JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a global phenomenon. Anime enthusiasts across the globe know it, manga fans call it a must, and the series has become one of the biggest gateways into anime & manga for casual viewers. This wasn’t always the case, though.
Back in 2013 JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure was still a niche manga outside of Japan and just another seasonal anime broadcast – but this was also the year that a big-budget fighting game based on the series launched on PS3. It eventually whispered it’s way overseas with a digital-only release to the delight of dozens. We’re in a new era of JoJo fandom, though, and the global pre-release hype for JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R isn’t just a reflection of the current status of the series – it’s warranted excitement for an overhauled and deeply expanded fighting game experience.
The original game was fun, but it wasn’t without flaw. A locked 30FPS experience meant it consistently felt slow & sluggish compared to its 60FPS peers. Single-player content was fueled by a bizarre mobile-style energy-spending gacha system. Perhaps most frustratingly, though, was the lack of gameplay variety – once you picked a top-tier character, you only ever needed the same one combo to win every battle. Thankfully, all three major pain points of the original experience are solved in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R.
The game runs at a smooth and solid 60FPS this time around – and it has entirely redone and updated visuals, to boot. Character models have been upgraded and retextured, but certain characters got an even wilder upgrade. If you’ve seen the anime, you know that a lot of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure seasons had 3DCG opening animations. Characters that were in those animations are now using the highly detailed 3D models from the anime in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R.
Story and single-player content, meanwhile, has been stripped of its energy mechanics and turned into a much more curated experience. You’ll dive into sets of dream-matchups where you’ll recreate iconic battles or have fights between characters who could never meet in the original series – with these battles steadily unlocking new costumes and colors for you to bust out in battle.
The biggest changes, though, come in the form of gameplay updates. The huge one is that JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R now has assist characters – you won’t be having 2 on 2 fights, but the character you select pre-battle as your assist partner can be summoned during the fight to either dish out a support attack alongside your own or save you from death if you get trapped in a lengthy combo, burst-style.
Even without overhauled command lists or extra attacks, the mere presence of assist attacks adds so much new depth to gameplay. Precisely timing a Dio time freeze punch to complement my lengthy combo or create a confusing mixup is super satisfying, and the burst style defensive assists are a great tool in heated matchups. There’s likely some power-scaling differences among the assist attacks, as different characters can be used a different amount of times per round – Jotaro can be used as an assist 3 times, while Dio can only be used twice.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle was a great fighter full of fan-pleasing easter eggs when it first hit PS3, but simple gameplay and a barebones global release prevented it from picking up steam. With JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R, Bandai Namco isn’t just giving casual gamers and JoJo fans an easier way to experience this anime fighter, it’s adding new mechanics that turn it into a game that could become a competitive mainstay in the fighting game community for years to come.