Two For The Price of One?
When I first unwrapped JoJo's Bizarre Adventure last week, I was a bit bemused as to what the heck it was, or what the hell it consisted of. While testing the game for the first time, I discovered that it actually consisted of not two games, but one! The first game is called "JoJo no Kimyouna Bouken" and its sequel "Miraihe no Isan" (actually "JoJo's Bizarre Adventure" and "Heritage for the Future" in English). The original did see some exposure in the West, in American arcades at least, although I wouldn't blame you for having missed it - I hadn't a bloody clue what it was about either! Ironically, the first, which gives the game its catchy title, is the one which you'll play the least. The moves and characters in Heritage are the same as the original, and so is the Story Mode, so in essence playing the sequel is about all you'll end up doing - the choice is a welcome bonus though.
In order to bring a little variation to the table, Capcom have altered the standard Street Fighter button layout. The top three buttons are light, medium and heavy attacks - which may be punches or kicks, dependant on the character you're using. The other two buttons of the five-button control system handle taunting and "Stand". Pressing the three attack buttons all together lets you dodge the attack and lets you avoid otherwise devastating attacks from your opponent. Timing is key to this, so it's hardly the quick-fix solution to getting your arse kicked. "Stand" isn't what it sounds like. It brings up a spiritual guide to aid you. Upon pressing the "Stand" button, he arrives and mimics you during the battle, allowing you to double the power of your attack. It's a useful and inventive addition to the game. The fighters have a fairly limited arsenal of attacks to choose from, in spite of JoJo's inventive control and attack system. Each character can expect to have about 16 moves, maximum, including supers. Although small, the quantity of moves needn't be a hindrance, as by stringing attacks together into combinations, the tiny amount becomes veritable in combat. The supers and juggle combos make the battles almost as entertaining as the totally over the top battles in Marvel Vs. Capcom. The characters themselves provide half the visual glitz and glam, animated so well not just visually but also characteristically. The wacky carnival freaks perform all sorts of amazing acrobatic attacks and finishing combinations that it's truly a sight to behold! From belly dancers to enchanted dogs, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure isn't short of quirky combatants, making each battle enjoyable. Thanks to the game's eccentricities, each battle can be both action-packed and humorous. The whole game just breeds fun.
Unlike virtually every other beat-em-up in existence, JoJo's two-player mode actually suffers compared to the single player campaign. I enjoyed the CPU battles more than the human ones - my friends simply weren't as talented and inventive as the CPU opponents.
I find it hard to class JoJo's Bizarre Adventure in the same category as the likes of Soul Calibur and Street Fighters Zero 3, but I can't help but enjoy the thing. It's probably going to be a bit of a sleeper hit at the end of the day, with those who don't play it not really caring, but those who do really enjoying it. I'd give it a rental at the very least. If you've got Soul Calibur and are looking for something new, give it a try!
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