My Hero Academia has taken the anime world by storm over the last couple of years, pairing superhero origins in the vein of X-Men, where each character has a ‘Quirk’ ability of varying strength and utility, with a classic Shonen coming of age high school drama. There’s internal rivalries within the school, budding romances, personal tragedies, a die hard commitment to doing better and, of course, a menagerie of bad guys looking to tear it all down.
If you haven’t watched it and like to dabble with a bit of anime, then you really should; it’s quite excellent. It was really only a matter of time before this was transformed into a video game, announced toward the end of last year as the clumsily named My Hero One’s Justice in the West – it’s much more sensibly titled My Hero Academia: One’s Justice in Japan.
For anyone familiar with other anime battlers, it’s easy to pick up and play as you knock seven shades out of your opponent in a 3D battle arena. Each character has a mixture of different regular attacks, nicely themed after their abilities in the anime, so the anime’s protagonist Deku has a ranged attack that is his finger flicking shockwave, Bakugo is all violent explosions, all of the time, while All Might is all about his rapid punching fighting style. Use the right shoulder button as a modifier and you can tap onto more bombastic special attacks, utilising the meter that’s built up through your fighting.
It can be quite acrobatic, leaping around and trying to manage the space and distance to your opponent depending on your strengths. Battles can easily shift to battling up a wall and hitting an opponent while they’re in the air will send them flying. Whatever you do, you’ll almost certainly see ranged attacks go wide or simply send each other flying across the arena. There’s a good amount of destruction in the environment with walls that can either be busted through or will crumble and take on a destroyed appearance, while no incidental scenery is safe from being smashed through or knocked around.
The camera frames the action well, sticking to a viewpoint behind your character most of the time, but dynamically shifting to left or right as you move around and the battle progresses. Playing on Nintendo Switch, this take on the manga and anime art style works nicely and feels at home with pretty solid performance coming from Unreal Engine 4. While the amount of destruction is impressively broad, I would say there’s a lack of depth, so destroyed storefronts all have a very similar, basic burning building look.
One of the more recent announcements is the sidekick system, where you pick two extra characters that you can call upon to quickly swoop in and assist in battle, though you can only do fairly irregularly as they have a cooldown. However, this still a one on one fighting game and not a 3v3 tag team, even if that would really make sense for the game’s inspirations. So much of the anime’s story revolves around trying to work better as a team, whether it’s the school tutors forcing Midoriya and his childhood rival Bakugo to work together, or some of the more ancillary characters with more unusual quirks combining, like Kyoka and her headphone jack earlobes, Hanta’s tape dispensing elbows, and Tsuyu basically being a human frog girl. While the sidekick system works well here, thematically it might work better with a tag team system that rewards you for finding a balanced team.
Of course, there’s more than just good guys in this universe, and one of the announcements from E3 was that completing the main story mode will then let you replay it from the villains’ perspective. Those villains can naturally be used in battle as well, whether it’s the arch villain Tomura with his creepy hand mask and maniacal demeanour or the oddly honourable hero killer Stain.
The changed title may be pretty dumb, but My Hero One’s Justice is shaping up nicely for fans of the manga and anime, as well as other 3D battlers. There’s some interesting ideas with the sidekick system, but really this is all about taking the popular