J-Stars Victory Vs. Hands-On: Not Quite There Yet

By Kris . September 23, 2013 . 1:34pm

As I started playing J-Stars Victory Vs. as Monkey D. Luffy (on a team with Son Goku), I was immediately reminded of Anarchy Reigns. It’s an arena brawler set in an abandoned city, light and strong attacks are mapped to square and triangle, and with the first couple of hits I landed on the CPU-controlled Ichigo Kurosaki, I thought it might just work the same way.


I locked on by tapping L1, held R2 to dash towards Ichigo, and laid into him with a stretchy dashing punch. I followed it up with a couple of light strikes, and used a heavy attack to knock him into the air. My Anarchy Reigns instincts kicked in, and I jumped up to start an air combo, only to have my attack completely miss Ichigo’s airborne body.


“Okay,” I thought to myself, “I probably can’t pick him up off the ground with an attack, but let me try to ready a special attack for when he does stand up.” So I press forward and circle, Luffy reaches his arms back for a Gomu Gomu no Bazooka, and Ichigo stands up just as Luffy launches his hands forward: I expect a direct hit.


However, J-Stars Victory Vs. is very generous with invulnerability after you’ve been knocked down. So much so that Ichigo had enough time to stand up, completely ignore my attack that sent two arms through his face, and  ready a special attack that covered the screen in purple slashes and sent me flying through the building behind me before he’d even stopped blinking.


At first I thought that this was a fluke, but every time I’d knocked someone down, they had an extended period of invincibility, so instead of trying to stay on the aggressive, it was smarter to stay back and wait for the several seconds it takes for them to lose their invincibility. If the game used a traditional health bar system, I would be more empathetic to that. They probably don’t want some players completely dominating others in a game that targets such a broad audience in Japan.


However, as we’ve discussed before, victory doesn’t come from knocking out your opponent, but rather filling the win gauge by beating them up… which already takes a long time. Being knocked out leads to a brief wait on the ground and more invincibility time, so the amount of invulnerability upon getting off the ground normally seemed excessive, and discouraged more aggressive play.


It’s weird, because things like the partner mechanic (where you can press L2 to call in a third, support character to jump in and keep attacking your opponent to extend a combo) would seem to reward aggression.


Aside from just filling the win gauge, the more you beat up your enemies, the more the gauge in the middle of the screen filled. When it was at maximum, the game prompts you to hit R3 to throw your team into a super attack mode. In that mode, you can hit R3 again to use an area-clearing special attack. Luffy turned his hands giant and black and laid waste the surrounding area from above (in a cutscene, not in gameplay proper) and Goku (naturally) tossed a Spirit Bomb, shortly afterwards turning Super Saiyan (in a different cutscene). It seemed as though you could use these attacks as much as you wanted before your gauge drained, and using them ultimately won me the match.


Food for thought:

There were only six playable characters in the TGS demo: Luffy (from One Piece), Goku (from Dragon Ball), Naruto from his series, Ichigo (from Bleach), Toriko from his own sow, and Gin (from Gin Tama). I did see Himura Kenshin, Gon (from Hunter X Hunter), Yusuke Urameshi (from Yu Yu Hakusho), and Kankichi Ryotsu (from Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kōen Mae Hashutsujo) in the advertising at the booth though.

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  • almostautumn

    Odd design choice, that invulnerability; seems like something they could manage better/fix by utilizing a community Beta structure.

    As for it being akin to Anarchy Reigns— well, I sort-of really liked Anarchy Reigns so that’s good news to me :)

  • Arcana Wiz

    yeah, it’ really sounds strange, let’s hope this was only a early version…. and that the roster have more characters.

    • Bobby Jennings

      The roster is way bigger. They plan to have 30+ characters.

      • Will John


  • TheMightyKamina

    If the invulnerability is that bad,they need to tone it down,especially to attack enemies airbone

  • Noor Mahmoud

    Yeah, I noticed the invincibility frames while watching the tgs videos. I’m not expecting a super-balanced competitive title, but the extra-long frames do seem like they can reduce the fun factor.

  • ronin4life

    It is obvious they are replicating real anime: Have you ever seen characters mercilessly destroy one another? No: They always wait for their opponent to get up, the dust to settle, and then they make some off handed quips.

