My Hero One’s Justice 2 Review – Not Quite Plus Ultra

    Title: My Hero One’s Justice 2
    Developer: Byking
    Release Date: March 12, 2020
    Reviewed On: PS4
    Publisher: Bandai Namco
    Genre: Fighting/Action

Ever since its anime premiered in 2016, My Hero Academia become one of the most popular shonen series in recent years. This all happened during a time when anime and superheroes were both skyrocketing in popularity, so its success is no real surprise.

When a franchise is successful, spin-offs, movies, and video games are inevitable. The first console game in the series, My Hero One’s Justice, was released back in 2018 to a mixed reception. Less than a year later, the game’s sequel, My Hero One’s Justice 2, was announced.

Personally, I was a bit skeptical. Given that I wasn’t a massive fan of the first game, the quick turnaround of the sequel led me to believe that it might just be a reskinned version with small changes. The whole thing just seemed like a cash grab to me. Luckily, I wasn’t entirely right. Though, this still isn’t the My Hero Academia game that fans have been clamoring for, far from it.

https://youtu.be/JbActZIOD78

My Hero One’s Justice 2 is a 3D fighting game most akin to the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm series. It isn’t a full-on fighter like Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat, but it isn’t as arcadey as the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi series. It ultimately comes off as if it wants to be taken seriously as a fighter but doesn’t want to commit to it.

The gameplay itself is the main area where My Hero One’s Justice 2 improves over its predecessor. While the original felt much too floaty and unbalanced, this game fixes those issues. Matches can be challenging and skill-based, and I never really felt like any character had a significant advantage over another.

My Hero One’s Justice 2

My Hero One’s Justice 2 lets players choose between two control modes: manual and normal. Normal is what most players will use, with merely mashing one button over and over again stringing together combos that make you feel like a master. Manual, on the other hand, is for advanced players. The mode forces you to input the right button combinations for combos like a more traditional fighter.

I spent most of my time playing the game in normal mode as I’m certainly no pro fighting game player. While the option to get more in-depth and complicated with the game’s controls and inputs is there, I still don’t really see this ever taking off as a competitive fighter.

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My Hero One’s Justice 2’s plot picks up right where the last game left off. The initial chapters of the story take place during the aftermath of the All Might/One for All fight and wraps up at the end of the Shie Hassaikai arc. While the Shie Hassaikai arc is, in my opinion, the best My Hero arc that we’ve seen so far, that really isn’t much to work with for a story mode in a fighting game.

The game deals with this by adding in fights to the story mode exclusive to the game. Basically, every time two characters interact, they will most likely fight. Remember the small scene where Todoroki sees Endeavor destroying his room because he’s now the number one hero? Well, now it’s a fight. How about the scene where Bakugo uncharacteristically tries to cheer up the class by making Kaminari make a stupid face? You guessed it, also a fight.

This doesn’t make too much sense, but it pads the runtime out enough to get the hero story mode to about 50 chapters. The game also features a villain story mode, which is nearly as long, leading to a full story mode that takes around four hours to beat.

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Each chapter in My Hero One’s Justice 2’s story mode features three extra challenges for players to complete. This adds a level of replayability to the story as you most likely won’t finish all the challenges upon your first attempt at a chapter.

While enjoyable, the story mode isn’t perfect. The whole thing is fully voice acted, (quite well by the original Japanese voice cast, I might add) but is presented in a stilted, comic book-esque way. There are almost no cutscenes in the game as much of the story is delivered through voice acting over still images. It isn’t the worst way to experience this part of the My Hero story, but it certainly isn’t the best.

For the most part, the story mode is incredibly easy. I found myself blowing through most fights, taking almost no hits, and occasionally getting a perfect finish. Sometimes, however, I would get absolutely destroyed. I could never really tell why this was, as the spike in difficulty didn’t seem to have anything to do with the story itself nor my own skill. Needless to say, this was frustrating.

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Aside from the story, My Hero One’s Justice 2 features a few other modes to keep players invested. The two most time-consuming modes will most likely be mission mode and arcade mode. Arcade mode is a fighting game staple, with every character getting three different routes containing six fights.

Sure, Arcade mode gives players another reason to participate in fights, but the rewards for finishing each character’s routes aren’t all that exciting. After each match, the two characters will exchange some dialogue, allowing some characters who have never really interacted in the series to speak. I felt like they didn’t use these scenes to their highest potential. The same could be said for the art that players unlock upon completing each character’s route, which doesn’t look all that good and doesn’t feel like its worth all the trouble.

Mission mode is an entirely different story, however. Mission mode sees players creating their own “hero agency” and recruiting characters with coins earned in fights. Once you assemble your team, you can take on a variety of missions that usually make you go through multiple fights with only one health bar.

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Each character in the story mode has a level the increases after each battle, turning the game into an RPG-lite. Upon leveling up, players can spend skill points to upgrade HP, defense, and attack on each character. This adds a whole new level of strategy to the game, allowing players to create their perfect team and caters to their playstyle.

Speaking of customization, My Hero One’s Justice 2 allows players to customize every playable character fully. There are hundreds of character items to mess around with, varying from simple color swaps to entirely new costumes. As you could have guessed, not every combination of items looks terrific, but this is still a fun way to waste some time and make your favorite character look goofy as hell.

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I enjoyed most of my time with the game, but it certainly had its flaws. I very rarely ran into any slow down or lag, but there were a few times in menus or during ultimate moves that frames noticeably dropped. This also happened a few times during online play, but that could simply be due to poor connection.

One thing that left a sour taste in my mouth was the lack of a complete playable class 1A. Sure, we can have three Dekus, but seven of the main cast didn’t make the cut. Still, they could be added later through DLC, but their exclusion from the core game came off as odd.

My Hero One's Justice 2

My Hero One’s Justice 2 ended up being a solid arena fighter, even with the random performance issues. The story mode could have taken advantage of the cast a bit more, but it’s still a fun way to experience a chunk of the My Hero story. The rest of the modes add some fun distraction, with mission mode being some of the most fun I’ve had with an arena fighter in a long time.

Overall, My Hero One’s Justice 2 will satisfy My Hero Academia superfans but will leave fighting game aficionados wanting more. Still, this is an improvement over its predecessor, but it certainly won’t be blowing anyone away. Though, games like this don’t always need to be amazing; sometimes, a game that I can turn off my mind and play is just what I want.

Score:
/10
A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Jake Yoder

Lover of all things gaming, anime, film and theatre. Shonen anime/manga enthusiast.