Over the past few years, we've seen a number of anime-fighting compilations come out in Japan, including Jump Super Stars for the Nintendo DS and its Jump Ultimate Stars follow-up. Unfortunately, these games never saw a release in the United States.
This summer, Bandai Namco will change that by bringing J-Stars Victory Vs+ to the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PS Vita. The game will feature 30 anime series, with different characters taken from each, as a 45th anniversary tribute to the popular Shonen Jump comics.
Rather than fighting from a side-view Super Smash Bros. perspective, J-Stars Victory Vs+ will instead be a full-on 3D brawl, where characters hunt each other down in a huge arena, targeting opponents with special attacks and teaming up for super techniques. The first team to defeat their opponents a certain number of times wins the round, allowing them to move on to the next battle.
As far as characters go, Victory Vs+ will include over 50 to choose from. Popular favorites like Naruto, Sasuke and Madara from the Naruto franchise; Son Goku, Vegeta and Frieza from Dragon Ball; and Monkey D. Luffy and secondary characters from One Piece will be included. However, the emphasis isn't entirely on action-oriented heroes, as oddball types, like Toriko and Zebra from the Toriko series and Meisuke Nueno from Hell Teacher Nube will also make the cut.
Players will have the option to choose their main characters as well as their allies, enemies and background settings (which vary from various series in the Shonen Jump brand), and can then enjoy some combat, battling opponents in winner-take-all scenarios. The fighting action moves swiftly, similar in tone to Platinum Games' Anarchy Reigns, where you hone in on certain foes and take them out with weak, strong and special attacks.
Once you gain enough energy in a match, you can combine your forces with others and deliver a super attack, capable of quickly depleting an opponent's energy unless they get out of harm's way in the right amount of time.
In addition, each character has defensive techniques. They can use a dash to get out of the way or keep running (or riding a vehicle, depending on the character) if they need to recover some energy before getting back into the fight.
On top of that, secondary characters can be used a few times during a round. By pressing the left shoulder button on your controller, you can summon them to attack whoever you're locked on to. These include characters from other Shonen Jump series, such as Rukia Kuchiki from Bleach, Tetsuya Kuroko from Kuroko's Basketball and several others.
The U.S. version of Victory Vs+ (the original came out in Japan last year) will feature a number of improvements, including balancing so no character has an advantage over another (Son Goku will be able to keep up with Monkey, and vice versa). It will also include a quick Arcade Mode in case players want to skip the story mode and get right into the fighting action. Finally, fans can enjoy U.S. and Japanese voiceovers.
Bandai Namco was a bit vague when it came to confirming all of Victory Vs+'s multiplayer options, but up to four people should be able to join the battle when the final game releases (at least on PlayStation 4 – PS3 and Vita are still unconfirmed at this point). The game will also feature a split-screen fighting option, for those who prefer to work together.
While all the details and characters have yet to be revealed, J-Stars Victory Vs+ has a lot of promise when it comes to delivering anime-style fighting action. The roster is enormous and the game looks to have a great pick-up-and-play vibe that will please both rookies and veteran brawlers. We'll see how this fight pans out when the J-Stars battle this summer.