JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R released over three weeks ago at the start of September for the PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Switch, and PC via Steam. It’s a remaster of the original PlayStation 3 exclusive that released in 2013, developed by CyberConnect2 and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment.
About All-Star Battle R
All-Star Battle R released on September 1 on PC and on September 2, 2022 on consoles. It includes a large roster of 51 characters at launch and commemorates the 35th anniversary of the series, as well as the anime’s 10th anniversary. There are characters from Parts 1 through 8 of the franchise, as well as Ikuro Hashizawa from Hirohiko Araki‘s older manga, Baoh the Visitor.
What does the “R” in the title stand for? It’s officially “Remaster” according to the Japanese website, but it could technically stand for a lot of things: “Revamped”, “Revived”, “Re-release”, “Requiem”, etc.
Compared to the original game, ASBR includes gameplay changes, aesthetic updates, ten additional characters, and five new stages. Additionally, its first season pass will add four new characters.
My review is based on both the Steam and PlayStation 5 versions of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R. As someone who has played the original game back when it released in 2013 as well as all of the other JoJo video games, I was excited to experience the game again on modern platforms and try out the new characters. I’ve got 100% of the achievements and trophies on both versions of the game, and I’ve played over 200 online matches, so my review should hopefully serve as an in-depth analysis of the game’s pros and cons.
Basic Controls and Combos
ASBR has simple controls, making it easy for new players to pick up the game. There are three attack buttons (Light, Medium, and Heavy) and one Dodge/Sidestep button. By inputting ↓↘→ with two attack buttons, you can use a Heart Heat Attack (HHA) special which uses 1 bar of meter. Using three attack buttons instead allows you to use a Great Heat Attack (GHA), which uses either 2 or 3 bars.
The most simple combo starter is Light > Medium > Heavy and then extending it with various skills depending on the character you’re using. The inputs are mostly the same for each character so it’s easy to pick up a new character without having to learn complex commands. By pressing all three attack buttons, you can do a Flash Cancel which spends 1 bar of your gauge to cancel whatever attack you’re doing to continue your combo.
Accessibility for Newcomers
The “Easy Beat” mechanic returns from the original game. By mashing the Light Attack button, the game will automatically do a basic scripted combo for you which typically ends in the character’s HHA.
Most beginners tend to use this but I wouldn’t recommend relying on it if you actually want to improve. Skilled players know how to fight against it and can punish Easy Beat spammers. Players who do not want to use it can disable it in the options. Additionally, there’s a setting to turn it off for both players in online matches.
Taunts and Customization
Another mechanic is the “Taunt”, which most fighting games have. Although in other games it’s usually a fun, harmless mechanic, taunts in ASBR can decrease your opponent’s meter by 1 bar if they’re done while your opponent is on the ground. Unlike the original game, this can only be done once per match in ASBR but can be very useful if used at the right time since it can limit your opponent’s options.
Each character has 5 different taunt poses and several different quotes based on the series. These can be customized, making every taunt unique to the player.
Victory poses (and their quotes) and player cards can also be customized. There’s an extremely large number of quotes in the series to choose from.
Rush Mode Returns
“Rush Mode” also returns from the original game, where the players can clash with each other if they use a certain skill at the same time (usually a punch barrage). The player will then have to mash the button that appears on screen to knock the opponent away. Jonathan, Jotaro, Polnareff, DIO, Josuke, Part 4 Jotaro, Giorno, Bucciarati, Mista, Narancia, Jolyne, Johnny, and Part 8 Josuke are the only characters who can activate this mode.
Strangely, although they recorded new voices for every character (besides Esidisi, Old Joseph, and Pet Shop), Part 4 Jotaro is the only new character who can participate in this. I don’t understand why since there are several other characters who have attacks that would fit for this mode such as Zeppeli, Joseph, Otoishi, Kira, Trish, Prosciutto, and more. The SFX in the new clashes are not as good as the original. Compare the intensity of the SFX in Mista’s clash in the old game to the video above and you can hear the difference.
ASBR Feels Smoother
The game now runs in 60fps rather than 30fps (aside from the Switch version). In addition, CC2 improved the game speed by shortening how long certain attacks take to launch. The improved frame rate and speed makes the fights and movement feel much smoother.
