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E3 2018: Jump Force Hands-on Preview – Epic Mashups Await (PS4)

Weekly Shōnen Jump is a very long-running weekly manga magazine. In fact, it’s quickly coming up on its 50th anniversary. As a part of that celebration, Spike Chunsoft is developing Jump Force, with Bandai Namco publishing. This game promises to be a gigantic mashup of many mainstay series, including but not limited to Dragon Ball, Naruto, One Piece, and many more. We managed to play an early version of the 2019 title, and have our impressions ready for you down below.

Plenty of Dev Time Left

It should be noted that this was a very early demo. As such, there were only six characters available to try out: Naruto and Sasuke (Naruto), Goku and Frieza (Dragon Ball), and Luffy and Zoro (One Piece). Matches consisted of two teams of three duking it out, and, at least in this demo, teams could consist of any combination of characters.

It felt strange to have a team with Naruto, Goku, and Frieza, but it was fun to come up with ridiculous combinations. Combat-wise, combos weren’t really explained, and there were only two levels to choose from. The Unreal Engine 4 powered the experience, and it was already running smoothly on whatever hardware was underneath the demo station. This tried-and-tested game engine can get a lot of grunt work out of the way, so that developers can work on bringing their creations to life.

An Interesting Setting

The setting of Jump Force is actually that of real-life Earth. As such, all characters take on a more realistic look, since part of the story sees the worlds of Shonen Jump colliding with our own. It’s an art style that hasn’t really been done before for many of the featured manga, which may feel disorienting at first for hardcore fans. However, the feeling may subside more quickly upon seeing the game in action.

Once things get going, exaggerated animations abound. Visual effects enhance the experience, and turn the surreal settings of a damaged New York City and the remote Matterhorn mountainside into something of an anime sequence. Whether it’s One Piece’s Luffy performing some Gum-inspired move, or Goku going Super Saiyan, it seems everything readers love (or hate) about each character will be rendered faithfully, if this very early demo is anything to go by.

At this early stage in development, Jump Force is not much more than a tech demo. But it has certainly made waves bringing together all sorts of popular manga characters under one over-the-top fighting game. No doubt fans will anxiously await the release of Jump Force sometime next year. Rest assured we’ll stay on top of any news regarding this title as it develops.

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