I played JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R as it came with Game Pass and decided to delete it, but not without one last battle and mustering up some words to say what I think about it. Let’s give it a quick review just in case you’re toying with buying, borrowing, or stealing it.

Picture this: you can manifest your inner self through what is known as a Stand. This power is a bit like the 80s cartoon Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light, and ‘practitioners’ use these stands in battles, along with an energy blast thing called Hamon, and relates to a breathing technique. JoJo did it first, Demon Slayer.

The series follows the Joestar family, blessed with significant powers and fabulous hair. A rivalry tale between the original Jonathan Joestar and Dio Brando – some vampire-like goon, the manga manifested into a family affair, and each new series is a chapter from another Joestar character who all sport the same star tattoo. Historians note that the original characters feature, as do some of the most recent ones.

It’s taken some time for me to accept the Joestar dynasty into my life. Already sick of the memes before ever getting into it, the manga/anime never did anything for me other than raise an eyebrow at the ravishing, if bizarre, illustrations. Time for a fight.

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R Review - Kame... hame...
Kame…hame… Source: PR

Only in Japan would you see such camp characters with flamboyant entrances, stances, and, well… swagger. It’s all quite silly, really, and that’s the charm. To some degree. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R captures the anime vibe, though its stopping power doesn’t come from the punches thrown, but the interruptions.

As a Bandai Namco game, most of the time, you’ll be playing menu selects, reading through the user licence agreements thoroughly (you don’t already?!), and ‘admiring’ the UI options every time you want to adjust your posture. Menu pop-up: are you fed up with all the interruptions? YES! YES! YES!

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R is based on a manga, no – really, and the drama translates pretty well. I love Japan, Japanese culture, blah blah blah, but I’m not a die-hard anime fan and am pretty selective about what I watch. My missus introduced me to the series, and I wasn’t fussed until the most recent series on Netflix. My beef with these fight-based narratives is the constant dragging of a fight scene.

Like the Dragonball Z series and almost every fighting story, battles will rage on, and the combatants will give a monologue and call out the move they will make. This happens here, and it slows down the flow. The characters are already catwalking about as it is. Just as you’re about to perform a move you’ve finally committed to memory, the dialogue kicks in, as does the foot.

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R Review - Gohan and Frieza
Gohan and Frieza. Source: PR

The animations and overall presentation are superb, matching Hirohiko Araki’s art style and featuring a full voice cast. If you’ve played any Bandai Namco title that involves fighting, you’ll know what to expect here as they’re all essentially the same, though they feature your favourite franchise. I’m still waiting for a remaster of Samurai Champloo, though.

Again, I’m unfamiliar with characters other than the Joestar family, but fans should be impressed with the 50+ roster. There are so many characters here that it’s mildly overwhelming if you don’t have a favourite, as you’ll essentially tinker with each one until you find your mojo. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R delivers on the roster.

Gameplay is the crucial factor, and as a beat ’em up fan, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R didn’t click. The interruptions and cutscenes didn’t put me off entirely, but the fighting style got on my nerves and was a bit too posey. I’d rather have a UFC-style fight, rip out someone’s spine, or even throw a family member off a blimp than focus on correctly adjusting my hair.

You might know that I’m not an online gamer, and as this isn’t a review game provided by the publisher and played at leisure, I had no interest in online play. The versus mode is decent, and as a solo fighter, the campaign was good, too, but I’d suggest that this is aimed towards fans like the Dynasty Warriors model is. They’re all the same model; it’s just picking your favourite franchise. 

Ask me again next year, as I’ll give this another try then. For now, I’d recommend getting Game Pass for your Xbox or PC to give it a whirl or friend up someone who has it on disc and ask to borrow it.