The new dash jump feature allows players to jump at a lower height than normal jumps. This feature gives you more control over the type of attack you want to do and opens up the potential for extending combos.
Assists Carve a New Path For Combos
I think the new assist mechanic makes this remaster feel more like its own game rather than just a rehash of the original. Assault Assists allow you to extend combos, set traps, or simply attack the opponent. Reversal Assists can break an opponent’s combo. Assists have a cooldown and limited uses depending on their type so they aren’t spammable. They are also optional so players aren’t required to use them.
Not all assists are useful; the trap assists don’t really seem worth it to me. I think the best ones are the punch rushes (Jotaro and Giorno) as they have the potential of letting you do crazy combos and mixups. The counter assists like Part 1 Dio are also helpful to stop your opponent in their tracks. I think it would have been cool if there were NPC assists like CC2’s Naruto Storm series, which could give more supporting characters from the series some representation. For example, Tonio could have been a healing assist, Dire could do his Thunder Cross Split Attack, etc.
Level 2 and 3 Great Heat Attacks Can Be a Game Changer
ASBR also added a damage boost to the GHAs depending on how much bars your meter has when you use it. 2 bars does 100% of damage, 2.5 bars does 120% and 3 bars does 150%. I think this is a good mechanic since it can dramatically change a match’s outcome and gives players a second chance if they hit.
However, it would be better if we could control whether we wanted to use a level 3 GHA or not. For example, holding down the buttons to use all 3 bars would be more efficient than it being the default because we wouldn’t be wasting our meter for the next round. Some of the level 3 GHAs are also a bit too overpowered, such as Diavolo’s, which can almost drain Iggy’s entire health bar.
Stylish Guards Improve Defensive Capabilities
“Stylish Guard” is one of my favorite new additions since it’s easier to evade an opponent’s attack, improving the defensive options you have. It allows you to manually input a command that activates a “Stylish Dodge” if an opponent hits you while your character is flashing. Previously, the only way to do a Stylish Dodge was to press back at the right moment when an attack would hit you.
All-Star Battle Mode
All-Star Battle Mode replaces the original game’s Story Mode and Campaign Mode. You can play as every character, aside from Funny Valentine (for some reason) and Ikuro. This mode displays 8 panels (usually 3 “Normal Battles”, 4 “Extra Battles”, and 1 “Boss Battle”). The Normal Battles and Boss Battles are fights that occurred in the story. The Extra Battles are what-if fights between characters who have mostly never interacted before.
The Extra Battles are the most interesting, having characters like Part 4 Jotaro interacting with Diavolo. Some reference spinoff content, such as Kars vs Valentine being a fight that occurred in JORGE JOESTAR, and Trish vs Otoishi referencing Trish being a pop star in Purple Haze Feedback. A few interactions are not so creative or reused from Versus Mode such as Jonathan vs DIO.
ASB Mode includes secret missions where you have to activate a certain condition in the fight to win a reward. Although some of them were annoying (Prosciutto vs Shigechi requires using a counter HHA when almost all of Shigechi’s attacks prevent activating this), it felt rewarding to completely achieve them all.
Others have mentioned that ASBR is bad for not having a story mode unlike the original, but most of the people who say that either haven’t played the original or don’t remember what it was like. I definitely prefer what we got in ASBR instead. Nonetheless, the interactions are only fun for big fans of the series, so I understand if some players don’t care for this mode. I found it lame that you have to lose to see the victory quote of the opponent. It would have been better if you could also play as the other side or if beating a panel made the interaction play in Versus Mode.
The Original Game’s Two Modes
In the original game, the Story Mode was simply a narrated text slideshow before each fight. The fights were limited to canon battles and had unique intros and victory quotes. Due to the lack of minor antagonists in the game, the length of each part was unbalanced. Parts 3 and 4 were the longest, whereas Parts 1 and 5-7 barely had anything.
ASB’s Campaign Mode was an online mode that had a “battery” timer which functioned like a mobile game. It was the only way to unlock alternate colors and costumes by defeating AI-controlled avatars of other players, or a specific character in a boss battle. You would have to defeat the boss multiple times in order to fully drain their HP and unlock the rewards. This mode was extremely controversial since it had micro-transactions where players can reduce the battery timer using real money. Furthermore, the rewards are no longer unlockable since the servers were shut down. I’m glad that ASBR’s All-Star Battle mode replaces this since it works fully offline and it’s much less time-consuming.
