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JoJo's Bizarre Adventure HD Ver.

Platform(s): PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Genre: Fighting
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Release Date: Aug. 22, 2012 (US), Aug. 21, 2012 (EU)


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XBLA Review - 'JoJo's Bizarre Adventure HD Ver.'

by Adam Pavlacka on Dec. 27, 2012 @ 3:00 a.m. PST

A fighting game based on the Japanese manga series and previously released arcade games, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure HD Ver. features stunning HD visuals and unique, original gameplay mechanics.

Discounting updated revisions, Capcom's short lived CPS-III arcade system only had three games produced for it. The first, Red Earth, has never seen a home release. The second, Street Fighter III, appeared on multiple home consoles, most recently in an HD version of Third Strike on both PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. The final CPS-III game, Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, originally made it home on the PSone and Dreamcast. Given the HD success of Third Strike, bringing Jojo into the HD generation sounded like a no-brainer. Unfortunately, this port is as bare-bones as they come.

Based on the third part of the Japanese manga of the same name, the arcade game tells the classic story of good versus evil. This time around, an evil vampire lord is trying to eliminate the hero's family because they possess the power of the "Stand." Mastering the Stand allows a fighter to call forth a supernatural companion to fight by his side. While the game doesn't go into a whole lot of story details (it was originally an arcade game), the inclusion of the Stand mechanic does make for some creative combat opportunities.

At first blush, Jojo's Bizarre Adventure feels like a step back from previous Capcom fighting games. There are only three basic attack buttons (light, medium, strong) and the Stand toggle. Super move combinations are shared across most fighters, so you can get started knowing a handful of relatively easy-to-input joystick movements. Where Jojo starts to stand out is when you play around with the different characters.

Even though they share similar inputs, how each character in the game executes those moves can be completely different. This opens up a good deal of complexity because identical input does not equal identical output. Now, layer on the Stand element, and things can get even more intricate.

Playing as a sort of proxy character, the Stand has its own life bar and can attack and defend. Making smart use of the Stand can deflect a good deal of incoming damage, though you don't want to let it get wiped out. A defeated Stand will regenerate, but temporarily losing it leaves you vulnerable to devastating Super Combo attack by your opponent.

A handful of characters don't have active Stands; instead, they use what players refer to as passive Stands. These have no life bar but can still be used to damage opponents. For example, Mahrahia places a magnetic block on the field that causes damage when an opponent walks (or falls) into it.

Taking the Stand concept one step further, skilled players can use a special move to buffer a series of commands into their Stand and then have it execute. Think of it as pre-programming a series of moves. It is one of the more difficult skills to master, especially if you're playing on a standard gamepad as opposed to a traditional arcade stick, but it can be exceptionally powerful.

All in all, Jojo offers up an enjoyable diversion for the fighting game aficionado, but as a package, the HD remake is pretty lackluster, especially when you consider the premium price Capcom is asking for the package.

What you get for your 1,600 MSP ($20 USD) is more or less a straight port of the most recent arcade release. There is a single visual filter and the ability to tone down the violence, but that's it in terms of graphic options. Gameplay-wise, there is the arcade story mode, a quick challenge mode and a training option. It's not what most would expect from a premium-priced downloadable re-release, and it pales compared to the feature-packed Street Fighter III re-release that sells for five dollars less. Capcom didn't even include the "Super Story Mode" from the original PSone version of Jojo.

Online multiplayer is supported, but the online community for Jojo is bereft of competitors. This is the downside to being a niche title. Jojo's fans can be quite vocal, but compared to other Capcom fighters, the overall audience simply isn't that large.

At half the asking price, Jojo's Bizarre Adventure would be a worthwhile impulse purchase, as the game itself still offers some intriguing gameplay. But a bare-bones release with a premium cost is difficult to justify for all but the most ardent of fans. You're better off buying a used Dreamcast or PSone copy and firing up the old console for a trip down memory lane.

Score: 6.0/10

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