Jump Force – Deluxe Edition review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Bandai Namco
Medium: Digital/Disc/Cartridge
Players: 1-6
Online: No

Given that my approach to fighting games tends towards the style of mindless button mashing, you?d think that Jump Force would be right up my alley. After all, it?s a brawler/fighting game that doesn?t rely on skill to the same extent that most other fighting games do: you run around a medium-sized arena punching and kicking your enemies, and you unleash special attacks without having to memorize any complicated combos. Add in some fairly flashy visuals, and you could see why someone like me might find it appealing.

There are two problems with that, though. First, the flashy visuals aren?t a constant throughout the game. For every moment that looks amazing, you?ll find just as many scenes that look absolutely awful. In fact, they often sit side by side, at least playing Jump Force in handheld mode. I lost track of the number of times the game would zoom in on a character?s face and it would look fantastic, with all kinds of detail, only for it to go back to a wider shot that looked like it belonged to a blurry mid-range PSP game.

And that?s just in cutscenes. During in-game action, the best that can be said about Jump Force is that it?s functional. When you use one of your special attacks, it cuts to a very short animation, but beyond that, when your characters are running around the arena, it?s just plain rough-looking.

That?s not Jump Force?s biggest issue. No, that would be that the game isn?t very fun. It kind of reminds me of the non-Warriors One Piece games, like Burning Blood or Unlimited World Red, in that the action is fun for a couple of fights — those special attacks look awfully cool at first, after all — but they lose their lustre when you realize that?s all there is to the game. Sure, you can worry a little about upgrades, but for the most part, you?re just picking mission after mission of the same thing, with the only real difference being in who you pick as your teammates.

That part, I guess, is the real appeal of Jump Force. If you?re a fan of Japanese animation, this is like an all-star game, with characters from One Piece, Dragon Ball Z, Bleach, Naruto, Yu-Gi-Oh, and a whole bunch of other series. If you?ve ever wondered who would win in a fight between Luffy and Goku, this game will satisfy that itch…but if you?re someone for whom the first half of this sentence is meaningless gibberish, then there?s really nothing here that you?ll find appealing.

And honestly, despite the number of Japanese games I play (which is entirely due to my Vita addiction, rather than because of some fondness for anime), I can?t say that I fall into that camp. Which means that all that?s left in Jump Force is an ugly-looking game with extremely repetitive action — and honestly, why waste time or money on that?

Bandai Namco provided us with a Jump Force – Deluxe Edition Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C-