Arcade, Tournament, and Versus Mode
Aside from ASB Mode, these three modes are the other single-player modes for offline content. These modes reward you with Gold which you could use to buy things in the gallery such as outfits, models, music, and voices.
In Arcade Mode, you could either do “Challenge Battle” where you fight against 8 random opponents, or “Endless Battle”, where you keep fighting opponents until you lose. I don’t think the amount of Gold you get from this mode is worth it unless you are just playing for fun. Even with the “Harvest Time” feature which grants you more Gold, I have gotten more Gold much quicker from just repeating Boss panels in ASB Mode. I felt Arcade was kind of boring since it’s just random fights which you could do in any other mode.
I have only tried Tournament Mode with 1 player, but it allows up to eight players to participate. Computer-controlled characters fill up the empty positions. The winner overall receives a reward in Gold, though it still isn’t a lot compared to just redoing ASB Mode fights.
Versus Mode (Team Battle Mode)
The Team Battle Mode is a new feature in Versus Mode where you can have 3-on-3 matches by swapping out characters after each round. I only tried this feature out once but it seems like it would be fun in parties.
Practice Mode was improved in this game as you can now record inputs for the opponent to replay. However, there are some limitations. If you record a combo while the opponent’s Stand is on and then their Stand goes off later, they will not be using the same skills when you replay the recording. Practice Mode also lacks some other features such as lowering your health as well as character-specific settings such as having all Corpse Parts on for the Part 7 characters.
I enjoyed playing as all the new characters (some more than others). My favorites were Diego, F.F., and Prosciutto & Pesci. I don’t really get why Diego has his horse though. It’s cool to include Silver Bullet but there isn’t really much you could do while on the horse.
I like that they made Prosciutto a tag character, but I was slightly let down that Pesci doesn’t actually have unique interactions with other characters. It would have been interesting if they had a mechanic like Jonathan, Yukako, or Bucciarati, where after Prosciutto dies, you take control of Pesci. I was also sad to see that The Grateful Dead only adds an icon in the HUD rather than showing any visual changes. In Eyes of Heaven (EoH), the Prosciutto stage gimmick altered the character icons in the HUD by making them appear older.
Ghiaccio is fun but his HHA seems like the most useless one in the game. It is very situational, allowing him to deflect simple projectiles rather than doing damage. Trish has a lot of combo potential, being able to create bounce traps to extend her combos. I’m happy to finally have F.F. playable in a game, and she can do a lot of mixups with her skills.
Compared to the original, characters have balancing changes in ASBR and slightly different commands for some skills. The balancing overall is decent but some characters are clearly better than others. Narancia does a crazy amount of damage from far and you can’t even attack him with most projectiles because he’s too short. That being said, there is still a lot of variety between the characters. The Top 8 at the CEOtaku tournament featured Diavolo, Kosaku, Kakyoin, Pet Shop, Caesar, Hol Horse, Kira, and Kars.
My expectations may have been too high but I was sad that ASBR does not have any new costumes for the old characters aside from the preorder bonus and two season pass outfits (although I think those three outfits were good additions). Without the EoH outfits, the game lacks several cool and funny costumes like Tequila Joseph, Deadman’s Questions Kira, and the young versions of Team Bucciarati.
Most of the costumes are based on covers so there’s a lack of outfits that characters actually wore in the story, such as Joseph’s New York jacket or what he wears when fighting Esidisi. It’s really weird that Part 4 Jotaro does not have his third outfit anymore even though that was his default EoH costume.
If we end up getting costume DLC in the future, I would like to see Hol Horse and Mariah get their Crazy Diamond’s Demonic Heartbreak appearances.
I think the new stages were great additions. However, the only truly new stage we got was the Everglades stage in Part 6, whereas the rest were ported from EoH. I find it strange that they didn’t port all of the EoH stages, such as the Joestar Mansion, Air Supplena Island, or the inside of Green Dolphin St. Prison. That would’ve helped have some of the story fights in ASB Mode take place in the proper locations. It was nice to see the new stage gimmicks and Dramatic Finishes, although the Dramatic Finishes are pretty goofy, especially in the Colosseum stage.
