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A Fun Way to Relive Season 1

Jujutsu Kaisen Cursed Clash is the latest arena fighting game based on a popular anime that allows fans to relive their favorite fights. Quality can range wildly with these titles, with the best ones being truly great (the Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm series) to being pretty dreadful (One-Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows). Cursed Clash lands firmly in the middle, with some truly interesting ideas and mechanics raising it above the forgettable, although some rough edges hold it back.

What’s most interesting about Cursed Clash is that most of your attacks don’t damage your opponent’s health. Instead, they extract energy that allows you to use highly volatile cursed energy techniques. Of course, in true anime fighting game fashion, there are basic attack combos where you can just mash square repeatedly to do some damage, but it’s not usually the most efficient strategy.

This means that you’ll want to boost your meter and figure out how to get your character’s unique special attacks to land — with some characters being quite difficult to master. When you’ve got a full meter, you can use ultra-powerful awakened moves, but these can be very hit-or-miss, with some having extremely long wind-ups that make them very difficult to ever pull off (although they do have great cutscenes). Overall, it’s an interesting system, one with shades of Dissidia Final Fantasy, that deserves some credit for being unique and tied to the series it is adapting.

However, while it earns points for feeling fresh within a well-trodden subgenre, Jujutsu Kaisen Cursed Clash’s battles can be quite frustrating. There are a lot of rough edges: hit detection can be iffy, it’s easy to get locked into animations, and you can get cornered nonstop whenever the story puts you in an annoying one-versus-two battle. The ideas are here for a really special game, but the lack of polish keeps it from ever living up to its full potential.

The same can be said for its story mode, which recreates all the arcs from Season 1 of the anime, plus the prequel movie Jujutsu Kaisen 0. Images from the show and voice-acted dialogue are present, although cutscenes are few and far between. Battles don’t have any moments that directly recreate sequences, as they’re instead just standard fights. It’s all the bare minimum for the most part, and the overall presentation leaves much to be desired. There aren’t any minigames either (although the Tokyo vs. Kyoto baseball match is available for those who order the Ultimate Edition in a fun RBI Baseball knock-off), as this is a pretty straightforward adaptation that lacks the pizazz of some other anime adaptations. However, there is the appeal of getting to recreate the iconic battles that you love, and the addition of JJK 0 is quite nice, so the mode definitely has value for fans and some replayability thanks to a ranking system and optional tasks.

As for online play, there’s a variety of modes ranging from four-player versus matches to cooperative play. The co-op mode (which can also be played solo with an AI partner despite the name) is a real highlight, as you face waves of foes and can equip different types of buffs. There winds up being a lot of strategy involved as co-op sessions go on, and it’s quite the fun hang-out game with a friend. It really extends the game’s life cycle and is a smart addition — showing that going above the bare minimum really pays off.

While Jujutsu Kaisen Cursed Clash doesn’t reach the highs of CyberConnect2’s anime fighting games, it has a lot of interesting ideas and offers plenty of fan service for JJK diehards. A few tweaks, some extra polish, and better presentation could make for a much better experience, so hopefully, a sequel tackling Season 2 will happen down the line. It’s a decent first try and one that fans can spend quite a bit of time with, thanks to its robust online play and collectibles.

SCORE: 6.5/10

As ComingSoon’s review policy explains, a score of 6.5 equates to “Decent.” It fails to reach its full potential and is a run-of-the-mill experience.

Disclosure: The publisher provided a PlayStation 5 copy for our Jujutsu Kaisen Cursed Clash review. Reviewed on version 1.000.001.



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