JoJo's Bizarre Adventure HD Version
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Platform: PlayStation 3
North American Release Date: August 22, 2012
European Release Date: August 22, 2012
Trophies: 1 | 4 | 7
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure HD Version is one of Capcom's most unique fighting games, and also one of their more unknown titles. Featuring 22 unique stories to play through, along with new leaderboards and online play, this game will have plenty of replay value for fighting game fans. Despite all that, is it worth the high price of $20 for just a supposed "HD" re-release of a game originally released 15 years ago?
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is a traditional fighting game with a twist: it introduces a mechanic that was competely new for a fighting game at the time, called the Stand System. Stands are unique in that you can summon one whenever you'd like (as long as your Stand Gauge isn't completely empty ), with the press of a button. Each character's Stand is a manifestation of their own energy, giving every Stand a unique power. These powers aren't the only purpose of the Stands, however, as they will also change your moveset, changing the way you play a character. Some characters can't have a Stand activated, instead they will have a passive one active at all times. These characters don't even have a Stand Gauge, so a Stand Crash is impossible. Stand Crashes, by the way, are what happens when you take enough damage with a Stand activated that the Stand Gauge bar falls down to zero. Overall, the Stands (all but one character has one), add a lot of depth to the game, as you'll need to learn what each character's Stand does.
As said earlier, Stands give every character their own unique abilities (aside from one clone), which range from punching really fast, controlling sand or ice, and even turning your opponent into a child for a short time. With such a wide variety of characters and Stands, you can say goodbye to any semblance of balance you'd think would be in the game. Some characters are simply better than others, as you will quickly learn through playing the game. You'd think that with such an old game, Capcom would fix this issue, but it's sadly apparent that they've made no effort to.
Being a traditional fighter, the fights take place on a two-dimensional plane, with just you and your enemy duking it out until a victor is declared. During these fights, you won't just have your Stand, as the game includes a Super Combo Gauge, letting you unleash a special move if you have the gauge filled up enough, provided you can memorize the command.
The controls are what you'd expect from a normal fighting game, with the Square, Triangle, and Circle buttons used for regular attacks, but instead of another regular attack, the Cross button activates your Stand. Meanwhile, L1 activates your taunt, and R1 uses all regular attack buttons at once. The controls are solid, and seem to have no input lag at all, so I honestly can't complain about anything here.
Meet DIO, the asshole vampire responsible for every event in the game.
For singleplayer, you have a few options: Story, Challenge, and Training. Let's start with the story. The story in this game isn't how many people (especially ones hoping to feel nostalgic!) would expect it to be. That is because this is, in fact, not the PS1 version of the game, rather it's a port of the arcade version. The stories are simplistic, with a loose plot only managing to move forward fight-by-fight, like you'd expect from a standard arcade game. Pre-fight dialogue is minimal, and after only a couple of fights the story ends. Don't expect that to be all, though, as the main characters come with a mini-game that you can play midway through their stories! It might not be very good, but it's optional, thankfully. My only complaint about the Story Mode is the fact that the difficulty is quite high, even on the lowest difficulty. This isn't something you're going to breeze through before you even learn how to play the game, and even after you learn the basics, it's still tough.
Outside of Story mode you have both Challenge and Training modes. In Challenge Mode you'll have to last as long as you can with only one bar of health, with your health only restoring after the end of each round based on how well you did. The difficulty is still high no matter what you do, and it seems only a masochist would enjoy this mode. Challenge Mode is nothing that hasn't been done before, so let's move onto the last mode: Training. Wow, what fighting game DOESN'T have a Training Mode? You can do what you normally do in a Training Mode, and practice moves to your heart's content. Can there honestly be anything wrong with a Training Mode?
Perhaps I should mention that he's a time-stopping asshole vampire.
The Multiplayer menu includes two modes with gameplay: Versus and Network. Versus lets you go against AI or a second local player, so you'll spend a lot of time doing this mode if you can find someone who's willing to actually play this with you, or if you just like playing against AI by yourself. You can't go wrong with this mode, and it's where the majority of the game time is spent.
Network lets you play with people from
all over the worldJapan. The very few people who still play this mode are very skilled, as are most people who play fighting games online semi-religiously. The Network Mode has a few features you'd find in other fighting games: Ranked Matches, Player Matches, and Lobbies! Ranked lets you play against people who take the game too seriously, Player lets you play against people who play the game slightly less seriously, and the Lobby function is a ghost town. The online experience wasn't so bad when it was active the first few weeks of release, but it doesn't hold up as well now, mainly because of the extremely dead community.
This is probably the greatest and most disappointing part of the game. I'll start with the disappointing part. First of all, the game isn't even in HD! They slapped a filter onto a port of the arcade version and decided to call it JoJo's Bizarre Adventure HD Version. The graphics themselves aren't bad - they're even great for a 15 year old arcade game - but this was a lazy effort, even for Capcom.
The greatest part is the soundtrack, with most of the music being incredibly catchy. One of the most notable songs is Kakyoin's Theme, which seems to suit the game at all times, no matter what. The only bad song I could recall was the one they added in just for this release, that being the Main Menu theme. It's just not on the same level of quality as the others. The sound effects are okay, with all of your typical punches and gunshots here, up to the sound of sand rushing on the ground. It's worth mentioning that the technical aspect isn't that bad, but it's not particularly great, either.
The trophies in this game aren't too hard, but they're made a lot easier by having two controllers. If you have two controllers, then only two trophies should give you any trouble: one is a trophy for winning the mini-game perfectly, which is incredibly hard and requires you to memorize the level until you can rush through it, and that could take a long time; the other is for winning a Ranked Match online, which could be very difficult with only a few people still playing the game. Most of the rest can be done in about 22 two-player games, and the gold trophy requires you to beat a story mode without using a single continue. This is a decent list, aside from one stupidly hard trophy, and I honestly didn't expect a bunch of trophies from a PSN release.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure HD Version is a decent game, and it's still a classic, but the $20 price tag and flagrant misuse of the term 'HD' make this a title I could only recommend for fighting game fans in search of something new, or diehard fans of JoJo.
The Stand system makes the game unique, and being very fast-paced makes every fight interesting, but don't believe for a second that there's any balance. Definitely one of the most fun out of all the fighting games I've played.
Singleplayer is lacking, and you'd have to really enjoy fighting games a lot to play through every single story, not to mention the Challenge Mode.
The meat and potatoes of the game; this is where you'll spend most of your time, whether it be online (doubtful) or local multiplayer.
Fantastic visuals that hold up well even today. The music manages to be very catchy, going along well with the graphics to create a wonderful combination. The only major flaw, however, is the HD filter placed in a so-called 'HD Version'.