CyberConnect2, developers of the Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm series, deliver their version of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure in Eyes of Heaven. Following the same footsteps as the Naruto games, Eyes of Heaven is a fighting game with an emphasis on fast movement and combination attacks. The one twist this time is that it features two-on-two battles as a standard approach, with many systems linked to having the other member of your team in good standing. Unfortunately, this game doesn’t have the same cinematic flair nor the smooth battle mechanics of its sister series and falls short as a result. Read on for our full Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Eyes of Heaven Review.
Look and Feel
As is tradition for CyberConnect2, this is absolutely the best representation of the Jojo series within a video game. The character models are fantastic, though their animations aren’t as impressive. Either way, it captures the unique art of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure perfectly.
That said, it’s not nearly as impressive as the Naruto games. In fact, it’s essentially an Ultimate Ninja Storm game in all but name. From the menus, character select screen to the in-game sound effects, it’s not hard to tell that this game is a reuse of their previous work. They’re entitled to do that, of course, but this leads to certain expectations that Eyes of Heaven fails to live up to.
For one, the game doesn’t deliver those beautiful cut-scenes Naruto is known for. When I think of CyberConnect2, this is their greatest strength: an incredible portrayal of the source material. Instead, there is the occasional (and welcome) manga panel inclusion, but the rest is done via the in-game engine, and this doesn’t exactly impress, much less astound as the visuals have in their previous games.
Are These Expectations Unreasonable?
I don’t think so. When it appears as if a developer has re-skinned their previous work under a different license, it’s safe to assume it’ll receive the same treatment. When I see a new Samurai Warriors, I expect it to be a slightly improved version of the last Dynasty Warriors and vice versa. However, a lot of Eyes of Heaven feels like sub-par Naruto. The ultimate attacks still have a visual pop, but not in the same way. It’s just flat in comparison, and the comparison cannot be helped. If, however, you’re fresh to CyberConnect2 and their products, Jojo might resonate, but it’s not as good as what they’ve done before.
Applauding the Audio
Much like how the developer captures the aesthetic of the characters well, they also do a fantastic job of the audio.
The jazz / funk / pop music that accompanies Eyes of Heaven is sufficiently Jojo. For all of my criticisms, it’s merely because I’m aware of the reverence the developer has for these licenses and I know what they can do with the sufficient funding and time.
The voice acting is Japanese-only, as is the current anime run, and features many of the same voice actors. It may not be the height of the CyberConnect2 legacy, but Eyes of Heaven screams dedication to authenticity in many ways.
I won’t be spoiling the game’s plot, but rest assured that Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Eyes of Heaven will spoil a great deal for anybody not caught up with the MANGA. Anime watchers beware.
Essentially an alternate universe time travel story, Jotaro Kujo is contacted by a figure of the Joestar family’s past. He explains that somebody is distorting time and bringing eras together that shouldn’t be. Jotaro must travel through the eight eras of Jojo to defeat possessed allies and foes alike, and discover who it might be that seeks to change history.
It’s difficult to explain this game without spoiling the general plot of Jojo, because Eyes of Heaven picks up directly directly after the conclusion of the third arc: Stardust Crusaders. Though I was a fan of how the Naruto games followed the manga, Jojo goes a little too far with it for my liking. Rather delivering an expert portrayal of the manga, they instead decided on a huge roster in order to include fan favourites.
What’s the Problem with Following the Manga?
Ordinarily nothing, but given that the Jojo anime is only in its fourth season here, actively spoiling major plot points up to the eighth arc is excessive. A better approach, in my opinion, would have been to handle one arc at a time and pour resources in to the cinematic style they’re known for.
That aside, it’s interesting to have these different characters interacting with each other. They react in understandable ways to the existence of each other and are very true-to-manga in both looks and personality. Hearing Joseph say “OH MY GODDDDDD!” is always hilarious.
It’s Got a Proper Plot
Though I’d have preferred a different approach, the narrative told in Eyes of Heaven is actually really well done. That’s part of what makes the lack of cinematic scenes disappointing: because this story deserved to be told with the addition of awesome animation.
The grudges between rivals, old friends turned against one another and the incredible design of the antagonist all resonate with me as a fan, though I’m missing crucial details from the manga I haven’t had a chance to read.
The story is absolutely worth playing through, I just wish it’d been told in a way that represents the developers at their best.
There’s a lot to explain in Jojo’s gameplay, so I’ll break it down in to several chunks.
What is There to Do?
Story mode makes up for the biggest chunk of the game. Visit popular locations from eight of the Jojo eras in time and space. Engage with side-quests as well as the main quest, and eventually play Poker (which is actually a lot of fun!).
Free Battle allows for fights against the computer to level up your characters using custom teams. Play one or two player battles.
Network lets you go online. Fight other players around the world and customise your player profile. My brief experience online was filled with lag. Can’t say whether or not this was my own connection, but it’s a rarity for me.
The rest of the modes aren’t that important, but you can customise character poses and voice lines as well as check through the glossary of all the Jojo characters and what-not.
Basic Mechanics: ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA!!
The gameplay in Eyes of Heaven is simple: one or two characters make up a team to take on another. Using your skills, brawl on an open field against your opponents until their life bar reaches zero.
The use of the Dual system is what’s new for Jojo this time around. By pressing the touch-pad (PS4) when charged, players can activate the Dual Combo. Dual Combo gives a limited time to pull off a certain amount of hits on the enemy to allow for a sub-special attack that does a lot of damage.
Access your basic special attacks through holding L1 and pressing the corresponding button (provided the ability has been unlocked).
The major damage dealer in this game is the Dual Heat Attack. Serving as the Ultimate Move, it only works when both characters on the team are active. Holding the trigger buttons in causes a dash that, if it connects, results in a double ultimate attack. These animations are well done, but the best comes when you find two characters that have a custom joint animation. Josuke and Koichi, for example.
You Know What it Is. Now Here’s What I Think.
In all honesty, I didn’t like the way Jojo played. The dash mechanic isn’t as good as it has been in their previous games. The inability to hit downed opponents and the length of time they stay down is too long.
The reliance on a second character just to do your ultimate attack is annoying because, if they die, you can’t do it anymore. Instead, you get an occasional temporary life-bar boost (purple in colour to differentiate from the norm). It means that you stay viable in the battle, but I’d much prefer having to risk it for a heavy blow against a strong opponent. The current system just extends the length of the battles and make the game a bit of a chore at times.
Again, as I’ve said many times, this game just feels like a watered down Ultimate Ninja Storm. The combat changes aren’t for the better. It’s a decent game. It might even be good if it weren’t for the prior knowledge of their better products.
Extra Bits: Jojo’s Not-so-Bizarre Progression
Each character has a skill tree and a standard leveling system. By defeating enemies, you’ll gain experience. Each level up provides some skill points to invest how you like. There’s a surprising amount of branches, but they all do similar things: unlock new skills, improve recovery of various gauges and strengthens the guards.
If you’re craving more to do, go back through the story and achieve an S Rank on all of the stages. Standard fare for CyberConnect2 games. I just didn’t enjoy the game enough to want to.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Eyes of Heaven is a disappointment. It’s not awful, but the game it borrows a lot of its mechanics and visuals from is vastly superior to it, and that’s by the same studio. It has a really good filler plot and fantastic character models, but these assets aren’t given the framing they need to pop on screen. Rare as the cut-scenes are, they’re also done using the same assets with little-to-no effort made to make them more engaging than the standard in-game stuff.
Much like One Piece Burning Blood, the source material deserves better than this, but it’s definitely worth revisiting. Don’t give up on Jojo. Watch the anime.
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Game: Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven