My Hero One's Justice 2
The continuation of the My Hero Academia fighting game is finally here. Bandai Namco has released My Hero One’s Justice 2 which adds in content from the most recent seasons of the show along with a ton of new characters. But does the new content make it worth picking up for fans and gamers? Check out our review to find out!
It should come as no surprise that one of my favorite animes running today is My Hero Academia. It’s one of those animes that is universally loved and commercially known. From its inspiring themes to its incredibly well-drawn fight scenes to its memorable characters, there’s a lot to love about the series. For me, it’s the way they’ve allowed each member of UA Class 1-A to shine. So many other animes cast off non-essential characters to the side in favor of the leads. My Hero Academia gives support characters backstory and even arcs that make it feel like they’re just as important as an All Might, Midoriya, or All for One. It’s a refreshing change.
Back in 2018, this vibrant world of heroes and villains with unique abilities known as Quirks debuted a fighting game called My Hero One’s Justice. Now, developer BYKING and publisher Bandai Namco have released the sequel to that game which has a metric ton of things to do and a lot more characters to master.
Addictive, Easy to Learn Combat
My Hero One’s Justice 2 is essentially the same game as its 2018 predecessor. Where it’s different is in its story and the roster of playable heroes and villains. What remains the same, though, are the combat mechanics.
For veterans of the first game, My Hero One’s Justice 2 is a pick-up-and-play title. There’s really nothing new to learn and a lot of the same combos have been imported into the sequel. However, if you’re new to the series, the combat mechanics are extremely easy to learn and master. Even a notoriously-bad fighting game player like myself was able to master it and beat online players after just two sittings.
A lot of what makes it so easy to learn has to do with how easily accessible the button scheme is. Rather than employing a sophisticated, advanced button scheme that games like Mortal Kombat, Injustice, Street Fighter, and so on have, the My Hero One’s Justice series separates moves into normal, strong, Quirk, and unblockable strikes. Using them and in succession is remarkably easy and smooth. The challenge comes in strategizing when to use them and creating the right combos to create the most damage. That’s where the Training and Free Battle modes become really important.
Part of what makes the game so addictingly fun and easy to learn are the two ways you can approach battle. First, there is the Normal method which makes it easy to perform BYKING-curated combos by just hitting the same buttons over and over. This mode is a type of “training wheels” to introduce players to the potential of each character. Once you’ve mastered Normal and done a bit of training, then you can graduate to Manual.
In Manual, characters are completely unlocked and unshackled. Players can input their own combos to create maximum damage. After several hours, I found several more effective combos with movesets that the Normal version didn’t include.
Having Normal and Manual versions is drastically different compared to the more traditional fighting games I’ve encountered, but it works. For people like me who love My Hero Academia but are terrible at fighting games, it holds your hand just enough to let you enjoy the fast-paced fights and begin to think strategically until you’re ready for even more competitive battles.
Two Full Seasons in One Extremely Easy Story Mode
Another way My Hero One’s Justice 2 introduces players to the gameplay is through the Story Mode. While the first game focused entirely on the first two seasons, the sequel picks up right where the third season begins and runs until the end of the Overhaul saga.
The students of various hero academies are preparing to take part in the Provisional Hero License exam. Meanwhile with All Might retiring, the League of Villains is looking for new recruits, and a nefarious plan by the Yakuza begins to take shape.
Unlike the anime, the story doesn’t feature many animated moments. Instead, the story is told in comic book form dubbed in original Japanese and alternative languages subbed. On the hero side, the story follows the heroes to a T and cuts out anything deemed unnecessary. For the villains, the story accurately follows the story, but there are a few chapters that aren’t in the series and fill in a few gaps. For instance, there is a scene where Himiko Toga joins the Yakuza and we find out how she got Rappa’s blood. It’s not a defining detail in the overall story, but it’s interesting, nonetheless.
