Jujutsu Kaisen Cursed Clash Review: A Gojo In Goku’s Clothing

Jujutsu Kaisen Cursed Clash Review: A Gojo In Goku’s Clothing

I hoped that Jutusu Kaisen Cursed Clash would be a better game than it is.

I hoped that, with so many brilliant anime fighting games releasing recently, Jujutsu Kaisen Cursed Clash would be added to that prestigious camp. That it might sit alongside titles like Dragon Ball FighterZ and Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4. My hope for this game was that, even if the fighting itself was simple, the game itself might offer a more fleshed-out experience beyond 2-v-2 arena battles. And while not all hope was lost, I’m still pretty disappointed.

An anime slideshow

Jujutsu Kaisen: Cursed Clash is a 2-v-2 arena-style anime fighting game reminiscent of the Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi series. The game covers the first season of the anime and has 15 playable characters (for now). If you’ve already seen the anime, this is your chance to essentially rewatch it, either subbed or dubbed. It moves through the show’s story pretty quickly, only stopping to get you reach various, familiar battles.

The unfortunate part is that the story is told through a slideshow. This slideshow is comprised of stills from the anime with a bit of voiceover to provide context to each battle.

If you haven’t seen the anime, you’re likely to come out of this experience confused. The game rushes you through the story and assumes already you know what’s going on. Cursed Clash was definitely made with Jujutsu Kaisen fans in mind, and there’s no focus on character development, which, I would argue, is the beating heart of this series.

So, yes, it was a little disappointing to be deprived of MAPPA’s great animation and Gege’s storytelling. But I decided that was something I could live with… that is until I actually got to the fighting.

Not my Gojo Satoru

jujutsu kaisen cursed clash
Image: Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.

When it comes to gameplay, Jujutsu Kaisen: Cursed Clash uses the same formula as other Bandai Namco anime fighting games. That is, it’s built on relatively shallow gameplay that’s carried by the player’s love of a franchise.

The fighting itself is typical for this kind of game. Yes, there are combos, but it’s usually a combination of one or two buttons. Nothing as elaborate or technical as other fighting games. Personally, I’m a big fan of this because I don’t play many fighters, so, on one hand, the low bar to entry was a pleasant surprise. On the other, the game felt like a reskin of Dragon Ball Xenoverse.

A Gojo in Goku’s clothing, if you will.

This could be fine in theory. Xenoverse was a great game, but it was released almost 10 years ago. At this point, I want more. I want the 2024 version of ‘anime fighting game x’.

But to top it all off, the gameplay felt clunky and unbalanced. Some ultimate attacks just didn’t register my inputs, while character models had a tendency to float around stiffly after you’d defeated them. While it was amusing, it’s definitely not the sign of a polished game.

In addition, ranged and heavy characters were a pain to play against. They have a real advantage thanks to the game’s stagger mechanic, which quickly became a source of frustration. Approaching a ranged character as a melee type — the only option you have — results in immediate punishment. You’ll lose an unfair amount of health, even if you’re dodging and blocking at the same time. And while this is definitely an issue when you’re playing against the AI, it’s even more of an issue in PvP matches. Or it would be, if you could find one.

The servers are pretty quiet, so it can take a while to get into a match. There’s also no guarantee you’ll be paired with (or against) a teammate that’s in your skill bracket. You can’t even guarantee that if you DO manage to find a match, that they’ll stay connected for the entire match.

Let the collect-a-thon commence

jujutsu kaisen cursed clash
Image: Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.

I need to be honest here though. After I finished playing through the story, I spent more time in the in-game shop and cosmetics menus than playing the actual game itself. This is where Jujutsu Kaisen: Cursed Clash will really get you, if you’re a die-hard fan. I am that fan, so I loved being able to collect character poses, outfits, voice lines and art. Especially because it made all the hot characters even hotter.

Look me in the eyes right now and tell me Nanami Kento isn’t a fine piece of ass. Or Geto, or Sukuna, or Gojo.

Also, my brain loves the satisfaction of filling out a collection of items in video games, of which there were plenty to collect in Jujutsu Kaisen: Cursed Clash.

In the end, it a bit of fun, but not much. It was a game I could turn on after work and play when I wasn’t in the mood to really do anything besides mash buttons. It didn’t really have any lasting impact on me, but it was inoffensive and a good time sink for a little while. As long as you know what you’re getting into, maybe that’s enough.

Review conducted on PlayStation 5 with a pre-release code provided by the publisher.

Image: Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc., Kotaku Australia

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