HomeReviews3.5/5 ReviewJoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R Review

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R Review


I have to admit that I wasn’t fully aware of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure before playing All-Star Battle R, but I do know that it’s a hugely popular manga in Japan, running for a good few decades after first being released in 1987. Written by Hirohiko Araki, the series is known for its charismatic heroes, striking art style and unforgettable catch phrases. However, in a bold new move it has all been adapted into a fighting game with JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R. Is the world ready for a Bizarre Adventure?

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First off and whilst there may well be a story floating around in All-Star Battle R somewhere, not being a native Japanese speaker, all I can make out is that there are a group of fifty combatants and they all want to have a fight. And to be perfectly honest, who needs to know more than that? Choose a fighter, and if there is someone in front of you, it seems unlikely that they are friendly, so you’ll want to destroy them.

Visually, and what with the source material having such a strong identity, you’d expect it to all be well captured here, what I can say is that the graphics are super stylish indeed. Every character drips personality, and they all have a great deal to say before each bout, so you kind of feel like you get to know them. The graphics are anime standard, whilst the animation and completely over the top attacks look absolutely fantastic in motion. There is a smoothness to the action that is immediately comparable to Street Fighter when it is at its best, and the sound is all perfect as well. The Japanese voice overs as a bout starts and finishes, along with the music and crunching sound effects all draw you in to keep you hooked. Whether you know about the JoJo’s world or not, it’s pretty safe to say that after playing All-Star Battle R, you’ll want to find out more. 

But how does the game play out? Well, in regards the single player, there is no shortage of things to do, and the modes are well thought out. That said, the wheels fall off a bit in online multiplayer. 

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Sticking to the offline world to begin with and you’ll find that there are a number of modes to play, the main one being the All-Star Battle mode. It’s here where there are a number of screens to choose from, each with a series of scenarios on them, and as you pick fights and clear them a final boss battle of the panel becomes available. I assume that the battles that you engage in, seeing as you are not being able to choose your character, are all in some way meaningful to fans of the series, and every battle has a series of modifiers to make your life easier, or more usually, harder. Things like the refilling of an opponent’s health, or the reduction of your defence are all common.

If you can win, you can unlock cosmetic items and new entries into the Gallery. There are also secret missions to achieve, and you’ll find out what they are when you accidentally fulfil the criteria. There are around nine different panels, all with multiple battles to tackle part in, and so this mode alone will take some time to clear. 

Continuing on the solo theme and there is an arcade mode, where you fight various bad guys one after the other, a practice mode which will let you tweak your combos and try to make sense of the often bonkers fighting style and finally the Gallery mode, where you can go to look at renders of characters and other concept drawings that are unlocked in the All-Star Battle mode. There is a lot of content here if you don’t have any friends, and so you’ll not be short of things to achieve. 

However, the multiplayer is a mixed bag. Playing locally against a friend sat on the couch, is brilliant. It’s fast, fluid and completely over the top. There’s nothing quite so satisfying as catching a friend with a HHA super special attack and watching their health bar vanish, before they are thrown from a balcony, for instance. Local fighting is just as good as fighting against the CPU. 

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It’s in the online multiplayer scene where JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R isn’t quite so rosy, however. The netcode here isn’t up to the job, frankly, and the delay between you doing something and your character reacting can be painfully long. With a game as fast paced as this, it feels all kinds of wrong, and unless your opponent lives in the next street, you are going to have issues. It’s a shame because hitting multiplayer after spending time working out what is needed in practice mode makes it all feel like a bit of a waste of time, as it won’t work. While there is no shortage of people waiting to have a fight, the way that the game runs online means it is very hard work indeed. 

For the most part, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R is a triumph, even more so if you stay away from the online scene. Single player and local multiplayer are both great, capable of delivering some seriously bizarre fighting, but the online multiplayer needs some serious attention before it will be a contender. When  you consider that there are games from the launch of the Xbox One, like Killer Instinct, that do a better job of running netcode, you know there is something amiss. 

If you like JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, All-Star Battle R is probably an easy sell, as it is if you are predominantly a solo player. But if you want to test your might against the world, there are significant issues. 

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R is on the Xbox Store

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