Joseph Joestar was one of the first confirmed characters to be in the game (along with Jotaro, Wamuu and Gyro).
As a "Ripple"-user character (along with Jonathan, Will, Caesar, Lisa Lisa, and his Part 3 self), Joseph can recharge his Heart Heat Gauge through "Ripple Breath" by holding down the Style button, performing a famous JoJo pose, as well as deliver enhanced versions of skills if Style is inputted in place of normal attack buttons. Joseph has 1000 HP.
During a fight, Joseph can use several different attacks that were featured in Battle Tendency.
Exclusive to Joseph is a "Trick" system, otherwise named "Guess I did it again!" Level, represented by an icon of his striped scarf next to a number above his Heart Heat Gauge. All three of Joseph's counters increase the level upon successfully triggering. Every level he gains will passively increase the damage of all Ripple-based and Ripple-enhanced skills. Levels gained are permanent; They will remain for the rest of the match, and will not reset in-between rounds. The damage multipliers are as follows:
Level 1: Ripple-based damage is increased by 1.1×.
Level 2: Ripple-based damage is increased by 1.4×.
Level MAX: Ripple-based damage is increased by 1.7×.
(hold to charge)
Joseph breathes out to produce the Ripple, charging his Heart Heat Gauge.
I'm so outta here!
x2 ON GROUND
A skill shared with his older self, Joseph quickly runs away from the opponent, marking him one of the only four characters in the game capable of running in the opposite direction; the others being Iggy, Hol Horse, and Shigekiyo Yangu.
(hold to extend duration) ON GROUND CHARGEABLE
Joseph braces himself with a Ripple-made forcefield at the cost of Heart Heat. This skill is used to instantly block attacks using the Heart Heat Gauge in place of the Guard Gauge, and defends against all attack heights, protecting Joseph from high-low mix-up attempts. The skill will last as long as the inputted button is held, or until the HHG empties.
+ ON GROUND
Spending 1/4th of the HHG, Joseph fortifies himself with the Ripple and jumps in a rising double-elbow attack, knocking the opponent high into the air if he connects. Joseph gains super armor during this, only able to be interrupted by Throws and HHA/GHA. This move functions as a reversal and anti-air, as well as a command normal that can chain into Joseph's skills. (Comboable)
Now you've pissed me off!
+ ON GROUND
Joseph moves forward and angrily unleashes a downward elbow, bouncing the opponent off the ground on-hit. This move is a middle attack that cannot be blocked crouching, and also cannot be Flash-Cancelled.
How 'bout a cold one?
+ /// ON GROUND
Joseph channels the Ripple into a bottle of cola to pop it open, launching the cap as an upwards projectile that knocks the opponent into the air. This attack functions as an anti-air. The attack button inputted determines the trajectory of the cap's flight. If Ripple-enhanced, Joseph instead uses a tequila bottle, launching the cork. This knocks the opponent higher into the air and into a hard knockdown. Once they hit the ground, a coconut will then fall out of nowhere from above onto the opponent as a middle attack. The coconut will fall earlier and strike the opponent in mid-air if this skill is Flash-Cancelled. (Ripple-enhanced Comboable through Flash Cancel)
+ /// (hold button to return Clackers) ON GROUND
Joseph throws a spinning pair of Clackers as a projectile forward. The attack button inputted determines range. If the inputted button is held long enough, the Clackers will boomerang back towards Joseph, allowing them to hit the opponent a second time, and even interrupt them if Joseph is being attacked. If Ripple-enhanced, Joseph will throw two at high speeds that travel very far, both of which can also be made to return. (Comboable)
+ /// ON GROUND
Joseph pulls out a pair of Clackers and spins them while sliding forward, hitting the opponent multiple times. If Ripple-enhanced, the attack inflicts more damage and hitstun. This skill has three different possible follow-up skills. (Flash Cancel comboable)
Now who's laughing!
(after Clacker Volley) /// ON GROUND
Joseph takes out a second pair of Clackers and proceeds to rapidly spin them in a melee assault, delivering a finishing blow that will knock the opponent off their feet. (Flash Cancel comboable) If Ripple-enhanced, the attack deals more damage and sends the opponent flying.
I'll smash you good!
(after Clacker Volley) + /// ON GROUND
Joseph reels back before swinging his Clackers downward, striking the opponent for heavy damage. This skill executes slower than the other follow-ups, but is a middle attack that cannot be blocked crouching. (Flash Cancel comboable) If Ripple-enhanced, the attack deals more damage and knocks the opponent off their feet and into a ground-bounce.
Don't you get it?
(after Clacker Volley) + /// ON GROUND
A counter that increases Joseph's Trick level upon success. Joseph interrupts his Clacker assault and spins around to reveal two pairs Clackers interlocked behind his back. Should the opponent strike him in that moment with a non-Throw/HHA/GHA, Joseph retaliates with both pairs striking at the same time at full force, propelling the opponent far back. This skill is able to automatically correct Joseph's orientation if Clacker Volley is Sidestepped. If Ripple-enhanced, the attack deals more damage.
Time to bring down the hammer!
x2 + /// ON GROUND WHEN DOWNED CHARGEABLE
Joseph pulls out a sledgehammer and smashes down with it in a large overhead swing, bouncing the opponent off the ground. This skill is a middle attack that cannot be blocked crouching, and can strike the opponent when they're downed. Due to its massive range, it can also function as an anti-air. The attack can be charged to increase its damage drastically and eventually make it unblockable, but leaves Joseph more vulnerable. If Ripple-enhanced, the attack deals more damage.
