While at the Tokyo Game Show, I checked out a trio of fighters based on anime games, including Kill la Kill: IF, My Hero: One’s Justice and Jump Force.
Anime has long been fertile fodder for fighting games. The colourful and interesting characters plus the combative nature of shonen anime and manga make an ideal launching point.
Kill la Kill: IF is the latest from Arc System Works, the fighting game developer most recently responsible for Dragon Ball FighterZ. It’s an arena-based fighter with plenty of ranged and close-quarters combat. Right off the bat, I was unleashing a flurry of attacks, punctuated with quick cutscenes.
There is a paper-rock-scissors system to mix up the gameplay. However, I felt as though it got in the way, throwing off the pacing. If there’s a draw, you have to play another round of paper-rock-scissors. During my demo, I came to draw with the Arc System Works staffer several times in a row, which took me out of the game.
The Kill la Kill adaptation seems approachable, which should please anime fans. Not sure if graphically the game is quite there yet, but there’s still time for polishing.
It did make me think about My Hero: One’s Justice, another arena fighter I checked out in Tokyo. Based on My Hero Academia, it’s a serviceable arena fighter, which My Hero fans should like. It might be a harder sell to non-fans.
My Hero: One’s Justice did lack the bravado of Kill la Kill: IF, which I chalk up to the general showmanship of Arc System Works. However, it’s far more polished, which is understandable because the Japanese version is already out and the international one will be released next month.
This spring and on into next year are looking to be big for anime fighting games. The aforementioned Kill la Kill: IF will be out as will Jump Force, an all-star arena fighter featuring characters from the Weekly Shonen Jump manga.
So far, it has characters from One Piece, Dragon Ball, Naruto, Bleach, Hunter x Hunter, Yu Yu Hakusho and Yu-Gi-Oh! Jump Force is a grand, epic concept. For the most part, I enjoyed what I played.
However, because the character designs are so strong and the touch of each artist is so noticeable, sometimes the character clash visually in a way that I haven’t seem in other ambitious crossovers.
Fans probably won’t care, but it didn’t seem to know if it was going for gritty realism or accurate anime and manga recreation. But why quibble about that when it has Goku fighting Yugi from Yu-Gi-Oh!?