    That is TOTALLY what they are going for here…^___^

    • Göran Isacson

      … ha ha that is the best explanation I’ve heard so far. It may not make for a GOOD game, but it sure makes for a faithful adaptation!

    • Asura

      I’ve seen characters mercilessly destroy one another.

    • Sergio Briceño

      Hopefully the “rivals” aren’t as merciful then.

    • jordanbobordan

      When yusuke releases the spirit cuffs, he completely decimates toguro without giving him a second to respond to a single blow.

    • RitterKarll17

      What about DIO? Is he an exception?

  • HerosLight

    After seeing offscreen gameplay videos many many times, I’m worried that this game won’t be as good as I thought it would be in the final release. I don’t like the way you have to win here, should have just kept health bars.

    BUT, I am still interested what characters they will keep adding. Might have to read some reviews when the game releases too.

  • Captain Sumoka

    Maybe they will have an option to turn off invulnerability. .

    • subsamuel01

      The invulnerability seems to be my only problem with the game. Everything else looks amazing.

    • British_Otaku

      To “lower invulnerability”, without it on the ground and some of it when you get up you will get infinitely combo’d from the get go by any capable player.

      It would be a pretty rare feature if you ask me, online will almost certainty drop that option and Smash Bros and Halo are two of the few game series which let you experiment with game rules like that to the point where you can create stages and games of sorts or mess around with gravity and other properties to a grand extent.

  • ssj3gokou24

    Just like battle stadium d.o.n., when you went into burst, so could whore out special attacks. That, was NOT a good thing. Hopefully, this game will be far superior.

  • niko

    We all want this to be Ultimate Stars, and it’s moving as far away from that as possible. I think studios over think games sometime. I REALLY want this to be a game i’d like, but outside of having a very cool roster, it doesn’t sound fun.

  • Rayshawn Davis

    Not bad hands on, although for anyone else interested in knowing a bit more:

    -Light Attacks
    -Heavy Attacks
    -You can call in your support character for attacks
    -Cross Break (A new recent gameplay mechanic confirmed through the jump scans released over the weekend. In which you and your partner combos your target, and crush them with a combined finish of your specials. However, the characters need to have some sort of friendship relation with one another, like Naruto and Toriko are friends and can use a combine finish of Rasengan and Knife in Cross Break.)

    (In-game Specials, like Rasengan or Kamehameha, or transformations)
    -Circle: Special Movie 1
    -Up, Circle: Special Move 2
    -Jump, Circle: Special Move 3

    Once the middle gauge is filled during your fight, your team can enter Victory Burst, which as stated within this article, allows you to use your Finisher.

    However, even if the gauge is not drained, depending on the character, the player will not be able to use their finisher as much as its being suggested here. No matter what. As certain finishers carry great risk towards the player as a trade off for their tremendous power.

    Ichigo’s finisher within this game is Mugetsu, and after using his finisher, Ichigo wavers, collapses, and is automatically K.Oed. Giving the other team, a KO gauge point. So yeah, you might wanna think twice before getting too finisher happy lol.

    And on another note, finishers are half real time and half cutscene. The user witnesses their finisher in a full blown cutscene.

    Players out of the attacker’s reach will witness the cinematic start-up and the near ultimate finish depending on the character. Goku, Luffy, and Gintama’s finisher have this type of structure.

    If it’s Ichigo however, then you witness the cinematic start-up of Mugetsu, but everything after that is real time. So run like hell if you’re within the area!
    Maps! Well, they are very large and huge! And best of all, they are highly interactive and destructible. You can climb up building walls, battle and jump across rooftops. Or if you want, you could send your opponent flying through a building, or destroy one with your own power. It’s very satisfying, witnessing the aftermath of your own abilities and strength during a fight.

    The invulnerability doesn’t seem all that bad, you can still attack a down player before it sets in. I’ve seen multiple videos presenting this. But as to why the invulnerability lasts so long is probably because the game isn’t supporting Anarchy Reign aggressiveness. But an enjoyable entertaining brawler experience in which players can have a chaotic time while having a fair breather chance at fighting back should they be ganged up on.

    Because when its down to 2 on 1, your on the receiving end of a horrible beating with barely any moment to get up or breath. You’ll probably have a different tune lol.

    They could trim it down a bit though.

    Last but not least, I’m still looking forward to this awesome game! Although they might need to work on the camera control a bit IMO. It’s not horrible or bad, but it needs a little work.

