One of the more visually striking games that has been shown off during E3 2018 is Jump Force, which aims to mash our real world with the manga worlds its characters are based on. If you saw the reveal trailer, then you understand that this game is on animated steroids, and that it aims to give manga fans one helluva over-the-top fighting game experience.
While at a Microsoft event I went hands on with Jump Force to see how it played, and I can tell you that it plays unlike any fighting game I’ve ever played before. This is mostly due to how the level is handled that you fight on. Rather than being a 2D plane like the recent Mortal Kombats or Injustice games, Jump Force offers a 3D plane, but one unlike other 3D fighters such as a Soul Caliber. The camera is handled in a way to provide more of a cinematic feel to the fight, as well as channeling the hyper-fueled visuals and animations typically featured in a manga franchise. It felt as if some of my attacks were launching the enemy miles into the level in all directions (think Superman punching Zod in mid-air in Man of Steel). The visual presentation just feels very unique for a fighting game, so you pretty much have to experience it for yourself to truly understand what I most likely failed to properly explain.
Due to the dynamic camera and the depth of each level you can fight on, combat itself again, becomes very cinematic in nature. My match didn’t just feel like two teams of three characters were just lining up and pounding on each other until one team was defeated. Matches feel more like a third-person action game brawl than a traditional fighter, which was refreshing for someone who has never experienced a fighter like Jump Force. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing either, but it didn’t matter, because my random button presses still resulted in some mind blowing animations and attacks that made the experience feel much deeper and engaging than a pure fighter.
I eventually started to work out some of the combos, tags, air rushes, and other modern tropes for fighting games, which all felt smooth and satisfying once I figured out a few tricks. The gameplay definitely feels pretty tight and precise at this point in the game’s development, and with the backdrop of the manga all-stars present in the game, I have no doubt that both fighting game fans and manga fans will enjoy what it has to offer.
I will say though that the visuals to me were the most impressive aspect of my demo. Not just the clarity and vibrancy of the color palette, but the whole package. This game aims to blend the real world with the manga worlds the characters come from, and you can really feel that aesthetic in the levels and visual design. Plus, like I mentioned before, the way the animations are handled, as well as the camera moves, just makes each match feel like a mini-manga movie featuring an epic battle between some of the genres most iconic characters. That to me is what makes Jump Force and its brand of fighting game combat stand out. It will also support graphical enhancements on the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro, so it should look phenomenal on all platforms when it releases.
Now I just need to brush up on my manga to get a better appreciation for the featured fighters, because for the first time, I’m intrigued by the likes of Naruto, Goku, and the gang. I’d say that’s a solid indicator for Jump Force being a fighting game worth watching.
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