Silly name aside, My Hero One’s Justice managed to do a sterling job of translating the characterful manga and anime action of My Hero Academia into a 3D arena brawler. Chronicling the beginning of Midoriya and All Might’s rather brilliant antics, it brought the characters from the TV show and the comic book pages to vibrant life and did a great job of putting you in control. Now, with the anime having carried on for a couple more years, Bandai Namco decided that it was the perfect time to follow things up with the still nonsensically titled My Hero One’s Justice 2. Luckily for all involved, the game makes much more sense.
Picking up right where the first game left off means this is one for the fans in terms of narrative. Not only are you getting a story that’s half-way through, it means that the opening few chapters are all centred around the student’s moving into their halls of residence, which felt like filler in the TV show, never mind in the game. At least they’ve manage to squeeze in a little more conflict by having the students randomly fight amongst themselves. Moving can be stressful, alright?
Building on the last outing, the story is told via fully voiced, semi-animated comic book panels, and while it works perfectly well, I was left hankering for the actual anime. I guess that’s what Crunchyroll is for. It’s great that it features the original audio though, and the Japanese voice actors’ performances shine through, keeping things more than lively enough for the story mode’s four or so hours runtime. It’s well worth getting to the end, if only for the wealth of visual customisation unlocks for your characters.
The central gameplay is all about beating each other to a pulp – but cheerfully! The bright, cel shaded visuals are absolutely perfect, and the entire cast look exactly like their anime selves. You’ve got a choice of controls, with the game’s Normal setting allowing you to pummel single buttons and watch your fighter do amazing things, while Manual changes things up and lets you take full control of building your character’s arsenal. Depending on how you play, both styles are utterly valid, though Manual will reward those looking for more of a challenge with the ability to extend their character’s repertoire beyond the same canned combos.
As before, you’re picking a main fighter and then two heroes to be your sidekicks, who can occasionally be called in to put the super-powered boot in. As you’d expect, they’ve thrown a bunch of new characters into the roster, with a mixture of Midoriya’s classmates that were overlooked for the first game, like Mina AShido and Minoru Mineta, and new characters like Overhaul, Gang Orca and Lemillion. They’ve improved the menu system for this selection process, which is a very welcome quality of life improvement over its predecessor.
My Hero One’s Justice 2 certainly isn’t short on content. Alongside the Story mode there’s a singleplayer Mission mode that plays out much like other fighting game survival offerings. Designed to emulate the idea of running your own Hero Agency, you choose your central fighter and sidekicks, and head out on missions to beat some nefarious do-badders.
Each mission features a series of routes, and villains in key positions along them. While a villain lurks in place they can do damage to the area they’re in, so it becomes a race against time to battle each Villain before they reduce an area’s HP to 0. Your character only has the one health gauge as well, meaning you have to try and ensure you’ve got enough left in the tank to beat the rest of the baddies on the map, or take a detour to an item that boosts your HP back to full. There’s actually some light tactics needed to successfully navigate through each mission, but the key draw is yet more unlockables for your character.
As with pretty much any fighter out there, it’s the versus modes that are going to have the most long-term appeal, and My Hero One’s Justice gives you both offline and online options to sink your fists, feet and improbably long tongues into. Free Battle lets you grab up to three friends to duke it out offline. It’s not what you’d call a true four-player arena battle experience, as one half of each team has to take control of the main hero’s sidekicks, waiting for the sidekick gauge to fill before joining the fight, and they’re prevented from finishing the opponent off as well.
The standard head to head mode is where it’s really at, with the expanded rosters featuring forty of the brightest stars from My Hero Academia to throw at each other across twenty five different arenas. That’s the same for the Network modes where you can find Ranked and Unranked battles to discover how far down the pecking order you really are. It’s a blast to see some of the character’s you might not have spent too much time with in glorious action, and there’s some extra weekly Events to give you something to work towards beyond online glory.