The hype train for My Hero Academia keeps running as the series continues to gain steam, maintaining it’s popularity across the world. The anime and manga continue to do well, and the recent movie was well received by fans as well. It’s only been a little over a year since the release of My Hero One’s Justice, but Bandai Namco won’t stop there. My Hero One’s Justice 2 continues the trend, making small improvements to the formula and adding more content. Is it worth jumping into One’s Justice a second time?
The story of My Hero One’s Justice 2 takes place shortly after the first game, during the third season of the anime. All For One has been defeated, but of course, the League of Villains haven’t given up. This arc introduces new characters like U.A.’s Big 3, Fat Gum, and of course, a new villain to pursue. Kai Chisaki, also known as Overhaul, devises a plan to develop a serum that has the ability to eliminate quirks. Using a little girl named Eri for the experimental procedures, he works with the League of Villains to reach that goal. Of course, the students of U.A. and the other heroes aren’t about to let that happen. Players will fight through a series of one round battles, which will take a handful of hours to complete.
The story goes through the second half of season three and works its way up to the halfway point of season four. While most of the story is borrowed from the anime, there are a few extra bits of detail here. The narrative presents itself with a motion comic style, much like the first game. On occasion, there will also be CG cutscenes, albeit heavily compressed. It’s not quite the presentation of something like Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, but it gets the point across. If you played and enjoyed the previous game, it will feel pretty much identical. At least the Japanese voice cast helps to keep it entertaining, though it would’ve been nice to have the English cast too. If the One Punch Man game can have the English voices, surely the more popular My Hero Academia game can too.
While the Japanese voices do well, there are some issues that come up in the localization. First of all, the localized text isn’t a perfect translation, though it’s only minor changes. This is apparent if you just pay attention to certain bits of dialogue like when Himiko Toga vocalizes “Izuku-kun”, only for the text to say “Deku”. Again, it’s minor changes, but it loses some of the meaning in some cases. The other issue is that there are moments in the game that lack subtitles. Things like character intros, menu dialogue and even unlockable voice lines lack subtitles. While the story mode has it, it would have been nice to get just a bit more.
Story mode will also have a villain side, which gives those characters a bit more of the spotlight. There are a few flaws with the overall presentation though, as some fights will have you play as the losing fighter. Deku’s fight against Sir Nighteye for example has you defeat the pro hero, even though in the anime, Deku could barely touch him. There’s also the fact that some missions have side stories, which are pretty easy to miss. It would’ve been better to just have them separate as their own standalone mission, even if they’re optional. Finally, the difficulty is overly easy for the most part. The one exception to this is battles against generic thugs. They have ridiculously powerful attacks that they spam, and it makes little sense in the context.
Aside from the story mode, there’s also a Mission Mode, which gets a bit more creative. Players can recruit different heroes to form their team, and they’ll fight through mission boards to gain experience and level up. The mode pits you against characters in custom outfits, which adds a bit more fun, though the outfits sometimes feel a little too ridiculous. Players will move on the board to select their next match, powerups, and eventually defeat all their foes. The way it plays is a little unusual, with your player token unable to move until an enemy is defeated. This means when you fight a match, you’ll come back out on the previous space before the fight.
Mission Mode is a decent distraction for those that want a bit more meat to their game. You can unlock some cool customizable features this way, so it might be worth it for those that want to dive deeper into that. For fighting game purists, there’s the Arcade Mode, which works more like your traditional fighting game format. You choose your team, one of three routes, and then you flip cards to reveal your opponent. You end up fighting all of them, so it’s unclear as to why you flip cards in the first place. Finishing an arcade route with a character earns artwork for your player card, but otherwise, there isn’t much incentive. There’s slight banter between characters after each match, but otherwise, the presentation is a bit dull.
While the modes present options for players, it all comes down to how the game actually plays. My Hero One’s Justice 2 is a pretty casual arena fighter. Those looking for something a bit more competitive will likely be disappointed. The roster of nearly 40 characters lack balance, and many characters have a disadvantage in battle. That isn’t to say that they aren’t fun to play, as many of the character feel distinct in the way they move and fight. That being said, the game mostly boils down to hitting the attack button for an auto combo. There’s two quirk attack buttons, and depending on who you play as, these could be useful. You can jump, dash, block, and even charge attacks or perform unblockable strikes.
While the auto combo makes the game feel rather simple, the game does offer a bit more complexity. The Plus Ultra meter will build as you dish out and take damage, allowing for flashy super attacks. While not exactly a 3-on-3 fighter, My Hero One’s Justice 2 allows players to pick two sidekicks. These characters will appear briefly for an assist attack, or even a Plus Ultra if you have the meter available. If you have a full meter, the sidekicks can even join you for a Plus Ultra All attack. These attacks can be messy, with tons of action making it hard to read. If you choose a specific team, you may be able to perform a special Plus Ultra All attack, which is more of a cinematic and much more pleasing to watch. Sadly, filling the meter takes a lot of time and effort.
One of the strongest points of My Hero One’s Justice 2 is the visuals. While there are definitely better looking examples, this game does maintains the charm when it comes to the characters. They animate well, especially during their Plus Ultra attacks, and they keep the spirit of the show alive. While some characters, like Sir Nighteye for example, lack detail, others are recreated to perfectly fit their anime design. There’s over 20 stages to fight in, and they’re nearly all destructible environments. Some stages even offer multiple areas to fight in when walls or floors break. While the visuals are pretty good though, watching the game can be quite the task. The camera moves around pretty sporadically, especially when the fight shifts to a wall. Yes, on occasion, the battle will shift to the characters fighting on walls.
The game offers online multiplayer with casual and ranked modes, and even offers special events to earn extra rewards. Online works well for the most part, though matchmaking can sometimes take a little time. Local play offers a lot of the same features, but includes one new feature with a 4-player mode. Sadly, it’s more or less the same as a normal match, but another player can take control of one players sidekicks. It would’ve probably been better to have a Power Stone like mode to make it feel more like a party fighter. Unfortunately, it feels more like an afterthought.
The game has a pretty solid music track, keeping the energy pumping during matches. As mentioned earlier, the voices are all well performed and diehard fans will likely be pleased with them. Character customization helps to add some personal flair, but sadly, that’s really it. There are a lot of ways you can dress up a character with accessories, but some of the characters lack full costume options. Considering the game doesn’t offer alternate colors by default, this helps to distinguish your fighter a bit more. Even in the case of a mirror battle, the game doesn’t change any colors, making it easier to lose track of your own fighter. Even so, if you ever wanted to see what Deku looked like with Mt. Lady’s mask, this is your chance.
While the game can be appealing to My Hero Academia fans, there is one big problem the game needs to fix. In my experience, my game crashed multiple times. This mostly happened during the story, sometimes during a motion comic sequence, and once during the final battle. It’s not enough to make the game completely unplayable, but it was a frustrating issue nonetheless. For a fighting game to crash as often as this one, it makes one wonder how much QA testing went on. The game also has some surprisingly long load times, and that diminishes the experience a bit.
Overall, My Hero One’s Justice 2 delivers some decent fan service for fans of My Hero Academia. It’s far from perfect, but fans might still have fun with the title. Personally, I’d prefer a genre change to an action RPG, as that would honestly fit some sequences better. Either way, the game still offers flashy visuals and perfectly spotlights the lovable characters from the series. While it’s definitely a casual anime arena fighter, there are definitely worse examples. The game has a certain flow to the fights that feels really good to play. Despite some performance issues and overly simple gameplay, it still offers some fun. If you enjoyed the first one, then chances are you’ll also enjoy this iteration as well.