The game also may prove to be a bit frustrating as well, but that’s ok because this game wasn’t made for you. This game was made for the love of the fans and it truly shows. The artwork is gorgeous (Just look at the menus!) and single player mode is amazing, but don’t expect to be able to play this game with friends. That would be the only downside to an otherwise amazing tribute to a long standing franchise that is truly something special.

By Nikki Flores

Nikki Flores

Writer

Author: Nikki Flores

You may know me by my witty and excellent prose, but I assure you there is a real person underneath this brilliant exterior. As a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in English Literature and a minor in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, I traveled to Okinawa, Japan in search of the One Piece. Together my crew consisting of a white dog named Yuki, an evil cat named Kyubei, the wise feline Pickles, and my ever supportive husband Aaron, we travel the globe seeking life’s greatest treasures. Oh, and I’m sure one day I’ll eventually meet Trafalgar Law in the New World. I hope. Please? *pout*

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