A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that J-Stars Victory Vs. + is a fighting game featuring more than 50 characters from the Shonen Jump manga magazine. Players will select from both heroes and villains to battle human and computer opponents in single-player and multiplayer matches. Combat is the main focus of the game, with players using cartoonish punches, kicks, special attacks, and weapons (including swords) to defeat rival team members. Though attacks are brutal and enemies can be hit multiple times with extremely powerful strikes, there's no blood or gore to be found. Many of the female characters wear skimpy, cleavage-baring outfits or show lots of skin. Parents should be aware that multiplayer matches are unmoderated, potentially exposing players to inappropriate comments. Also, with the heavy focus on manga and anime characters, players may find themselves interested in picking up additional products from the various franchises represented.
What's it about?
J-STARS VICTORY VS. + is a fighting game combining many popular franchises from the Shonen Jump magazines from Japan. Set in Jump World, characters from 32 Jump manga series find themselves fighting through a tournament to determine the best and strongest warriors. J-Adventure is the main story mode and has four story lines that center around Naruto, Toriko, Ichigo from Bleach, and Luffy from One Piece. There's also a standard Arcade mode, quick battles in the Free mode, a Victory Road mode that provides additional challenges and tasks, as well as online multiplayer. Based on how you play, you gain coins that can be spent in the J-shop for additional characters, items, and special cards that can upgrade your team. Finally, the Gallery provides additional information on each character for players to learn about.
Is it any good?
If you're a manga or anime fan, J-Stars Victory Vs. + is clearly made for you. Not only is this a love letter to both Shonen Jump and V Jump (celebrating their 45th and 20th anniversaries, respectively), it's also an attempt to answer the theoretical fan arguments of who would win between Goku and Sasuke or Jonathan Joestar and Kenshiro. J-Stars goes the extra mile for these debates by keeping the style and abilities from each comic or animated series, so if you wanted the incredibly powerful Kamehameha strikes from Dragon Ball or the absurd nose-hair abilities from Bobobo-bo, you're in luck. What's also nice is the fact that virtually every mode, whether you're fighting your way through the story or trying to beat new challenges in Victory Road, earns you J-points, which can be redeemed for new unlockables. With 39 playable characters, 13 support characters, and bonus items, there's plenty to fight for.
One big problem with the fighting is whether you'll consistently keep playing the title. Sure, it's interesting to see which abilities have been included for each character, but the fighting isn't particularly deep. You can button-mash the weak and strong attacks to create simple combos, and so long as you manage to block before someone starts attacking, you frequently can avoid damage and counter incoming strikes. Once you realize that, fights become repetitive and bland. Similarly, although the game has a large roster and a number of franchises, the plot is threadbare. You might run into a character and either get a generic quest or get into a fight, but that's it. The developers had the opportunity to dive deep into the lore of each franchise and make a story that was complex and intricate. Instead, you have a tale that barely shuttles you between fights. In the end, J-Stars Victory Vs. + is one of those games that probably won't appeal to everyone, especially with some of the thin story and fighting mechanics. But if you're a hard-core anime and manga fan, this is fan service that's just right for you.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in the game. Is there a problem with the cartoonish nature of battles in this game? Do you think attacks using such things as elastic arms, blown kisses, and nose hairs as weapons are funny or too strange for a fighting game?
Discuss anime and manga. What do you think is the appeal of these animated characters? Do you have a favorite anime or manga? What do you like about him or her?
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Bandai Namco
- Release date: June 30, 2015
- Genre: Fighting
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Sports and Martial Arts, Adventures, Friendship
- ESRB rating: T for Cartoon Violence, Crude Humor, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes
- Last updated: April 2, 2021
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.