In the early days of the Internet, we spent unhealthy amounts of time digging into anything manga and anime related online. We even studied Japanese to be able to read all the many wonderful adventures, particularly the ones found in Shonen Jump.
Now Jump Force is finally here, and it's difficult to grasp that it's really happening. Because even if most of the characters included are only known to those who really love manga, it can be compared to a game containing He-man, Transformers, Spider-Man, G.I. Joe, Batman, Spawn, Ninja Turtles, Robotech and Predator. And many more. It's simply a game that shouldn't exist, but somehow magically got pushed through endless of lawyers and negotiations - and now offers what's possibly the most colourful ensemble in a fighting game ever.
And thanks to that we can now deliver Naruto's devastating Rasengan right between the eyes of Monkey D. Luffy, make raging air-juggles as Himura Kenshin and send Son Goku flying with a yummy Detroit Smash delivered by Izuku "Deku" Midoriya himself. The level of fan service here is utterly ridiculous, and since the fighters don't really belong together, Bandai Namco has given the game a curious unique design to get all the characters to fit into the same game and universe.
Thus, the characters look semi-realistic, even though they are still manga fighters and it gives the game a very striking appearance that we really enjoyed. And the design matters. In fact, the first thing you do in the game is create your own fighter. You choose between various typical manga hairstyles, add things like colour to the eyes and any scars/tattoos, as well as cosmetic details like dots on the forehead or dashes on the cheeks that make the character look like it's been taken from any popular manga. You even adjust your character's attacks and abilities as you level up.
As in all fighting games, and especially Japanese ones, there is, of course, a story. Explaining why all these characters that do not belong together now have to fight with, and against, each other requires a good deal of imagination. The basic premise here is that the comic worlds have started to merge with our own and Dragon Ball villain Frieza seems to be the reason. The solution is to start the elite squad Jump Force to free Earth from the manga invasion, and you'll have to play the key role in this yourself.
For the most part, you will run around in a pretty big hub world (which unfortunately also works as very slow and tedious menus) and perform tasks, equip your unlocked abilities and buy new stuff. For us, the fighting genre is rarely something we want to play on our own because, in the end, it is always about playing X number of matches against computer-controlled opponents with little variation. The problem is that fighting games are all about that human component and tension. Those seconds when you just look at your opponent and try to figure out what the rascal is going to do next, that's the main reason we love these type of games. And none of this translates well against computer-controlled opponents where the notion of "mind games" is completely lost.