E3 Hands-on – Jump Force
Jump Force. One of the biggest surprises at Microsoft’s E3 conference, even though the game is clearly not an exclusive. Nobody was expecting to watch a trailer for J-Stars Victory Vs‘ successor at that conference and that made lots of fans and journalists cheer in joy. I was one of them and was excited to test it at Bandai Namco’s booth a few days later, but I left the session slightly disappointed with what I saw.
Jump Force‘s gameplay was an updated and more complex version of what we saw in J-Stars a few years ago. That means the game is a team-based 3D fighter that gives you free movement around the arena, all while trying to lock the camera onto your enemy and use a wide array of buttons to unleash a nonsensical barrage of attacks until he/she/it stops moving. J-Stars didn’t have many moves or combos and the action wasn’t exactly fast-paced, even though the gameplay was pretty nimble. Jump Force takes the action to a whole new level, but the results weren’t exactly positive, at least with this demo.
The problems started with the framerate: it felt clear that Jump Force is still far from release (or at least I hope so) since its framerate is far from being optimized. Given the focus on realistic visuals (a weird thing for an anime game), the graphics take a bigger toll on the framerate. A fast-paced game on a bad framerate results on a subpar experience. The game also features a staggering amount of motion blur. Combine the framerate with the motion blur, plus the fact your anime characters move around the stage so quickly you can’t even figure out where they are onscreen and you get a confusing experience as a result. I could barely understand what was going on and that’s most certainly not a good thing.
The demo didn’t have many characters to choose from. The roster was limited to Dragon Ball Z, One Piece, and Naruto characters. Since J-Stars had more than 50 characters from dozens of different manga franchises, I really hope they don’t reduce the roster size this time around. If they remove Kenshin and Fist of the North Star‘s Kenshiro, this man will riot.
The E3 demo of Jump Force felt like a game in its early stages of development. I really hope that’s the case, because the gameplay needs a lot of tinkering. The framerate needs to be improved, the graphics need to be less dark, and the nonsensical amount of motion blur needs to go away! Jump Force has potential, just like its predecessor, but it needs to improve in its gameplay department. As of now, I’d rather stick to J-Stars‘ simplistic, but less cluttered gameplay.