My Hero One’s Justice 2 Review — More Sidekick Than Hero
My Hero One's Justice 2 has promise, but features too many let downs that can't be ignored.
Going into My Hero One’s Justice 2, I had no prior knowledge of the franchise. Friends would talk about the show, recommend it, but I still hadn’t got around to watching it myself. What I knew about My Hero Academia went as far as knowing what Quirks are and that All Might was the best. After playing the game, I can safely say that I’m now much more familiar with the series as a whole. It was surprising, but as an outsider to the series, I found the story accessible and its huge cast of characters charming.
Where My Hero One’s Justice 2 lost me was almost the entire rest of the game. The story mode is missing some much-needed quality of life features that would make the game more digestible. And when it comes down to brawling, combat feels clunky and lacks any real weight, leaving what should be a satisfying experience worse for wear.
The story of My Hero One’s Justice 2 takes a running start. The game fairly assumes that you have a familiarity with the show, or at least that you played the last game. Having done neither, I was woefully lost for a while. But eventually, Midoriya’s story of growth and heroism got to me. If I were younger and less jaded, it might have even been inspiring, the same way Naruto was when I watched it way back when. Suffice to say, the game tells the story of My Hero Academia well enough to get a newcomer hooked. There’s even a second villain arc to play through once you finish Midoriya’s story, which only fleshes out what you’ve already gone through.
Between beating up villains or thugs, you’re treated to what is essentially a broken apart manga. From right to left manga frames pop up and subtitles appear to let you know what the characters are saying. It’s a charming style for the first half of the game, then it slowly became less involving, especially during the game’s points of tension. I should point out that the game does have cutscenes, but you can count how many there are on one hand. They only appear during the villain story arc, and while they look pretty good, I can’t understand the decision to not include more. It was also at this point that a couple of the game’s issues stood out to me.
About an hour into playing the story, I looked for an option to have subtitles always on or switch the language to English. Subtitles only appear during the story mode, so unless you speak Japanese, you’ll have no idea what’s being said at any other time. Sadly, in My Hero One’s Justice 2, there are no options for either of those. You have to go through the game reading subtitles and not knowing what’s going on outside of when they’re on screen. Even worse still – the subtitles are low-quality, almost as if the Japanese script was plugged into Google translate. Glaring grammatical errors and clunky writing ended up ruining intense story moments. Sure, looking at the bigger picture, these two issues didn’t change the fun I had playing the game, but they did bring down the overall experience.
In an effort to keep things interesting, My Hero One’s Justice 2 has a couple of other modes besides the standard story and free battle. An arcade mode brings what I’ve found to be the only real challenging fights in the game. Each character has three different arcade routes they can go down, each with five fights catered towards that character. With the rather large cast of 40 characters, there’s plenty to do. It’s not an incredibly interesting mode, but if you’re in the mood for a fight, it does its job.
The game also has a unique mission mode that plays out on a game board. It’s essentially a stamina challenge and you have to beat groups of enemies quickly with one persisting health bar. Naturally, you can run out of health and that causes a game over. However, if you take too long to defeat a group of enemies and they damage the area they’re in enough, you also fail. Missions ended up being one of those modes I played a couple of times and never went back to. It’s an interesting concept but it wasn’t fun or entertaining enough for me to go back for more.
In the end, My Hero One’s Justice 2 is a fighting game, and thankfully, it does well in that regard. The game’s translation of quirks to inputs is satisfying, and with large open stages, you have all the opportunities you need to blast opponents clear across a city block or up through a ceiling. Naturally, this makes for some pretty intense fights. You and your opponent are using your quirks against each other, blasting away the environment as comic style “Bang! and “Pow!” words fill the air.
Here’s the thing – I love fighting games. There’s nothing more satisfying to me than stringing together a combo that erases half of your opponent’s health bar. In My Hero One’s Justice 2, it’s hard to do just that. Hard, but not impossible, and I appreciate that. As a 3D fighting game with open spaces to maneuver in and so many moves that knock away characters, it’s hard to string together those huge combos.
But as I found characters I liked and played with them more, I saw how certain moves could string into others. Eventually, I figured out how some moves would send enemies flying and let loose another attack to catch them on the way back to the ground. There’s a neat little skill ladder to climb in this game, and while I haven’t reached the top, playing at every rung has been enjoyable. That is, when the combat system’s glaring issues aren’t making themselves obvious.
My Hero One’s Justice 2’s fighting system has a couple of major issues. For starters, depth. Yes, it has the semblance of a combo game, and yes, there are character assists, but there are not enough options. Matches at times require little to no thought; both players go in swinging until the other goes down. And that’s a fair approach, considering how mashing the basic attack button homes your character in on their opponent. While this may have been done for the sake of accessibility, it’s another part of the game that takes away from the whole.
What made the combat system in My Hero One’s Justice 2 disappointing was its overall clunky-ness. Everything feels like a struggle to do. Inputs for quirks, although satisfying when they work, are frustrating to get a hold of. Surprisingly, I found it harder to get moves to come out in this title than I have in more traditional fighting games like Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter.
My Hero One’s Justice 2 ended up just making me sad. The game had immense promise but was dragged down by its setbacks. With an interesting story, intense battles, and different ways to play, I should like this game so much more. Instead, I have to draw attention to the issues that have brought down what could be a fantastic gaming experience. I mostly feel bad for this game’s developers, who demonstrate that they have a clear understanding and passion for their source material. Unfortunately, this hero based game proved to be a zero.