JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven is a 3D action brawler that will confuse you in a number of ways that I will list as you read on.
It is also an anime and a manga, and is quite a big hit in Japan, being released there last year, although it has only just made its way over to the UK shores. It was developed by CyberConnect2, a Japanese company responsible for most of the Naruto games, as well as one of my personal favourite games on the PS2: Hack. If you can read Japanese and want to find out more about them, check out their website.
The game offers a range of different options: story mode, free battle, online, customize, gallery, shop and glossary. I quite liked that it has a glossary, but found myself not caring enough about it to read anything there. Sorry, I know this settles the tone for this review early, but I find myself in deep frustration whilst writing. My first impression was that this game annoyed me from the first second to the last second of playing it. Read on to find out why.
Sadly, the sound starts off poorly… well for me anyway. Whilst you are reading the introduction, you find yourself listening to an incredibly repetitive and sharp Jazz song. In my rush to stop my ears being destroyed, I quickly clicked options and, damn, I regretted that. The noise was sharp and bitter. Once you are in a battle and have paused the game, the music moved away from jazz to heavy rock. This was better, but still didn’t quite feel right and I found myself often playing with the sound off. To make matters worse, when you’ve finished your battle, it returned back to an annoying jazz tune. Overall, the music makes you uncomfortable, and not in the way Inside did. Jorato’s voice is frustrating, resulting in you wanting him to speak a little quicker. This may be how he speaks on the anime show, and that would annoy me if that is the case. Of course, this game is a Japanese release and therefore you will find it is subtitled. I have no issues with that, but I found nearly every voice character annoying.
From the off, the graphics have a great anime-style to them. Even on the first screen where you flick through the different modes, you can tell they have quality. The mixture of movement and stillness works well with the two main characters resembling Street Fighters of the past. Even though you are (or I am) annoyed by the music playing too loudly and scrolling sound, you enjoy what you see. The artwork in the story mode is also good and transforms smoothly into the actual gameplay. They have a particular anime style to them which also shows certain uses of cel-shading. It’s an interesting mix and I it works quite well. However, and I must say sadly, the more you play the game the more frailties you find.
There are certain parts where I would be looking for improvements. I would have liked it if the character’s movement was more noticeable through looking at their skin and clothes. I know this is a small thing, but I find when it is incorporated in fighting games, it’s much more enjoyable. Also, when you are within the story modes, there are parts of the game which look shocking. For example, early on you burn a book – it holds the screen for a long time and looks like something you would expect from a PS1 game (not the only PS1 reference I will make). I actually found the background graphics reminded me very much of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan – which wasn’t a good thing. They weren’t bad, but they seemed to be missing something that made them really good.
As for the gameplay, what happened to the good old days where all you had was high kick, low kick, high punch and low punch? Yes this, game is a little confusing and is loaded with different types of moves you can do. This consists of Flash Bursts, Flash Cancels, Skills, Style actions, Homing dashes as well as loads more. I ended up not reading half of what they said and deciding to learn for myself. Annoyingly, instead of letting you try out the moves in a training mode, you need to use them straight in a fight. Then came my first surprise – this wasn’t a normal type of fighting game. You are in a 3D environment and can jump and run in all different directions. It reminded me of when I used to play Fighting Force on the PS1 and, to be honest, I kind’ve wished I was. I gave this game a number of hours and at no point did I feel I really understood a number of things. Firstly, I had no idea what was going on. Secondly, how could I even properly tell what my health – or my parents health – was doing… I couldn’t. The game is also a little darker than I expected it to be, which meant you couldn’t really build a proper affiliation with any of the characters.
Even though the different characters seemed like they would be pretty cool, the annoying gameplay meant that I could never really be bothered to keep on playing as them. I hated that you couldn’t set the story to ‘automatic skip’ and this found me less inspired to read the story and more likely to just keep clicking on. I must add that some of the characters were a little too eccentric for my liking, and I put up with Bedman in Guilty Gear.
It should be added, for those who end up enjoying this game, you will get to play as 55 different characters. This was something I was impressed by. To improve your characters, you unlocked abilities and, for what is essentially a beat-em-up, this was far too confusing. At the start of the games, some of the characters are horrendous fighters because they don’t have any good abilities. I liked how they tried to have two-vs-two battles spanning over a larger arena, but once again, it confused me too much. Am I easily confused or have they just tried too much in this game? The online mode worked fine, but if you found yourself hating the game as much as I did, then you really didn’t care for it. The honest truth is, when a game doesn’t grab you at all, then no matter how smoothly some parts run, you just won’t care.
In a way you could say that the online mode is a successful part of the game. It runs smoothly, you have a large selection of characters to choose from and it rewards you with in-game currency. However, I still had my issue: Since I didn’t like the game, then no matter how good the online mode is, it rather becomes surplus to requirements. Oh, and it uses the same voices and frustrating sounds – that’s its reason for demise, in my view. For me, it doesn’t offer anything new to the game, but I’m sure it is lots of fun if you do like this game.
I was also very frustrated that when clicking on different options, a loud character would start rambling on about the importance of different things in an extremely loud Japanese voice. He never seemed to stop, either – just kept going on and on all the time like a broken record. In addition, this game has quite annoyingly long loading times which aren’t worth the wait.
I am sure some who have watched the anime and love the show will completely disagree with me. Maybe in years to come people will talk about this game being a new era and an inspiration but for me it just seemed like a poor version of Fighting Force.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven is out now on PS4, and click on the packshot for the full-size version.
Thanks to those Youtube channels featured for the gaming footage.
- Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
- Players: single player, 2-v-2-player co-op
I have been a video game player since 1993 and a music fan since I can remember. I studied Film and Journalism at university and ended up becoming a Primary School teacher. Video games changed my life and sent me on the right track and have stayed with me ever since.