J-Stars Victory Vs+: Oh, I've waited so, so long for the release of this delightful game that seemed too good to be true!Is it as awesome as it looks in the trailers and game-play videos? It indeed is and it's currently my favorite video-game, placing Tekken Tag Tournament 2 and Dead or Alive Ultimate on a temporary hiatus.
Firstly, the game opens to a kick-ass opening video that resembles any introduction at the start of a Dragon Ball Z game. I first go through story mode which contains four different arcs with basically the same exact storyline, but with different "main" characters.
Arc 1: Luffy (One Piece), Ace (One Piece) and Seiya (Saint Seiya)
Arc 2: Naruto (Naruto), Yusuke (Yu Yu Hakusho) and Gon (Hunter x Hunter)
Arc 3: Goku (Dragon Ball Z), Toriko (Toriko) and Zebra (Toriko)
Arc 4: Ichigo (Bleach), Hiei (Yu Yu Hakusho) and Oga (Beelzebub)
Throughout each arc, the character roster increases, but certain battles require you to play as a specific character. As for obtaining a character in general (who you won't be able to use in story mode unless you encounter them on the journey) you have to buy them using j-points. The main, playable characters are 2,500 j-points whereas the supporting characters are 2,000. When the game first loads, your given 6 characters right off the bat which includes Gintoki (Gintama) and Goku (Dragon Ball Z). Each character can be equipped with a "deck" which is essentially how you make a character stronger by purchasing character cards from the store with J-Points. Many items are present in the store and j-points can be easily made while completeing all four arcs in story mode. No, seriously; by the time I was done (with just Story Mode alone), I had more than enough money left to spare.
The two other modes available for exploration, excluding online mode, are: Victory Road and Arcade Mode. Victory Road has you battle enemies while having you complete various challenges. Victory Road proved to be quite a trial because I had a tough time focusing on the challenge since I was so consistently gung-ho about just beating my opponent. Some challenges include defeating an opponent with a certain attack or even dodging all your opponents attacks. Arcade Mode varies on difficulty and was perhaps one of the more challenging aspects of the game. J-Stars does allow online game play (with up to four people) and is thankfully a two player game! I loved all modes of the game, but Online Mode was very frustrating and anger inducing. If you don't like getting trolled, stay far away from the online mode. The online realm of J-Stars is filled with players who simply won't let you move and will instead barrage you with their own attacks. Despite the trolls, I was able to find a good chunk of challenging and friendly players who basically loved the same animes/characters that I did!
The characters are, without a doubt, the highlight of the game and each individual will find multiple characters they love to play as.
The character roaster includes:
Gintama: Gintoki & Kagura/Sadaharu (support)
Yu Yu Hakusho: Hiei, Yūsuke, & Younger Toguro
Dragon Ball Z: Vegeta, Goku & Freeza
Hunter x Hunter: Killua, Gon & Hisoka (support)
Bleach: Ichigo, Aizen & Rukia (support)
Naruto Shippuden: Sasuke, Naruto, & Madara
Ruroni Kenshin: Kenshin, Makoto
One Piece: Luffy, Boa, Akainu, & Ace
Toriko: Toriko & Zebra
Kochikame: Kankichi Ryōtsu
Assassination Classroom: Koro-Sensei
Haikyuu!!: Hinata (support)
Sket Dance: Switch, Himeko, & Bossun (all 3 are support)
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Jonathan & Joseph Joestar
Katekyo Hitman Reborn!: Tsunayoshi Sawada (with Reborn)
Beelzebub: Tatsumi Oga (with Beelzebub)
Kuroko's Basketball: Kuroko (support)
D-Gray Man: Allen Walker (support)
Nisekoi: Chitoge Kirisaki (support)
To Love-Ru: Lala (support)
Saint Seiya: Seiya
Fist of the North Star: Kenshiro & Raoh
Medaka Box: Medaka & Misogi (support)
Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo: Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo
Dr. Slump & Arale-chan: Arale Norimaki
Sakigake!! Otoko Juku: Heihachi & Momotaro
Tottemo! Luckyman: Luckyman
Saiki Kusuo no Psi Nan: Kusuo Saikio
Neuro - Supernatural Detective: Neuro (support)
Jigoku Sensei Nube: Meisuke
Pyu to Fuku! Jaguar: Jaguar (support)
Chinyūki -Tarō to Yukaina Nakama-tachi-: Taro Yamada
My favorite characters to play as are: Gintoki (Gintama), Hiei (Yu Yu Hakusho), Killua (Hunter x Hunter), Tsuna (Kateyo Hitman Reborn!) and Saiki (Saiki Kusuo no Psi-nan). I wasn't too crazy about the supporting characters, mainly because I wanted these characters to be main playable ones. But if I had to choose a favorite support, then it has to be the duo of Kagura & Sadaharu (Gintama); upon summoning them, they proceed to trample your enemies for a good minute or so. But beware: your support and even your other teammates attacks can potentially wound you as well.
As much as I love the huge character roster, I can't help but want more or even wish the supporting characters were playable. I'm somewhat desperately (very desperately) hoping for another J-Stars game or at least an add on that contains more characters. If this eventually does happen then...
Here's my playable character wish-list for a future J-Stars game (I'll go by series)
Gintama: Kagura, Hijikata, Sougo, Kamui, Tsukuyo & Takasugi
Black Cat: Train Heartnet, Creed & Jenos
Yu Yu Hakusho: Kurama/Yoko Kurama, Sensui, Genkai, Jin & Raizen
Dragon Ball Z: Trunks, Goten & Gohan
D-Gray Man: Allen Walker, Lavi, Kanda & Tyki
Hunter x Hunter: Kurapika & Hisoka
Bleach: Rukia, Yoruichi, Hitsugaya, Grimmjow & Ulquiorra
Assassination Classroom: Karma
Let's break down the good and the ugly of J-Stars Victory VS+:
+Pros: The characters present in the game certainly has a positive sway over me. What other game gives me the chance to play as Hiei from Yu Yu Hakusho, Gintoki from Gintama and Killua from Hunter x Hunter? I love the fast paced movements along with each characters unique special attacks. I also enjoyed seeing some of my favorite characters interact when they'll never do so in their own individual series.
-Cons: There are several glitches and lags in game play and my biggest compliant about the game is that Story Mode gets old, real quick with each four arcs having the same exact story-line, but with different sets of characters. Story Mode is also extremely long, which could be considered a good thing except in this games case, the story just drags on and on, quickly becoming repetitive snooze-inducing.
The negative aspects of the game didn't bother me too much thus granting this wondrous game an overall score of 9/10, with a must buy recommendation! Seriously, the game is awesome and I can't quite seem to understand the hate it's been receiving. I absolutely love it and hope more games like these are made and released in North America! If it were up to me, then there would be multiple games that feature tons of anime characters (not just from Shonen Jump series). I would list more characters I'd like to see in a video game, but then I'd be ranting for hours!
J-Stars Victory VS+ is available for purchase for the PS3, PS4 & PS Vita. Again, I highly recommend it! For those who are curious, take a look at the game's launch trailer shown below.
If you've already played J-Stars, let me know your thoughts in the comments down below!