In an age where all fighting games are getting stronger netcode with rollback updates, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle had the potential to make an impact with an all-new updated port featuring new characters and mechanics. The original version that was released for the PlayStation 3 was plagued by a 30 frames per second (fps) frame rate and terrible online play. A new release has the potential to fix all those issues and give the game a second life.
The frame rate is fixed in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R, but the online woes still remain in this re-release with netcode that feels like it should have been left in 2013.
Stuck in the past
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R is a new version of the original 2013 fighting game based in the JoJo’s universe. On all ends, it’s a great, albeit very janky fighting game, which is the norm for anime fighters. It’s fantastic for JoJo’s fans and fighting game fans alike. But it drops the ball in one core area.
All-Star Battle R takes the systems put in place in the original ASB and adds to them. Not only are there more characters, but old fighters are updated, and new attack systems like partner assist attacks are added. While some of these fighter changes are for the worse, removing some of the more interesting and creative aspects of different characters, the overall package here is great.
ASB R feels like the perfect ode to JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, just as it did in 2013. The characters look and feel as if they jumped right off the original manga. Taunts, attacks, and poses pull moments straight from the series and animate them in beautifully stylish cel-shaded graphics. And while the battles can be full of typical jank, they’re incredibly fun, and every character feels distinct, with fighting styles representing the different parts of the manga series.
But issues arise when you take all that online. Fighting games have been making great strides to finally feel like they belong on modern consoles as of late. Games like Guilty Gear Strive and The King of Fighters XV finally saw modern Japanese fighters moving away from the inconsistent days of delay-based netcode and upgrading to allow for nearly lagless online matches. Street Fighter 6 looks to be taking things even further, giving amazing presentation and most likely a great online experience to match. All-Star Battle R completely ignores that progress and gives us a great product that hardly functions online.
The delay I experienced while playing was so bad that I felt like I was playing underwater. Characters move seconds after inputs are tapped in; other times, it can feel like you’re watching a slideshow. This isn’t acceptable in an age where online play is king, and not everyone has people to play with locally. This same story happened in the previous JoJo’s fighting game JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven. Unfortunately, it seems that no lessons were learned from the short lifespan of that title.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R is an excellent fan service fighter with plenty of room for competitive fun — it’s just one that is best enjoyed offline. I sank tons of hours in the original despite its shoddy online integration because back then I didn’t know any better back then. “Wow, I can play online at the expense of a bit of lag. What’s frame rate? It all looks fine to me!”
I’m pickier in 2022, and I know that I don’t want to spend time mastering a fighting game if I can’t show off online.