Even if you’ve never been a fan of the My Hero Academia anime or manga, chances are you’ve seen or heard about it in some way. Its popularity is due to its non-stop action and eccentric characters that follow a theme of superheroes and supervillains. My Hero One’s Justice is based on the anime and follows a similar gameplay formula to what Bandai Namco has done with the Naruto and Dragon Ball series. It might not be too concerned with gameplay balance or stable online matches, but it does offer a lot of things to do and plenty of fan service for everyone to indulge in.
The gameplay of My Hero One’s Justice is not like a standard 2D or 3D fighting game. Battles are fought in a small arena with destructible objects and hazards that can affect the fight between two competitors. Everything is colorful like the show, which is great since the gimmick of the whole series is comic book superheroes. Fights are done one-on-one, but you can have two allies with you to lend an assist from time to time, similar to how the later entries of the Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm series implemented teams into their fights. In My Hero One’s Justice, you can play as just about everyone who appears in the anime and manga series, each with their own special moves and over-the-top dialogue.
The roster is big and offers a lot of different play styles, but the balance between characters is pretty loose. When you have abilities that allow you to hold an opponent in place for a long time and give you the chance to deal massive damage, the balance might not be at the forefront. There are other instances when the damage received from some attacks might not always be consistent, but you can’t say that they don’t look flashy on screen.
Fights can often be short because of this, but the two out of three round setup will keep things from ending way too fast. Depending on who you play with and how you approach a fight, you can decimate opponents pretty quickly and efficiently. Hazards like ring outs in some stages add on to this, but the majority of the time you’ll be knocking out the competition with big combos and flashy super moves that deal big damage. The destructible environments are a neat touch to everything, but it’s not as dynamic as you might think. Building and other objects can get messed up pretty bad, especially if the fight goes sideways up a tall building. However, characters will often get stuck in the ground or side and look awkward as they wait in place to be attacked again. It doesn’t always look right when someone is sticking out like a pole on the corner of a building.
Outside of local battles and a simple Arcade Mode, the Story Mode of My Hero One’s Justice will have you following events from the anime in a series of fights and comic book panel cutscenes. There are some in-game scenes that compliment some of the bigger fights, of which look way better than the quick and easy comic panels during the main story. If you’ve never seen the anime series or read the manga before, then you might not find this too interesting, but if you’re a fan then you’ll appreciate some of the funny jokes and details that you’ll notice from the show.
In addition to the story mode, Missions allows you to play through a series of fights along various maps with different criteria and stipulations. These maps aren’t difficult, but may take you a bit of time to complete since they’re difficulty and length can vary greatly. The fights aren’t impossible, but you’ll have to be mindful of the health of your chosen characters since it doesn’t fully replenish after each fight.
The extra is My Hero One’s Justice are plentiful, both in customization items for the roster and the gallery. Completing fights and finishing the Story Mode will unlock bonus items to customize the look of any character, as well as an online profile card. You can purchase items with money earned from completing fights as well, but earning them through the Story and Mission modes will be more productive. The Gallery has an assortment of artwork, music, cutscenes unlocked from story mode, and even models you can look at for each character in different heroic poses. It would’ve been great to see extras like specific scenes from the anime, but what is here is definitely abundant. A fun detail is how every option you select in the menus will prompt a catchphrase or sound clip from the characters. This might get annoying after a while, but it can be goofy to hear when you’re exploring the extras for different characters.
Online play can be a very wide hit or miss. While the fighting can be very unbalanced and lead to some pretty one-sided matches, the online connections can also make fights somewhat difficult. The biggest issue is when players leave matches right at their completion, which can be a serious problem in Ranked matches. This might cause players to be stuck on the results screen for a bit, at least until it reverts back to the online menu or you restart the game.
Creating a room online can be good for battling with friends or others who can randomly join online. The matchmaking does a decent job bringing players together quickly, despite some of the other issues that happen during a battle. There are also online events that occur every now and then, which reward players for accomplishing tasks with extra win money to spend on bonus items.
My Hero One’s Justice will definitely appeal to fans of the anime and manga series, even though it has its fair share of issues. The fighting can still be fun to play for those who aren’t familiar with the anime, despite things being a little unbalanced. The story and mission modes are good single player content that will last a good while, though the online multiplayer won’t be as enjoyable because of its various issues. If anime fighting games are your passion, then there’s still some good fun in My Hero One’s Justice.
This review is based on a digital review code for My Hero One’s Justice for the PlayStation 4, provided by Bandai Namco.