JoJo's Bizarre Adventure HD Ver. That's right, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure HD Ver. Not JoJo's Bizarre Adventure HD Version or the much more concise JoJo's Bizarre Adventure HD. Instead Capcom had to go the extra step and add "Ver." for no reason. As it turns out, trying to make sense of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is like training your cat to write the great American novel. It's never going to happen.
When originally released on the PlayStation and Dreamcast, JoJo was met with yawns in America. It had a lot working against it, starting with a weird art style and an off-putting sense of humor. The fact that it was based on an obscure Japanese Manga series didn't help its chances in English speaking parts of the world. To make matters worse, this 2D throwback was released at a time when everybody was preoccupied with 3D fighting games. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure was doomed from the start.
After more than a dozen years of waiting, fans of rare Capcom games finally have something to get excited about. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure HD Ver. is a collection of both arcade games, giving players the most comprehensive JoJo game ever released on a home console. This package comes with all 22 unique characters, an impressive list of backgrounds, bizarre cinemas and an adequate online multiplayer mode. But as nice as it is to see an old friend, this overpriced compilation isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Imagine a fighting game with nothing but novelty characters. Usually you only get one or two interesting fighters, like Street Fighter's Dhalsim or Yoshimitsu in Tekken. But that's not the case in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, because every single character has something strange going on. Here you'll find seemingly normal looking fighters with dark secrets. You'll find a cowboy with a laser gun. There's a dog named Iggy and a bird known as Petshop. There is a shadow fighter, who floats along the floor attacking from below. And just this is just scratching the tip of how weird the game is.
Many of the combatants are able to summon mysterious Stand characters to fight on their behalf. Here Capcom toys with some tag team techniques, but JoJo never quite veers into Marvel vs. Capcom territory. Sometimes a Stand will be added to the play field, while other times you'll simply turn into a different character. In the case of Iggy the dog, a larger animal towers over him for protection. Some characters only bring out these summoned characters during special moves, others are always on screen and there are a few fighters with none at all. There's a lot to keep straight while playing JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.
Perhaps all this makes more sense if you're a fan of the source material, but I found this list of fighters to be incomprehensible. It's definitely intriguing, but still incomprehensible. It's never clear why some characters turn into aliens, while others are able to summon mythological bird creatures. Sure every fighter is given a story, but that only makes things more confusing. If you're willing to invest the time to get to know this cast of characters, you'll be rewarded with ideas and moves never before seen in a Capcom fighting game.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure isn't a bad fighting game, but it may be too weird for its own good. The 22 characters are hard to relate to and the action is often chaotic for no reason. Worse yet, the game is too expensive for the amount of content. If you can get over some of the imperfections you'll find a good looking fighting game with a lot of memorable characters!
This product was submitted by the publisher for review. As a rule, Defunct Games does not review games we spent money on. However, that does not always apply to classic/retro games. This specific product, however, came straight from a PR guy for the purposes of being reviewed!