I didn’t have a problem with the overall story, as it directly adapted Seasons 3 and 4. However, there were plenty of other issues I did have with the mode. For starters, there was a real unbalance with characters in the story. Each enemy was entirely too easy and I was able to make short work of the story (both Hero and Villain POVs) in one sitting. What’s weird is that the enemy I struggled the most with was the Thug/Gang Members. How is it that nameless characters are stronger than main characters? They became especially difficult when trying to complete a bonus reward of finishing the fight with 80% of health.
To make matters of finishing bonus rewards even more frustrating, there is no “Rematch” button in the in-battle menu. So, when I failed an activity I had to either intentionally lose to hit rematch or go through the chapter again for a rematch.
An added annoyance was that the main characters I fought seemed disinterested in fighting. It got to the point where it was like clockwork. No enemy ever ran directly toward me for combat. They all ran away, making me pursue them to fight. It really dropped the excitement level down and without a difficulty setting this entire mode became overall unappealing.
From a story/fighting standpoint, the outcome of several encounters had little meaning in the overall story. An example of this is during the Provisional Hero License exam. Yoarashi fights Gang Orca. In the series, Gang Orca makes short work of him and Todoroki because of their infighting. In the game, I beat Gang Orca and the next scene was Yoaraski and Todoroki on the ground, beaten. I understand wanting to follow the story closely, but then make Gang Orca impossible to beat and force me to lose. I’d much rather that nuance than there being a disconnect.
My last issue is that there are times where the game inserts dialogue into battles. These are impossible to read as your focus is on delivering combos to your opponent, not reading about their plight and how they feel. To this day, I have no idea what any of the characters said, as my Japanese is still developing and I couldn’t be bothered to look away from my opponent.
The Various Ways to Being a Hero
Aside from the issues I had with the Story Mode, My Hero One’s Justice 2 is still a really good game with plenty to do. The Story Mode does a decent job of introducing you to the new characters like Overhaul, Fat Gum, Twice, Rappa, Sir Nighteye, and the Big 3, which includes my favorite hero LeMillion. When you’re ready for more of a challenge, though, My Hero One’s Justice 2 has modes like Arcade, Missions, and Online Battle to test your mettle.
Personally, I loved the Arcade mode the most. It allowed you to choose a character (mine was LeMillion, of course) and two sidekicks. Then, it took you down a route to face characters familiar to your main character, both hero and villain. Unlike the story mode, these fights were a bit harder and a lot of fun.
Missions is where the game gets really interesting. This mode lets players feel what it’s like to be the owner of a hero agency. In it, you scout and purchase heroes and then dispatch them out into the field to face villains. Most missions have players facing off against several villains and making the right moves before they destroy an area. A couple of added wrinkles are that your health won’t refill after a battle and certain cards add perks to your characters like adding health for a Plus Ultra finish or removing a character from the field entirely. It’s a lot of fun, but the lack of health makes it a lot harder.
The last mode is Online Mode, where players can face off against other players online in either Ranked, Unranked, or Event battles. This is where my time with the game got a hole lot sweatier. Each and every battle was a challenge and suffice to say I got my ass kicked A LOT. Online mode is where you spend your time working up to. Otherwise, you’ll get destroyed like yours truly.
What I found surprising with all of these modes and even in Free Battle is that you’re never able to select the level. Each time the game randomly selects one for you. Not that environments really did anything to change the outcome of a fight, but I would rather have the selection than not. These environments are amazing and are so easily destroyed, with different sections accessible with enough damage. So, why not let us choose where we want to fight?
Overall, My Hero One’s Justice 2 is a really fun fighting game. The gameplay is smooth, the fights are fast-paced and addictingly fun, the load times are like 5-10 seconds, and there are plenty of challenging things to do and customizable equipment to procure. That said, it’s not the best fighting game and there are definitely some issues with the story and imbalance with characters. However, none of that stopped me from having a Plus Ultra time!