I say it a lot, but one of the great things about the Vita to me is the wide selection of games that are now available, many of which originated from Japan. Things like One Piece Unlimited World Red and Persona 4 Golden are not usually my cup of tea, but the convenience of the system and my willingness to embrace new titles means that I’ve enjoyed quite a few things that I would never normally have touched before.
That said, I’m not a lover of fighters and when Bandai Namco invited me up to their Hammersmith office in London towards the end of May to get some hands on with J-Stars Victory Vs +, I was a little wary of what to expect. I knew of the game, of course, and also that many members of TVL’s crew had high expectations for it, I just wasn’t sure how I would feel about it.
For those of you that haven’t been following the title’s progress, J-Stars Victory Vs + is a two on two brawler at heart, which sees over forty characters from many popular Japanese and Manga franchises face off against each other. Eager to learn more, I got stuck straight in with the adventure mode of the game.
Taking control of a ship in the world map you begin with Luffy from One Piece, and are soon thrown into your first battle. When a fight is activated, you will find yourself in a small arena with you and your opponent. The game explained the basics to me, with strong and light attacks, blocking, running and locking on to my adversary explained before I was let loose, throwing all sorts of combos against my poor foe and, after successfully besting him, he then joined my team. Subsequent fights and encounters then became two-on-two affairs with more enemies to defeat. With the additional characters in your corner, successfully building up a power meter will allow you to unleash a devastating “Victory Burst” which usually activates multiple special moves simultaneously. If you have played Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3 or even Unlimited World Red you will have had the experience of having this kind of power at your disposal.
As you progress through the adventure – which has four different worlds to explore – you learn that you are seeking out emblem fragments. Upgrading your ship and filling out your team as you go, this is your ultimate mission and along the way you will encounter, fight and recruit many characters from a variety of different shows. Those I encountered in my short experience were others from One Piece as well as Naruto, Joe Jackson, Lucky Man, Kenshiro, Sasuke, Goku and Vegeta and many more that I’m too unfamiliar with. Outside of the adventure I also got some hands on with another mode called Victory Road, in which you have to complete six areas with increasing missions and all of this will level up your characters and complete various objectives.
I must stress at this point that it was the PS4 version I was playing with as they did not have a playable Vita version for me, but it was stressed that aside from graphical compromises the experience will be the same. The visuals on the PS4 were incredibly impressive on what I was told was near final build. The characters were fantastic, the arenas featured destructible portions of the environment and it felt like I was in a living anime, pounding various different characters as I went, all topped off with the original Japanese Voiceover whilst utilising what I understood to be familiar signature moves.
It all added up to me wanting more, and with the game out at the end of this month, I can’t wait. Its gone from something I wasn’t going to buy to something I need. Check out the latest trailer and see if you will need it too.