I know very little about JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure but have been meaning to watch the anime for a while now, and Eyes of Heaven has helped ease me into its world and encouraged me to finally get to it!
Well, I’ve yet to get to it but I’ve managed to enjoy this game all the same, although I’m sure a big fan would get more out of this than I could at this moment in time. Regardless, I can enjoy the combat, characters and world and follow the story presented as it seems to be non-canonical (I could be entirely wrong, and I apologise if that’s the case), although it does a poor job in introducing the characters – this is a game clearly made with fans in-mind, so I’d advise watching the anime or reading the manga a bit first before jumping into Eyes of Heaven. Eyes of Heaven sees several JoJo characters who’ve been defeated in battle return to life, but as evil incarnations of themselves rather than how their dear friends remember them being – strong warriors who fight for good.
Being a fighting game, you’ll unsurprisingly spend most of your playtime fighting. However, in story mode, there are exploration segments where you can freely speak to other characters and search for items – these make for a nice break but are ultimately shallow and reveal very little about the characters and are simply not long segments. It plays similar to the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm games, also developed by CyberConnect2, in that it’s easily accessible and not quite as combo-heavy. You can mash square for an auto-combo, hold down a shoulder button and press a corresponding face button to perform a special move, and generally this is it. You can of course block, run and perform team attacks, but it’s an incredibly simple fighter that isn’t quite as technical as Naruto has proven to be. It may favour style over substance but JoJo is overflowing with style, and it’s a bombastic, colourful fighter that should more than please fans – the roster is massive!
The biggest issue I had with the gameplay is that, whilst it’s simple, there’s no tutorial and you’re left to work things out on your own and I still have little idea as to what some special moves do. There are informative loading screens but when in battle, you’ll have to experiment – not having a tutorial or practice area in a fighting game is tantamount to being a joke, and I’ve no idea how CyberConnect2 thought this was a good idea no matter how simple their games may be. Other than story mode, there’s free battle and online play to fight to your heart’s content, as well as a shop, gallery and glossary and a place to customise the characters by changing their outfits, poses, quotes, victory and combo animations and your online player card. If you forget what content there is in Eyes of Heaven then don’t worry, it’ll let you know every single time you boot up the game.
The visuals seem to remain faithful to the series with its emphasis on colour, outlandish design and unique art style, and it’s super stylish. There are a lot of 80’s and 90’s influence present and the characters themselves are very muscle-bound and camp, which makes for pretty humourous viewing. Animations are fluid and grand, and the wide range of characters to pick from means that there are a whole lot of options to experiment with and plenty to see – this is usually where I’ll say something like ‘fans will love seeing their favourite moments and attacks come to life in a new way’, but I’m not quite familiar enough to make that statement but from my little knowledge of the series, it does seem that CyberConnect2, like with the Naruto series, has respected and understood the source material.#
There’s no English dub which is fine, but a problem that seems to persist in Japanese fighting games without English audio is an awkward pause where a Japanese character is speaking without subtitles, so there’s a few seconds of not being able to understand anything whilst you wait for it to finish. Other than that, the voice-acting is as over the top and enthusiastic as this game most certainly demands, and the music fits the tone of the game although I never found it to be particularly catchy.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven is a solid fighting game that lacks much in the way of depth, but it’s easily accessible to fans of the series which I praise it for. Stylish, ridiculous and doing its best to stand out in a market where hundreds of anime are produced a year, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is worth experiencing and if you’re a fan then I recommend that you pick this up. If you’re not a fan, then I’d recommend watching the anime first and seeing if you’d like it because how crazy it is might be a turn off for you. If anything, Eyes of Heaven is far, far better than JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle on PS3.