We’re lacking varied climates in the stages which most fighting games tend to have. Since Part 2 didn’t get any new characters, we could’ve gotten the Mexican Desert, Switzerland Hotel for a snowy landscape, or Vulcano Island where Joseph fought Kars.
ASBR replaces the really cool original opening and credits of the game with a generic clip-show of the characters doing their intros, HHAs and GHAs. I was disappointed upon seeing this, but at least the new music for the opening is still catchy.
In general I think the game looks good and CC2 did a great job adapting Araki’s various art styles for each character. However, some textures for icons and UI look like they were upscaled. Other textures for the character outfits and portraits are the same resolution as the originals, making them look blurry. It’s especially noticeable in certain animations when it zooms in on a character and you can see the pixels. Some animations cause clipping to occur in the models (like Part 4 Jotaro’s hat, Yukako’s clothes, etc.).
Since this game is also an “anime project”, characters were recolored to match their anime appearances. However, the manga panels in the cut-ins were not recolored to match their default outfits. I’m not sure if this was intentional or not. There are cases of characters not actually matching their anime appearances. Gold Experience Requiem lost its detailed design from the manga to now have the anime’s simplified design, but Jonathan lacks the shoulder-pads he has in the anime; Mariah does not have her sunglasses; Trish’s hair doesn’t match the anime’s style. It feels like they couldn’t decide on what design to use. Stage colors and the colors of attack effects were not changed either.
Character portraits were not remade but instead were either ported from the original game and Eyes of Heaven. Consequently, there are now three different portrait styles on the character select screen: ASB renders, EoH renders, and the new ASBR renders. The clash of styles is jarring.
Voices and Audio
Almost all of the voices in the game were re-dubbed to match their anime voices, even if the characters already had the same voice actors in ASB. While some sound great, the new voices are one of the most controversial aspects of the remaster. Although I really like the anime voice actors, I have some issues with how they’re presented in the game.
I don’t know if it’s because of the direction but a few of the voice actors sound tired or unenthusiastic compared to their anime portrayals. Kars especially does not have the same energy as he used to, which might be due to Kazuhiko Inoue being sick from COVID-19 in early 2022, as well as all the voice actors getting older after 9 years. For some reason, they did not add any of the voice filters on the Stands, so Whitesnake sounds extremely unlike his anime voice. I’ve gotten several comments on my videos thinking he has a different voice actor. The voice of Sex Pistols is no longer multiplied so it sounds like there’s only one instead of multiple.
The voices are very quiet in game. You can barely hear them in ASB mode using the default settings. I had to manually lower the music and SFX which shouldn’t be the case. I think adding an optional download to bring the old voices back (where applicable) would be a good idea for people who prefer the original.
The original game’s localization was terrible, so I’m glad that Bandai Namco listened to my feedback and improved everything I complained about for ASBR. Initially, several quotes were completely made up such as Jolyne saying “Balls deep” instead of “1000 throws”, Avdol saying “Who’s the man?” instead of “Magician’s Red shall not stand for this”, etc. Bandai Namco fixed these right before launch and the quotes now match the original Japanese.
Some issues from the original game were still carried over such as the following:
- Joseph says “Damn meased to pleet ya” instead of “Happy, joy-py, nice to meetcha-py” or VIZ’s “Happy, fun! Nice to meet you, man!”.
- Josuke’s skill is called “I’m a real Deadeye Dick!” when it’s the same as Part 4 Jotaro’s, which is translated as “If I throw this bearing…”.
- Jolyne says she’s seen drag queens with better hair than Josuke. In Japanese she says that his hair is mind-blowingly out there.
- Johnny’s “Pretty long for a shortcut!” doesn’t match his voice’s tone or emotion of the scene like “It’s truly, truly been… a very long roundabout path…”.
- Gyro somehow knows what whack-a-mole is even though Steel Ball Run takes place in 1890.
- Memes like Ermes saying “Come at me bro” and Kira saying “Everything’s coming up Kira”.
