by Jason Parker (Ragachak)
I am a huge fan of the My Hero Academia (Boku no Hero Academia) anime and manga. I love western-style comics, and having it presented in a Japanese style was really interesting. I cannot wait for the next season. To hold me over, I received a copy of MY HERO ONE’S JUSTICE, the 3D arena brawler in that universe, from Bandai Namco. I dove into the training mode and immediately hit upon something. This feels strikingly similar to Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm! With Naruto to Boruto moving to a different style of a brawler, there was room on the roster for a new Ninja Storm game. This is a franchise that is practically built to have a fighting game, but if I’m 100% honest, I would have rather it been a 2D fighter. There’s a lot to love about this game – it’s easy to get into, it’s got the My Hero Academia cast (which is wonderful), each character feels different and unique, much like the anime. But. . . not all is gold in the land of the Quirks.
My Hero Academia is the story of a world where “Quirks” started showing up in people. Think Mutant Powers in the X-Men. The main character, Izuku Midoriya (Deku) was born without a quirk. I’m not going to spoil the whole story, because I highly recommend it, but through the course of events, he winds up with the powerful “All For One” Quirk. So now, he smashes the absolute stuffing out of people. In My Hero One’s Justice, you play as a Hero, with two sidekicks (that come out as assists), and smash your way through 3D arenas, utilizing Quirks, melee attacks, and ultra-powerful Plus Ultra attacks. Combat is very simple – Attack Button, Two Quirks Buttons, Two Assist Buttons, a Dash Button, a Jump Button, and a Guard Button (which doubles as helping you activate Plus Ultra moves). Your assists have a charge meter, and each character does something different. I didn’t see a way to figure out who does what outside of experimentation, which is fine. If you played the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm titles, you’re sure to do just fine in this. On the note of assists, you can call your assists in anytime you have their meter full. In a combo and need a way out? Pop that sidekick. Want an interrupt? There you have it!
The action is very straight-forward in that way, but I don’t think it’s a negative. Not every game has to be insanely deep and complex; besides, they just released Soulcalibur VI for people seeking that out. While it’s a very casual, fun game, each Hero and Villain is faithfully represented. Some are much stronger than others though. Though I’m no professional, I did notice that there is a pretty large gap of power between some of them, but they were still fun to play anyway (Momo Yaoyorozu). However, I did notice that the enemy AI ranges from “Master Tactician” to “Horrifyingly Stupid”, but tends to be more on the lower end of the scale. In almost every match I’ve played in this game, the enemy character runs around the stage like a chicken with their head cut off, until I attack. Then it’s either “counter and blow me away” or “dodge and run away some more”. Even with that, I still had fun, but it was a little bit of a letdown to watch Bakugo run around like a scared child. It’s also important to note that there are two “fighting styles”. You can use “Normal”, which helps you do powerful attacks and combos, and “Manual”, where you have to do everything yourself. It’s interesting to me that the first option is called Normal, but it does help just dive right into fights.
The game follows the story faithfully, but it does so from a very weird point. There’s a story mode, but it begins at the “Versus Hero Killer” arc, the first appearance of Stain. In the story, you play as particular characters, as befitting the story. That makes sense, and I’m on board. You are graded by your performance, and depending on how you do in battle, you unlock cosmetics. Each battle also has its own “hidden” requirement, which gives third cosmetic piece to unlock. There’s a rarity system for these, but they don’t enhance your stats, just your style. There’s no character creation, but you can make some incredible looks for your characters, including, I believe, characters that are not in the game (yet?). There are also some incredible side-battles and What-If style battles to play here, so while it starts awkward, it definitely gets interesting.
The next mode is the more open “Mission Mode”. In mission mode, you pick three characters, and for each mission, you can choose who is the Hero and who are your sidekicks. Each mission has a rating and certain restrictions. Sometimes the enemy will recharge their assists faster, sometimes you can’t go in with assists, they might hit harder, or they might regenerate. Mission Mode is pretty simple and straightforward. You pick a map, pick a stage, select your team and enter battle. You don’t heal between stages though, but at least the mode gives you healing items to restore your health. It got a little repetitive after a while, but the combat is fast and furious enough to keep my attention. This was also a really good way for me to see how certain teams would interact for the greatest challenge – online mode.
Online Mode lets you search out a casual match based on certain parameters, open or find a lobby for casual matches, and the standard Ranked Match mode. Almost every lobby I tried to enter was locked, which is okay because finding a match online after the first day or so was incredibly easy. It was always someone with far more experience, but it was still a fun set of matches anyway. Ranked seemed to always pair me with someone who had tens/hundreds of matches more than me, and never seemed like it would pair me with a beginner (because that’s what I was). The netcode seemed solid, and I do not recall a single burp or bit of lag that couldn’t be pinned on someone’s connection. That’s important, especially in a title like this. The online mode is solid, which is good because I feel like the offline is kind of lacking. There’s of course, the offline arcade mode, which is just a good way of testing teams and farming up some gold for more cosmetics.
PLUS. . . Ultra? 3.5/5
This is the first My Hero Academia game (that I’m aware of), and while it doesn’t blow me away, it was still quite a lot of fun. The camera’s incredibly awkward and it felt almost impossible to keep up with my character sometimes, especially when flying, or running up or down a wall. Not everything in the game was subtitled, like character dialogue in matches. This is especially weird as the game has no English dub option. That’s normally not a big deal to me, but I actually really like the dub voices, so having the option would be nice. But if the game is going to only use Japanese voices, I’d like to know what they’re saying. It’s also missing all of the incredible music from the anime that I was hoping to hear. I like that it’s easy to get into and that it’s very true to franchise it’s built from. The non-Mission modes are kind of shallow, but the presentation really makes this game shine. It feels like it’s a comic, and has all of the over-the-top action and silliness I expected. Not all of the characters from the anime are here because of course there have to be DLC characters. But the vast majority of the important ones are here though. My Hero One’s Justice is quirky, it’s fun, and it’s a good start. I have a feeling the next iteration of the franchise will be much stronger.
A key was provided for the purposes of this review.