“Players will be able to totally dive into JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure offbeat universe thanks to this ultra-stylish, two-versus-two, 3D action-brawler game featuring the most famous characters from each arc of the incredibly influential JoJo’s Bizarre Adventureanime and manga series. Players can now select their team of combatants from over 50 different characters, each with unique signature attacks that fans of the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure series know and love. Through different game modes, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven allow players to live a stunning fighting experience both offline and online with a 4 players mode that enables two teams to battle each other in online matches where communication and teamwork will be key factors to achieve victory. ”
I think given that a lot of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven’s appeal is based entirely around its source material, I should be honest and admit that I have absolutely no experience with the anime or the manga. My interest in the game was based purely on the fact that the game looked both incredibly pretty and like chaotic fun. It may seem a little obvious to state, but fans of the source material are going to enjoy JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven a lot more than those who’ve never encountered it. Still, it doesn’t stop the game offering a fairly enjoyable experience, even if it is a little rough around the edges.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven is a two on two fighter that has you working with an AI partner as you take on a plethora of characters from the JoJo franchise in hectic and chaotic battles.
The most obvious thing you’ll notice about JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven is that it looks so damn pretty. It’ll come as no surprise to learn that it was developed by CyberConnect2 (of Naruto Ultimate Storm fame), especially since it’s managed to capture the manga/anime aesthetic so perfectly. I even checked YouTube to see how well the in-game characters have been replicated, and I can certainly vouch for the game when it comes to authentically re-creating the zany characters and outrageous environments.
It really looks great, though there are a few instances during cutscenes where the animations are a little jerky with characters walking in a restrictive dummy-like way. Thankfully, it’s never noticeable in the heat of combat – everything flows together perfectly in a concoction of colour and outright chaos. It looks great in-game, but feels pretty authentic too.
The main mode to work through in the game is the ‘Story Mode’, sending you on a lengthy campaign through various chapters as you encounter an impressive amount of characters from the JoJo universe. It was neat to actually learn something about each of the characters and their relationships with each other, though I’m sure I would’ve enjoyed it more if I’d actually been invested in the franchise. It’s not that there’s nothing to enjoy because it provides a decent story with a well written script – it was just that I felt I was outside of the loop. Still, I’m sure JoJo fans will definitely love it, and it actually made me want to watch some of the anime. Time to download Crunchyroll, I think…
Fighting itself is a fairly simple, with basic combos pulled off by button-mashing. You can pull off stronger attacks too with a simple button combo, with a clear list of attacks displayed down the side of the screen with the required buttons displayed alongside them. It’s actually quite handy to see in-game, though moves are so simple to pull off that you’ll never find yourself as stumped for combos as you would in the likes of other fighters such as Tekken or Street Fighter. You’ll be able to work with your partner to pull off special team combos too, whilst each character has their own unique special move. They’re visually impressive and pack a punch, so it’s always worth trying out the game’s more special abilities.
Whilst the combat is competent, it isn’t always thrilling given that there are so many breaks in the action when a stunned character hits the ground. You’ll be just getting into the swing of things and unloading a ton of neat attacks, only to stop completely when you’re waiting for an opponent to rise up from the ground. Alternatively, you could start attacking your other foe seeing as the game is two on two, though it isn’t always an option given that battle arenas are large and your foe may be on the other side of the map to you.
It also felt like each combat encounter’s victor would be determined by whoever hits first. Once you start unloading attacks, it’s hard for an opponent (or the player) to get out of a flurry of hits. Whilst it is possible to block, it feels more like you’re simply waiting for the aforementioned fall in combat. If you don’t bother with a strong attack, you can actually lock an enemy into a constant array of button mashed combos without breaking away. It’s a shame that battles can be broken down into simple button-mashing shootouts, especially since the game has the potential to offer some tactical thinking.
Given the fairly large arenas you fight in, you’ll also be taking part in a lot of running and jumping along with the fighting. Whilst it all generally works well, it can feel a little awkward when you’re trying to lock on a specific enemy. Jumps could feel a little restrictive too, especially when trying to work across the multi-tiered levels. It’s never constrains you too much though, so it won’t ruin your experience with the game.
Whilst combat itself can be limited to button-mashing, there is at least a fantastic variety of fighters to choose from. Seriously, the roster is huge with all the fan favourites appearing… ok, so that might be a guess, but there are so many characters to choose from that your favourite just has to be there. Whilst my lack of experience with the franchise didn’t leave me looking for any particular character, the bizarre designs each of them had were certainly appealing. You can even battle as a dog named Iggy – that’s right, battle as a DOG.
With such a large roster, there are obvious characters that are more powerful than others. Whilst there were no real balancing issues with the game thanks to the spamming nature of combat, some character’s special moves were certainly more impressive than others. Still, the outrageous looks characters have are too good to miss out on, so you might find yourself constantly switching who you play as regardless of how strong they might be.
One baffling flaw with JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven is the lack of local multiplayer. Whilst I can kind of understand it a little thanks to the dependence on camera control, the nature of the ‘two versus two’ gameplay would’ve worked really well with a group of friends. It’s certainly unusual for a fighter to lack local multiplayer too – it’s a real shame.
There is an online component that lets up to four players battle it out though and there’s plenty of enjoyment to be had facing off against players around the world. Be warned though; some online players are incredible at the game, so get ready to suffer a lot of losses.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven certainly provides some enjoyable fighting, though there’s nothing on offer that’ll keep you entertained for the long term. Sure, the story mode is great, but outside of that you just have repetitive button-mashing combat and a severe lack of local multiplayer.
Still, there’s certainly some fun to be had with the game and fans of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure are going to love it. Gamers looking for an in-depth fighting experience might be better off looking elsewhere though.