For unknown reasons, Lisa Lisa’s name is now localized as “Lisa Lisa (Elizabeth)”, including her real name in parentheses. This was never an issue before in the previous games, manga, or anime subtitles, so I’m confused as to why it’s needed now. It makes the dialogue look unnatural when characters like Joseph or Caesar say “Lisa Lisa (Elizabeth)” rather than “Master Lisa Lisa”.
Some secret missions in ASB mode also have different translations for the skill names compared to the command lists, causing confusion.
One of the best new quality of life improvements in ASBR is that it shows you a preview of the costume or color that you are selecting. I love this feature since it was really annoying not having it in the original game. I just wish that they showed a preview of the taunts and victory poses as well.
Another new improvement is that the skill descriptions in the command lists now open up in a popup rather than being scrolling text.
Parts 3-5 have the best representation in the game, especially with the new additions to the roster. However, it is weird that Abbacchio still isn’t playable since he’s a main character (Weather Report as well, but he will most likely be DLC). Prosciutto also doesn’t have a Versus Mode interaction with Ghiaccio for some reason, despite them being on the same team.
Nonetheless, the game is a love letter to the series, filled to the brim with references everywhere. Every action a character makes, whether it be walking or jumping, references a panel in the manga. Most of the alternate colors are also references to Araki’s covers or palette swaps from the anime. The developers at CC2 are truly fans of the series and any JoJo fan would appreciate seeing the number of references and easter eggs in the game.
The Stone Ocean content is odd in ASBR. I’m not a fan of them removing content that was in the original game only to add them in a future update. I get that it’s to avoid spoiling fans who only watch the anime, but I don’t think that matters when the original game and Eyes of Heaven already released in the West with the same content. The Kennedy Space Center stage is currently not in the game, although it was briefly shown in the announcement trailer. Pucci no longer has C-Moon and Made in Heaven, even though the original version of Pucci will be added for free in a later update. If we’re actually getting the exact same Pucci from ASB with his 14 words gauge, it would be even weirder because we’ll have two Puccis with Whitesnake.
Jolyne’s Irene outfit is not unlockable at the moment, yet Irene still has a player card quote. Donatello Versus and Dragon’s Dream’s support items and quotes are also no longer in the game, even though Dragon’s Dream appeared in the anime already. I’m not complaining about free content, but I think they should have just delayed the game if spoilers were an issue. That would allow them to make more improvements as well. Now we have to wait months for content that is already completed.
Due to Part 6 not having its second page in All-Star Battle Mode yet, Jolyne’s Color D and F.F.’s theme are currently not unlockable either.
The Lack of JoJolion is a “Calamity”
Like many others, I’m disappointed that Part 8 was barely represented in this game, considering the game is supposed to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the series. Besides Part 8, every part has the main character, an ally, and the main villain. JoJolion ended a year ago but almost all of the content in ASBR is from 2013 whereas a lot in the story has changed since then. Josuke remains as the only playable character from his part, using a moveset that represents the first 15 chapters of the series, out of 110 chapters.
The only new content is one of Josuke’s victory poses being replaced with a pose he does in Chapter 35 as well as Josuke mentioning Josefumi after fighting Jotaro in All-Star Battle Mode. Josuke’s fights in All-Star Battle Mode are just a rehash of his story mode fights from the original game where he fights all of the other Joestars and Ikuro. The most bizarre aspect of this is that they bothered to change the dialogue in the Jotaro fight but none of the others, which makes me wonder why they didn’t go all the way.
The Joestars (especially Jonathan) act out-of-character and all want to beat up Josuke. Their interactions are uncreative; Part 4 Josuke doesn’t mention them having the same name; Josuke doesn’t know who Johnny is despite him knowing Johnny’s legend and them having a proper interaction in Eyes of Heaven which could have been reused. He also doesn’t have an interaction with Koichi, Kira, or Yukako (who resembles Karera). He wonders his identity in all of his interactions, which he should already be mostly aware of if he knows who Josefumi is.
Baoh the Silent Visitor
I understand that Ikuro is just a guest character but he could get at least one unique interaction with someone since they bothered to include him anyways. He only growls against Part 8 Josuke, but there’s a lot of potential interactions they could have done. For example, Baoh is the Ultimate Lifeform in its series, yet Ikuro has no interaction with Kars.
