JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure HD Version Xbox 360 Review

I am all behind old games being updated for current systems, especially fighting games. I never got to play JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure back when the game released on the PS1 and Dreamcast, so this is the perfect time for me to test it out. That said, it seems this HD release has not been given the same amount of love that Street Fighter III: Third Strike: Online Edition or the upcoming Marvel vs. Capcom Origins received, and that really is a shame, because JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a rather unique fighting game.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure‘s origins come from the Japanese manga with the same name. It follows the story of a teenager named Jotaro Kujo, who develops a supernatural ability known as “Stand.” After learning about the inheritance of the stand within his family’s bloodline, Jotaro goes off to fight the ancestral enemy of his relatives, a vampire named Dio Brando. During the adventure he meets up with other people who also have the power of Stand – some friendly, some not so much, but overall, they are all a very bizarre cast of characters.

The controls are based around four buttons, with light, medium and heavy as your basic way of attacking. It is a control scheme similar to Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. The fourth button, Stand, plays an important role in the fighting mechanics of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure HD. Every character can activate it, which brings out some sort of spirit/monster that fights along with the combatant. Typically, it is best to always have the stand out, as it allows the option to perform better combos and more damaging hyper combos – metre is built up just the same as Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, except you can stock ten bars rather than five. Stands are acceptable to damage, so if they are hurt too much they will break and be disabled for around five seconds, handicapping your fighter severely. Persona 4: Arena has mechanics similar to this, and it is the only game I can think of that is somewhat close to how JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure HD plays.

There is a feeling I cannot shake that Capcom wanted to rush JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure HD out of the door after the announcement was made that Namco Bandai are bringing a new instalment next year. The whole package feels uninspiring when it comes to features. Where are the tutorials and trials to help newcomers? This feels like it was made for fans, but I am sure that plenty of people who missed it back in the day would like to learn JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure – like me. Again, the Internet comes to the rescue as fans of the game have websites that will teach you about advanced techniques and huge combos.

What does come in the package is the game’s story mode. This shortly explains a character’s involvement in the plot through text-based cutscenes. Progression is the standard, where you move from one opponent to the next after each scene. Away from that, you are left with Challenge mode, a place where you have to survive as long as possible on one health bar. A win gives you the opportunity to restore a small portion of health or add additional metre to the super bar. Training mode is also featured, and includes dummy options and the ability to record moves to practice against, something you see quite often in Capcom’s fighters.

Online play is the biggest feature added to this HD release. It comes with both Ranked matches, where you earn points to show how well you play, and Player matches, standard fights with no rankings involved. The online worked OK, but I often found it took a while to find a game. It seems there aren’t many people playing this title online. I have a feeling this is due to the ridiculous pricing of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure HD. 1,600 Microsoft Points (MSP) is a shocking price for a title that is not a fully-featured HD port like some games in the past, such as the 1,200-MSP Street Fighter III: Third Strike: Online Edition, which came bundled with tutorials, character trials, new songs and bonus artwork. I have no idea what the reasoning is behind such a pricing structure, but it has shot itself in the foot, because you can find better fighters for cheaper on the marketplace and in retail stores.

That said, there is no denying that JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure HD is a truly unique fighter, and while it might not be the best investment to play online, it will certainly be handy for when you fancy playing with a few friends around at your house. While I do not like the way that Capcom has handled this HD port, this doesn’t stop me from seeing how creative this fighting game was thirteen years ago. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure HD is peculiar, but tremendous amounts of fun. A stand-out fighter that holds up well, but ported without much love from its developers.

7 out of 10