    • British_Otaku

      That’s a lot of information… Cheers.

      I like the sound of punishing you for using Mugetsu, I think this is the only game to do that but then this is the second game released after that fight featured in the manga/anime methinks.

      I have had double takes at the maps thinking that the game could be 2D, must be 3D, must have more interesting maps than Storm and then “WHAT THE HELL, THE MAPS ARE BIG LIKE TENKAICHI BIG!?”… Good to hear that we get a lot of freedom but they will have to work on camera control and making no characters can sit in hard places to get to and snipe till the bar is filled.

    • Lifestreamer

      I saw some technical features in this game like sidesteps, fall cancel/aerial recovery and guard break attacks from gameplays and official site, this game is VERY promissing.

      But this invulnerability thing needs work: even when a player gets hit and use an aerial recovery this blinking comes up, IMO useless in these cases, if you choose to use a fall cancel is to resume the fight right away, if you want to take a breath fall down and start over with invulnerability, also they need cut it’s duration by 1/2 at least, there’s also the camera deal, buy like you typed, it’s not that bad.

      Also, Ichigo really needs to die? They would reduce him to 1 hp like JUS did with Vegeta’s final explosion.

      One last question, where you saw more gameplay videos? At Nico videos?

      • Rayshawn Davis

        Well Mugetsu’s risk trades off in that it is most likely one of the most powerful finishers within the game. And like other finishers with destructive power like Spirit Bomb or Kurama Mode Naruto’s Tailed Beast Bomb, they can cover a lot of ground and do a widespread of destruction.

        And while trying to keep it more faithful with the content of the attack, while connecting a gameplay element with the attack.

        It makes Mugetsu somewhat of a meaningful sacrifice kind of finisher. Sacrifice your own life, to take the lives of your opponents, and hopefully assure your team victory in the end.

        Saiyan Island and J-Stars Victory VS facebook(A fan version) has been posting up TONS of gameplay videos. Same with the gamefaq board of the game.

        And just for anyone else’s curiosity, here’s the brand new TGS Trailer, showing off all of the announced characters and rivals, as well as their finishers.


  • dahuuuundge

    I was hoping for more game modes. Jump Ultimate Star lets you win by collecting coins, amount of kills, and health remaining.

    • HerosLight

      I actually hope they add other modes.

      Specifically Kill count or Survival modes

  • Alestaos

    Dont understand japanese at all but this is one game ill be importing in hopes to show the west that sitting round a campfire singing and tribal dancing whislt allowing eachother to use eachs franchises in certain circumstances like this one is for the greater profit i mean good. And if that fails theres alwaya daycare <_<

  • Am I the only one who thinks the graphics for this are very, very terrible?

    • British_Otaku

      As a general rule, questions that start with “Am I the only one who” usually should assumed to be answered with a no.

      You should flesh out your post and explain what looks wrong with the graphics of the game or what the game should look like, or you can probably expect to get only dislikes for a comment like this and no discussion.

      People who are excited to see _____ in a game, a fighting game and fighting guys who get tons of games like Luffy, Goku and Naruto aren’t going to care much for comments like “The graphics are terrible”. >_>

      Me? I think the visuals are alright. I know Ninja Storm is silky smooth and hear that CC2 should make ____ far too often given how weak the combat system is in their line up in general. This is good enough, even if I like stronger celshaded visuals more for works like this.

      • I dunno. The character models just look oddly out of proportion and weakly detailed, like this game is 5 years old or something. Obviously graphics aren’t everything, but they are something.

    • Kaitsu

      It just reminds me of a more detailed DON Battle Stadium. I don’t see it being bad, just different.

  • Dark Zerato

    I wonder why siliconera usually write Gin Tama instead of Gintama ?

    • Minos

      Gin Tama is the oficial name, most people call it Gintama though.

  • Kevin Schwarz

    Okay seriously, they better add Medaka, and Kumagawa, given the game mechanics, they are perfect for a shounen game such as this one.

  • Needs more Bo-BoBo, Don Patch, Yoh, Tsuna and Taikoubou!

  • leingod

    The invincibility bit and specially the parallel with Anarchy Reigns… sound like bad news. But I won’t judge until I try it out.

  • Learii

    I hope this not all about triggers buttons

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