It would have been nice if we got to hear Ikuro’s thoughts in some of his interactions with others. He could wonder whether Joseph is related to Sumire because of their predictive powers, talk to Jotaro about their “evil spirits”, relate to Part 8 Josuke because of their amnesia (or Josuke could wonder if he’s a Rock Human since Baoh has an eye covered like Josuke did in late Part 8), etc.
Online is by far the most criticized feature of the game due to the lack of rollback. Personally, I don’t really mind this. Although online would feel better if we had rollback, it can open up the possibility of different issues when CC2 doesn’t have experience with developing it for their other games.
I won’t deny that the online mode at the moment can be hit-or-miss. Out of the 200+ matches I’ve played, I’ve had a few that were extremely laggy but the majority were perfectly fine. I played several matches against Morgan (who lives in Europe, while I live in Canada), and didn’t have any issues while fighting. It’s worth noting that both of us use a wired Ethernet connection, so it’s likely that some of the issues can stem from people using Wi-Fi or having low internet speeds.
The matchmaking function in Ranked is a bit weird because I’ve been paired up with people who have 0 wins and several losses while I had a much higher rank than them. I think this would be unfair for those players, unless there was truly no one else that they could pair up with.
The “Transmitting” popup frequently appears on the loading screen after both players confirm that they’re ready. This happens on both the PlayStation and PC versions. While the PlayStation version goes back to the online menu after and says that we lost connection to the opponent, the PC version freezes and you have no choice but to close the game. If you do close the game during this, it might increase the Disconnection counter on your player card even when it wasn’t your fault. This is a big problem I and many others had with the game.
If somebody rage-quits, you don’t get a win added to your record and the person who disconnected doesn’t get a loss. It would easily prevent people from rage-quitting if a loss was added to their record anyways.
I’ve had input lag while fighting some players, though they might have been in other regions. Players whose PC doesn’t have a graphics card or can’t handle the game seems to make the online match very laggy. The fights slow down to a crawl even if my PC has the proper specs, since it has to match the opponent’s speed.
Online currently includes 12 weeks of online missions for unlocking alt colors and costumes for the new characters. These have you complete different challenges such as “Play 5 ranked matches using Jotaro”.
I’m not really a fan of some of these because it forces you to use characters in Ranked. Thankfully, the rewards are not locked to these online missions and we can still buy them in the Shop using in-game Gold after the missions are over.
Customization and Other Features
The online mode feels outdated since it hasn’t changed from the original game. You can make rooms with custom rules or private slots but there is no spectator mode, which would have been beneficial for hosting online tournaments. It would have been nice if the new features in Versus Mode (Team Battle) were also available online. There should also be an option to have a rematch on Ranked. Instead of only having a setting to limit matches by region, there should be one that filters by connection. Additionally, there’s no crossplay which would have helped keep the game alive since it is on so many platforms.
I would have liked if there’s a separate section that privately shows your number of player matches and win/loss record in those, since your player card only shows details from ranked matches.
You have to select a character, assist, and stage as a preset before you could play in Ranked. I think it would be better if you could have multiple presets for people who main more than one character. The interface for changing your ranked character is not really user-friendly, as I’ve seen people confused about how they are supposed to access it again after the first time.
Although it may seem like I made several nitpicks about the game, I do enjoy the game overall. I had a lot of fun seeing all the new interactions, playing with the new characters, and raising my rank online. Aside from the netcode issues, the game runs perfectly fine on my PC and PS5, although it is annoying that the PC version doesn’t let you click on another monitor while the game is on screen.
With how the game is at the moment, I would give it a rating of 7.5/10. As someone who played the original game, I didn’t think the additions were mind-blowing since a lot of the new content came from EoH. However, I’m glad that they decided to remaster ASB for new JoJo fans to experience it. Personally, I like it more than all of the other JoJo games we’ve gotten so far. I also appreciate that Bandai Namco Entertainment America is open with the community and receptive to feedback. Since ASBR will continue to get updates, there’s a chance that my rating will increase, and I’m excited to see what the future holds for the game.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R: It's great for fans of the series to experience the 2013 game on modern platforms with revamped gameplay and quality of life improvements. It's a fun fighting game with a variety of characters and costumes, filled with references to the series. However, the lack of new manga content, content being delayed because of the anime, muffled voices, and the online errors holds the game back.