When you look at the two leading consoles in the current market (Playstation 4 and Xbox One), it is clear to see that the individual companies – Microsoft and Sony have taken very different routes. We’ve seen Japanese title after Japanese title launch on Playstation to be met with a lukewarm reception, however, the latest game to come from Final Fantasy VII remake developer CyberConnect2 has failed in my eyes to perform even slightly above average. The latest title to bear the Jojo name fairs and performs worse than it’s predecessor “All Star Battle”.
When looking at CyberConnect2’s other series such as Naruto’s Ultimate Ninja Storm we can see that over time the series has gotten progressively better with each installment, I wish the same could be said for JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven: PlayStation 4 [Reviewed], PlayStation 3
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Release Date: 1 July 2016
Price: £49.99 [Disclosure: Game Copy Provided by Publisher]
With an Anime series known for being so crazy and for lack of a better term “Bizarre!” you would expect the developer to have had a field day constructing and creating a wacky, wonderful Jojo title for die-hard fans of the source material to thoroughly enjoy and soak up but, sadly Eyes of Heaven felt more like a clunky overly cluttered rip off of Bandai Namco’s most recent title, One Piece: Burning Blood, that is not to say that Eyes of Heaven is the worst game ever developed, it does do some things right.
One exciting element that gives Eyes of Heaven a distinct edge over many fighter games in its genre today is the huge roster of characters readily available. With 52 playable characters straight out of the box, it’s utterly ridiculous. If you look at modern fighters around today with the likes of Dead or Alive and Tekken to name a couple, it’s not something we’re seeing a lot of, therefore I was immediately impressed by the wide array of choice. Upon loading up the game I was thrust straight into a battle, due to my install not correctly finishing up. At first, I felt as though I had been simply dumped in at the deep end, with no tutorial to speak of in a game with so many different combinations and button uses available, I felt a tutorial was necessary. That being said, I won the first battle due to the simplicity of some of the moves, which was a big plus.
After my brief introduction, I quickly reset my game in order to start out in story mode. I was greeted with a screen which laid out the games basic and advanced controls for me to better understand. After a short and somewhat stumbling opening cutscene introducing the games characters to the player, the fight begins. I immediately try to use what I had been taught in my previously short time with the controls screen. After successfully winning my first 1 on 1 battle I had half-expected to be rewarded with a short, gloriously animated cutscene before facing another opponent, instead, I was met with a cinematic cutscene that proved to be the start of a rapid decline for the game. Rather than just present the player with a beautifully designed, appealing cinematic I was forced to sit through an awfully animated and wildly uninteresting cutscene between characters that haven’t at all been introduced and simply appear from out of nowhere.
One minute I’d be in Egypt, the next an airport with no explanation as to why. This is where the foundations of the story are being set. Essentially to break it down as best I can. There is an antagonist who, I believe to be another version of DIO that can be stopped by gathering all pieces of the ‘Saint’s Corpse’, which the characters must travel across time in order to achieve, thus meeting characters that are both dead and even unborn at the time. To anyone trying to understand that it may seem like a bad fanfic. And that’s exactly how it felt. The story of Eyes of Heaven felt more akin to a bad fanfic, purely written to make characters that have never met in the anime series finally cross paths and meet. Moving onto the gameplay itself, Eyes of Heaven’s story mode pits you against various characters in a repetitive slog fest during which the AI will just repeat the same combat moves over and over while your partner merely runs around like a headless chicken. Not to mention that the majority of your characters moves are locked behind an upgrade tree which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever and isn’t explained either.
Eyes of Heaven suffers a lot in terms of its gameplay. You are essentially given a move list made up of the base buttons, using Square, X, Triangle, Circle, R2 and L2 to perform moves in combat while holding down L1 at any time you use one of the previously mentioned buttons to unleash a powered attack or special move on your opponent. If done correctly this would have done wonders for the game, giving it free flowing combat with a variety of options, however, much like everything else in this game the combat also falls short. With combos breaking off for no apparent reason, unable to cancel moves or even throw, the game slowly begins to feel sluggish with the outcome of various moves feeling mostly uncontrollable.
Once the double combo meter fills up players can hit the touchpad and a timer will activate, if you do enough damage whilst the timer is active you will follow it up with a combo move where the characters in your team interact and so on. Again, that would be great if it wasn’t for the fact it consisted of cutscenes that looked completely different from the actual game, tossing your enemy so far away that it is just worthless. Eyes of Heaven consists of three modes – Story, Free Battle (Essentially an Arcade mode) and Network (The Online Multiplayer), which takes a long time to find a game, only to be met with poor connections and continuously spammed moves. Whilst this game may or may not have done well in Japan it certainly has not done well with Western audiences.
At one point the game introduces a weird “mini stage” in which players run around an enclosed area catching varying items while interacting with characters briefly. I genuinely do not know why they exist other than to try to pander to die-hard fans of the show. Eyes of Heaven feels like a rip off of One Piece: Burning Blood because it truly is. Whilst Burning Blood has smooth flowing combat with great moments, Eyes of Heaven is just clunky, repetitive and boring for the most part. The voice acting with the EU version keeps the Japanese voiceovers throughout each battle, paving the way for a more authentic feel. Sadly despite its very few highlights, Eyes of Heaven is a real bomb in my eyes from a studio currently developing a Final Fantasy VII remake.
While JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven is somewhat faithful to the source material while boasting an impressive number of characters within its roster sadly the few positives aren’t enough to cancel out the many negatives. The choppy story, lack of variety in gameplay, over complicated unlock/upgrade system and animations don’t do the game justice. With so many major negatives little could’ve saved this game. I don’t believe Eyes of Heaven is the end of the Jojo series, but we’re still looking for a definitive Jojo title.