[dropcap size=small]J-[/dropcap]Stars Victory VS is one of those great games that was exclusive to Japan with no signs of a release to North America, until now.
Fans of brawlers and anime alike are in for one heck of a treat with J-Stars, a mini sandbox fighting game that crosses worlds with many hit anime franchises such as One Piece, YuYu Hakusho, Naruto, Rurouni Kenshin, and Dragon Ball Z, to name a few.
We use the term “mini sandbox” to illustrate that this is not a side-scrolling brawler like Smash Bros or MK, but instead is an open battle arena with fully destructible environments and back drops. Chasing your opponent and using your surroundings to defeat enemies is key to being victorious, and who you choose is up to you, as most of the franchises within J-Stars offer multiple characters to play as such as Goku, Vegeta, and Frieza from Dragon Ball Z or Yusuke Urameshi, Hiei, and Toguro from YuYu Hakusho.
The story of the game takes place within the “Jump World”, a combined universe that brings together the other various anime universes. In the beginning, each character is prepping for the J Battle Festival, a tournament that is seen once every 45 years, in which heroes brawl for pride and to boast of who among them is the strongest.
Four different chapters in the game offer a unique focus on different characters within the Jump World. Putting together a team to compete, the Motion Chapter focuses on Luffy, Ace, and Seiya; the Hope Chapter on Naruto, Yusuke, and Gon; the Research Chapter on Toriko, Zebra, and Goku; and the Pursuit Chapter on Ichigo, Oga, and Hiei.
The game allows up to four players to battle against each other, using a visual style that closely resembles the original Dragon Ball Z Budokai (3D models as opposed to cel-shaded models). The landscape is imperative to study and explore if the player is to come out triumphant against the unique skills of their opponents during battle.
The battle maps of the game will be familiar to most from each franchise, like the Dark Tournament Arena from Yu Yu Hakusho, or planet Namek from Dragon Ball Z.
There are four different attack types; Regular, Area-Based, Power, and Finisher with the added bonus of mid-game transformations like Super Saiyan for Goku and Vegeta or S-Class Demon Form for Yusuke.
During some gameplay, we witnessed Goku using a Spirit Bomb and a Kamehameha Wave, in addition to Vegeta using his signature Big Bang Attack, though it was unclear to us which category these attack types fall under. Range of attacks also plays a heavy factor in determining the victor.
Your fantasy battles come true! Though having a Super Saiyan God on your side does seem a little one-sided.
Multiple game modes will be available as well, including the single player story mode “J-Adventure”. In this mode, the game divides into four campaigns where players will explore and battle random opponents while collecting stat power-ups in the form of in-game cards. Then there is the “Victory Road” battle mode, where players must complete objectives and challenges during battles. The “Free-Battle” mode is likely where most players will spend their time going head-to-head against friends with their favorite characters.
Two-payer local offline play will be available as well, and four-player via online.
J-Stars Victory VS features a whopping 32 franchises with 52 playable characters not limited to but including Ichigo Kurosaki and Sōsuke Aizen from Bleach, Goku, Vegeta, and Frieza from Dragon Ball Z, Kenshiro and Raoh from Fist of the North Star, Gon Freecss and Killua Zoldyck from Hunter x Hunter, Naruto Uzumaki, Sasuke Uchiha, and Madara Uchiha from Naruto, Monkey D. Luffy, Portgas D. Ace, Boa Hancock, Akainu from One Piece, Himura Kenshin and Shishio Makoto from Rurouni Kenshin, and Yusuke Urameshi, Hiei, and Younger Toguro from YuYu Hakusho. The full roster can be found here.
J-Stars Victory VS Trailer
Currently, the game is out in Japan (released march 19, 2014) for various Sony platforms, but will be available this summer for the PS3, PS4 and Vita devices. Do not be surprised if the roster expands well beyond the current list with DLC surely to follow.