Taking a highly popular anime and manga franchise and creating a video game for it has become a tried and true method for many game developers but for many of these series, there is already an extreme amount of content to work with so generally sequels end up being a bit sporadic in nature and feature various upgrades to gameplay and other elements. Well when it comes to the incredibly popular My Hero Academia that extra content isn’t available to the point that the games are bumping up with the current anime arc which is only a few arcs behind the source material. So with Byking and Bandai Namco rushing into a second entry, is My Hero One’s Justice 2 worth it for fans?
Now it is worth noting that My Hero One’s Justice 2 immediately assumes that players are well versed with the series and does almost nothing to actually describe the setting or even the events that take place prior to the start of the game. This means newcomers will be left a bit cold, but the setting takes place in a world where nearly everyone has begun developing “Quirks” that are simply another word for superpowers. To help bring some order to these super powered individuals, a hero system was developed with these heroes taking down everything from average criminals to those who use their Quirks for villainy. The story follows Izuku Midoriya, better known as “Deku,” who attends U.A. High School with the hopes of becoming the best Pro Hero around all while taking advantage of the”One For All” Quirk gifted to him from the former number one hero, All Might.
Now that that is out of the way for potential newcomers, My Hero One’s Justice 2 picks up immediately after the events of the previous game and advances the story all the way through Class 1-A and others taking part in their Provisional Hero exams and working with other professional heroes and even going all the way through to the end of the battle against Overhaul and his fellow Yakuza members in an attempt to rescue a young girl. Once again the campaign tells the storyline using mostly standard stills taken from the anime season and presented in a comic format with Japanese voicework from the original voice actors for each character.
The story, as a whole, also remains told in a fairly unsatisfying manner that sees not only some of the more exciting setpieces take a hit but even a few of the more impactful fights lose some of their punch. There are some new bits written in here and there to provide players with some extra fights, as well as a “Villains” side to the story that can be unlocked, but this story campaign will remain unsatisfying for fans of the franchise and newcomers will want to look to any other source to enjoy it to the fullest. It is worth noting that some unique character interactions do happen outside of the campaign though these are kept to a bare minimum with characters only exchanging an extra line or two of dialogue with their foe after a battle in arcade mode.
In many ways My Hero One’s Justice 2 plays very similar to the first entry in the series as the game remains a 3D arena brawler that sees players taking control of one fighter with two sidekicks that can be called in to provide back-up attacks, stuns, or new in the sequel perform one of their Plus Ultra attacks, this does mean however that the floaty feeling of fights, imprecise movements, and awful camera angles remain problems in the sequel. Players still have easy access to auto-combos that can string together fairly well with super attacks that vary from character to character and usually make use of that fighter’s Quirk being easy to toss out on a whim. There are a few more refinements this time however as players now have access to a dodge and have to worry about a blocking gauge that allows for a guard to be broken even without the use of an unblockable strike.
This leads to some very fast levels of play as fighters can zip around the arena and even climb the walls at times but in interesting fashion, the best way to play sometimes is defensively. With every character having such easy access to moves and the Plus Ultra gauge filling throughout the fight, allowing players to use even stronger finishing moves that vary depending on the level of the gauge, attempting to bait your opponent into making a mistake and then punishing them for it with either an armored lock-on attack or string of combos is very satisfying.
Perhaps the biggest improvement made to My Hero One’s Justice 2 over the original is the fact that it sees the character roster explode to nearly double what it originally was. This sees the addition of characters that are both new to the story arcs featured in the campaign, such as Overhaul and Mirio, to older characters such as Ashido Mina who were left out of the original release. Many of these characters have been given abilities and fighting styles that best match their Quirks, especially true in the case of Nighteye who can change up how a fight plays out with his assists in a fairly unique manner, but it is worth noting that the actual character balance here is incredibly low so players should be ready for some fighters to be simply far stronger than others.
Alongside the story mode and standard versus modes My Hero One’s Justice 2 also includes a few extra modes to help kill some time and these include the aforementioned arcade mode that allow players to take a team into battle and fight against unknown opponents in a string of battles as well as a Mission mode. The mission mode is a survival style gameplay mode as it pits players against a string of battles that have some unique qualifiers to them but with their health carrying over between battles, the survival mode doesn’t really hold together well, especially with the surprising lack of variety in missions despite the large roster.
The online component of My Hero One’s Justice 2 remains fairly standard as players have the option of playing in either ranked or casual fights against others online though the connections of these opponents can be spotty at best. Even when playing against fighters with what appeared to be a perfect connecting the fight would occasionally stutter a bit which is rather unfortunate.
Visuals & Audio
Once again it is clear that the developers for My Hero One’s Justice 2 have paid close attention to the details of the original material as the characters are all nicely replicated from their anime appearances with their special moves and flashy actions really allowing even simple fights to appear as flashy stylish affairs. Customization also returns but once again features some barebones lack of options and recolors of the same object over and over again.
Oddly, despite the company’s willingness to provide an English dub for the recent One Punch Man game Bandai Namco has once again chosen to provide only the original Japanese voice track for My Hero One’s Justice 2 accompanied by English subtitles. This wouldn’t be too much of a problem as all of the original voice actors return to reprise their roles here except for the shockingly large amount of unsubtitled dialogue left in the game with all menu dialogue, character introductions, voice clips in battle, and even winning remarks are left unsubtitled. The soundtrack once again features fairly generic background music that doesn’t really stand out in any unique way.
There is a saying that you shouldn’t fix what isn’t broken but when there isn’t much polish on the original product, some extra effort would be appreciated. My Hero One’s Justice 2 adds some minor improvements to combat and expands the roster to a great degree but carries with it all of the same problems found in the first release in the series. With minimal story additions and presentation, longtime fans will appreciate having some stylish looking fights with their favorite heroes and villains but prepare to find a mostly unchanged style of gameplay as what was found in the prior release in the series.
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