Guess I did it again!
+ ON GROUND
A counter that increases Joseph's Trick level upon success. Spending a 1/4th of a bar of his Heart Heat Gauge, Joseph instantly braces himself with the Ripple for a short instance. If the opponent triggers it, Joseph channels the entirety of the guard's Ripple energy into them in a heavy blast, shocking them repeatedly and leaving them vulnerable. (Comboable)
Your next line is-
+ ON GROUND
A counter that increases Joseph's Trick level upon success. He momentarily pauses and puts his hands on his hips while slyly chuckling. Should the opponent trigger the counter, the battle is halted as Joseph correctly predicts the opponent's next line. This has the effect of replenishing half a bar of Heart Heat, while simultaneously draining half of his opponent's own. The opponent will also stagger, offering Joseph the brief chance to attack. This counter is unique from most others in the game in that it can be triggered from any range, including with projectiles. However, it can only be used once the entire battle, becoming unavailable upon success.
The line Joseph predicts will usually be taken from one of his opponent's taunts (even going so far as to imitate DIO's "WRYYYYY!", Funny Valentine's "DOJYAAA~N!", Iggy's loud gum chewing sounds, etc), with the opponent replying with the same "taunting eyes" pop-up also used by Josuke Higashikata's "Watch your mouth!", followed by the opponent gasping with the "taunted" pop-up. Notably, in a mirror match against himself, Joseph's prediction against the other uses the quote "I'm going to wipe that smirk off your face!". The same line that Esidisi predicted Joseph himself to say in canon, though is one of Joseph's default taunt lines regardless.
2 ATK buttons at close range or + / ON GROUND
Joseph manhandles his opponent. The resulting attack changes depending on the direction.
Forward: Joseph holds the opponent in a reverse headlock, and reverse-kicks them in the face three times before spinning around and kicking them once more to send them off.
Backward: Joseph swings around to the opponent's other side to catch them in a side headlock, and proceeds to give them a rough noogie before throwing them to the ground.
Heart Heat Attack / Great Heat Attack
This means war!
+ 2 ATK Buttons ON GROUND
Declaring war on his opponent, Joseph suddenly pulls a Tommy Gun out from behind himself and fires a rapid volley of 27 bullets. This HHA does not require the first bullet to connect in order to work, and will not stop until it finishes or Joseph is interrupted. At any time during the attack, but not after, Joseph may use a supplementary follow-up attack.
This'll blow you away!
(During "This means war!") + // ON GROUND
Joseph slides in and swings upwards with the butt of the Tommy Gun. If he connects, the opponent is knocked into the air as he charges the Ripple into the gun, and blasts the energy into them using point-blank bullets (a reference to one of his opening attacks against Straizo). This attack deals more damage depending on Joseph's current Trick level, and can correct Joseph's orientation should the opponent have Sidestepped the initial bullet volley for a surprise attack.
Lemme show you my 'tricks' of the trade!
+ 3 ATK Buttons, or ON GROUND WHEN DOWNED
Joseph yanks a hidden string trap up from the ground. This attack can even strike a downed opponent. If they are caught, Joseph suddenly pulls out two pairs of Ripple-charged Clackers and delivers a lengthy attack combo, relentlessly beating the opponent while exclaiming "Ripple Overdrive Beat!". Joseph then briefly stops his assault to Ripple Breathe with a smile, charging more energy into his Clackers, before hitting the opponent with all four in a finishing blast, sending them flying. This GHA deals more damage depending on Joseph's current Trick level.
This attack is a reference to his brief yet unsuccessful attack on Wamuu, showing the complete assault.
True to his status as a cunning tactician, Joseph is an incredibly well-rounded character possessing a massive arsenal of different abilities and tools that serve him in any situation. He has everything he needs to successfully fill any playstyle the player sees fit to use, making him extremely versatile. With multiple anti-air attacks, reversals, counters, projectiles, and melee attacks, as well as a special command guard, Joseph's set of skills is nothing short of excellent; most of anything he does can also lead into strong conversions. More intelligent players can seek to increase Joseph's damage output via the Trick System, where successful counters permanently enhance his Ripple-based damage and thus improving the potency of his combos.
Joseph's weaknesses are few but notable. Most of his specials are fairly linear and thus easily Dodged or jumped over, making his attacks easy to exploit if thrown out haphazardly. As unsuccessful counters leave him highly vulnerable to punishment, his Trick Level can be difficult to raise against unpredictable or cautious opponents. Lastly, his combos are high-execution; Even for a Ripple Style character, Joseph's damage output is only average at a base level due to the presence of his Trick mechanic. Those who do not wish to rely on his counters must develop more advanced combos to unleash effective damage.
As a whole, Joseph is a highly complex fighter offering amateur players a wide set of abilities to work with while allowing experienced players full expression of damage, playstyles, and combo routes. Able to constantly outmaneuver and pulverize his foes, he is widely considered one of the best characters in the game.
In the English localization, if Joseph defeats Lisa Lisa, his victory screen quote has him say, "Why did it have to come to this?! You are tearing me APART, Lisa Lisa!". This quote is a joke-translation and a reference to the 2003 American drama film The Room, in which Tommy Wiseau's character, Johnny, shouts "You are tearing me APART, Lisa!"