I'm a plural trans woman who's been gaming since she was little. I grew up on Mario, Sonic, and Mega Man X, and I still love to play all sorts of games to this day. I'm also learning to make my own sprites and figurines! I'm the whole nerd package!
Xbox One, PS4, PC, Switch
March 13, 2020
Bandai Namco Entertainment
Small disclaimer before we get started: I have not watched My Hero Academia except for the purposes of this review and My Hero One’s Justice 2 is my first real exposure to the series, so some references will go over my head. Consider me unbiased!
It’s a good day to be a weeb gals, guys and non-binary pals! Following the solid first effort back in 2018, My Hero One’s Justice 2 is here to let the fists fly and look good doing it. Like with any hero there’s a lot to take in, so let’s see if there’s more than just a flashy costume to admire here.
For those who may have not played the first title, My Hero One’s Justice 2 is a 3D arena fighting game based on the anime My Hero Academia, which is all about over-the-top superhuman battles that are rife with visual spectacle. Think the Avengers but way more colourful; what’s not to like about that premise?
Now right off the bat, you’re going to notice that the game has a very in-your-face style of presentation. Every aspect of the menu is designed to take full advantage of the manga medium, as if watching an animated page straight from the source. This is epitomised by the cutscenes, which are presented as motion comics that jump between panels along with voice-overs. It’s a very nice effect that pays tribute to the show’s visual mediums.
This style also carries over to the gameplay, for better and worse.
Each battle is designed to be as action-packed as possible, with plenty of dazzling moves on offer that let you bat your opponent around like a bag of sand, smashing them high up into the air, through traffic lights, or half-way through a wall. Many faces will be getting planted as you tear up the environment around you.
This does however tie in with the game’s most noticeable hindrance, as these amazing visuals do NOT lend themselves well to the framerate. Not to knock the Switch, but a solid 30FPS goes right out the window when a lot is happening on screen, which is very often. Although it is worth noting that I’ve only been playing the Switch version, so this may not hold true on other platforms.
That’s not to say the game looks bad, far from it, but if you’re wanting a silky-smooth presentation you may want to look elsewhere. Regardless, you can tell that a lot of love went into rendering everything, so it’s forgivable to have the game struggle to keep up at times, and shouldn’t be too much of a bother when it mostly happens during pre-set combo animations.
Have a look for yourself with this clip I recorded for the review. Pay particular attention to the creature helping my opponent, they look AMAZING in motion.
As you can see in the footage, the gameplay itself is just as bombastic as the visuals. Combos are fairly easy to pull off (though do take getting used to thanks to an unconventional structure) and you have a good amount of moves to make use of, with each character having their own unique gimmicks to kick butt with. You also have access to Plus Ultra attacks, which can do major damage once you’ve built up the necessary meter. “You have already ceased breathing,” as they say in Punch of the Northern Sun (I’m kidding, don’t come at me).
You’re also joined by two side-kicks who can lend a hand with attacks of their own, and can even do their own Plus Ultras to surprise your opponents. In addition, you can opt to play alongside a friend with 2v2 multiplayer, which can reach Smash Brothers levels of crazy, though unfortunately you need 4 players to do so. Might be a great way to make some friends!
When it comes to the modes on offer, you’ve got plenty to choose from. First of course is the Story mode, which appears to be an adaptation of the original plot and continues on from what was covered in the first One’s Justice. This mode gives you a chance to try out a variety of characters, and is actually split into a hero and villain structure reminiscent of Sonic Adventure 2. As someone who hasn’t watched the show, it’s a pretty good way to get introduced to the universe.
Mission mode features character levelling and pits you against various enemy teams as you build you own. It’s pretty fun and lends itself well to the Switch’s pickup and play mechanics, letting you get in some quick bouts without needing to speed through cutscenes. It’s a great way to get in some practice as you take on greater and greater foes.
Third we have Arcade mode, which is more or less what you’d expect, except here you have different sets of opponents you can choose from and then fight them in any order you want. Opponents here range from fairly tame to absolute nightmares, so there’s something for everyone, especially if you can learn all of the game’s, ahem, “quirks.” Yes I went there.
“Bat your opponent around like a bag of sand, smashing them high up into the air, through traffic lights, or half-way through a wall.”
Those hoping to show off their stuff around the world will be pleased to know that the online multiplayer runs beautifully. I was able to connect to a player in Japan within seconds, and our match didn’t drop a single input the whole way through. I also won, which MIGHT be a sign of the end times.
Now this last feature is a lovely little cherry on top of the overall experience. Each character is FULLY CUSTOMISABLE with costumes, accessories and voice clips, so you can not only master a fighter, but make them your own too. Want to run around as All Might dressed to the nines in trans rights colours? You can! Provided you can earn the currency for it though, which can be done just through regular gameplay. Your main is an investment!
Obviously, if you’re a fan of My Hero Academia, you’re going to get more out of this title. Although even if you’re completely new to the series, it’s still definitely worth a look. Who knows, you may end up like I did, watching YouTube vids to see how the game compares to the show and then considering binge-watching the entire thing once this review gets published…
Overall, My Hero One’s Justice 2 is just an all-round good time. You’ve got fast, over-the-top gameplay that’s easy to learn but with room to experiment. There’s a cavalcade of varied and visually engaging fighters, and plenty of content to find and enjoy, all accompanied with fun music and graphics that make Dragon Ball Z look like a Skype call. It’s the whole package, pressed up against skin-tight spandex.
Suit yourself up and hold on, because this game gets an A+ (ULTRAAAAAAA)!