My Hero One’s Justice on PlayStation 4
My Hero Academia has taken the world by storm over the last two years, rocketing to become one of the most popular anime and manga around, even over mainstays like Naruto and Attack on Titan. Even with this popularity, surprisingly, My Hero hasn’t made the leap to video games until now, with My Hero One’s Justice. While the anime breaks tropes and blows away audiences, One’s Justice fails to do just that. It falls into the same trap that many anime games do, and while it isn’t a bad game, it also fails to really excel at anything.
My Hero One’s Justice is an arena brawler, in the same vein as something like Naruto: Ninja Storm or Black Clover Quartet Knights. Two characters face off, and can run around the battlefield at free will. One’s Justice has surprisingly simple controls and movesets, with basic attacks mapped to square (on PS4), and Quirk specials mapped to triangle and circle. You can also guard with R1 and dash with L1. It’s a simple combat system that very easy to pick up and play, but timing becomes more important if you play against harder NPCs or better players.
Each character in My Hero One’s Justice has a unique moveset built around how their Quirk functions. For example, Todoroki can freeze his opponent with his quirks opening them up to another combo, while Aizawa can seal his opponent from using their Quirk attacks for a short while.
During my first few hours with My Hero One’s Justice I was worried, as combat felt too simple and formulaic. However, as I kept going I managed to find a rhythm to everything and battles do become a back and forth of you and your opponent trying to find the right opening, the right time to launch an attack.
The strange camera system of My Hero One’s Justice also takes a bit of getting used to. Instead of following your character, the camera stays at a fixed point and zoom, with your character and the opponent simply running around the battlefield. You’ll have to keep track of where your character is and which direction you need to push for various attacks. It seems strange at first that the camera doesn’t just follow your character, but it’s not an issue once you settle into things.
Sidekicks mix things up by letting you call in two other characters to help with an attack. These are mapped to the triggers, and function on a cooldown. Meanwhile, you’ll be building a Plus Ultra gauge during combat, with three different levels that’ll let you unleash three different levels of special attacks, each with an activation window you’ll need to hit.
Stage destruction adds a fun bit of flair to battles, as you crash through pillars, destroy windows, and send concrete flying from impacts. The destruction system is merely a cosmetic change to the stages, but the spectacle of everything is an absolute blast. You can even launch your opponent with a heavy blow and send them reeling toward the wall, only to get stuck in up to their waist with their feet flailing out. Visually, things get extra flair when you hop onto the wall and the camera turns sideways, adding a dramatic frame to the scene.
The combat of My Hero One’s Justice isn’t revolutionary by any regard, and the simplicity may be off-putting for hardcore fighting fans, but what the game does do really well is make each character unique in their own right. The game doubles down on having each character play different and many have unique gimmicks based around their Quirk. Kaminari has more attack power until he uses too much electric energy, Himiko Toga can copy the opponent and turn into them for a short while, and Tokoyami can turn on and off Dark Shadow for extra attack power and moves.
It’s a good thing combat gets better the more you play because boy are you going to be doing a lot of it. The game has a variety of modes to play, all of which are very combat-focused. Story Mode is the first of these, retelling the events between when Deku starts training with Gran Torino, and when All Might has his showdown with All For One. I use the word retelling loosely, as this is the briefest of recaps you could possibly find for the second and third seasons of My Hero Academia.
The entire story, with the exception of a few cutscenes, is told through comic book-style vignettes. There’s a hero campaign and a villains campaign, but the only difference there is really who you’re playing as. The presentation and art of these sections are great, but the actual story content covered is incredibly brief. Really, you’re only given enough context to serve the purpose of a battle, and this goes for any “exclusive” story content too. You have a few “What If” and side story scenarios that pop up in the story, but overall it’s just a few lines of dialogue.
I did enjoy the comic book presentation, but the story mode holds little appeal to fans of the show or newcomers. If you’re looking to experience the story again there are much better options out there, and this is only exacerbated by the fact that you’ll be rewatching most of the same scenes again when you play through the villain side.
While Story Mode feels like a half-hearted effort, there is more interesting content in the My Hero One’s Justice’s other modes. You can play local matches against CPUs or friends in Local Matches, there’s an online mode to play against other players, and an Arcade mode added on with the day-one patch that lets you play through ladder-style tournaments of increasing difficulty. Far more interesting, however, is the game’s Missions Mode.
Missions has you playing through a series of maps that have multiple nodes, each one noting a different battle. These battles oftentimes have specific rules or restrictions, like your enemy regenerating health or your normal attacks doing reduced damage. Each mission map lets you bring in a set party that gains XP as you progress and has health bars that carry over between battles. Winning battles will reward you with food to use that can grant various bonuses, like restoring your character’s health or boosting the rate their Plus Ultra Gauge charges.
This provides a unique challenge with each map as you need to try and manage your characters and items, while also taking on special rules. It’s a much more engaging experience than in story mode, and can be quite challenging at times, really requiring you to dig into the battle system.
Every battle you fight in My Hero One’s Justice rewards you with gold, which you can then use to purchase customization options for your characters. There isn’t character creation, but you can equip all of the game’s characters with wacky accessories, alternate costumes, voice lines, and more. This system heavily leans toward the wacky side, so if you’re into making your heroes look like absolute idiots, you’re in for a treat.
You’ll also unlock quite a few different options for customizing your player card, which stays with you online, but unless you find yourself really into the online mode of My Hero One’s Justice, it’s mostly surface level stuff.
Presentation is at least the one aspect where My Hero One’s Justice absolutely nails it. The game’s menus and comic book story sections all look super sleek, and the cel-shaded graphics are simply stunning in motion. Character’s Quirk abilities are flashy and explosive, and the effect looks fantastic, like you ripped them straight from the anime. Flavor text pops up off of certain moves to add to the anime aesthetic, like the word “Boom” popping up as Bakugo uses his explosions.
Sadly, the game’s audio doesn’t quite stand up. None of the phenomenal music from the anime show up here, instead opting for original music that runs the gamut from surprisingly catchy, to downright annoying. As a whole, it’s not bad, but there are a few songs you hear repeatedly that can start to grate.
Strangely, there’s also a weird lack of English text in the game. Menus and everything are all translated and everything, as well as story scenes, but certain elements aren’t. Menus are narrated by Japanese voice over but there’s no text to accompany it. The same goes for character intros, as the characters speak in Japanese, but unless you understand it you don’t know what they’re saying. It’s certainly not a big deal, but it feels like an odd small corner that was cut.
My Hero One’s Justice may not be the deepest game, in terms of combat or content, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had for fans of the series. Being able to finally take control of your favorite characters is great, and I applaud the game for doing such a good job of incorporating each character’s Quirk into their moves. The game’s story is by far its most disappointing aspect, but between the great presentation and Missions Mode it makes up for it.
If there’s one fault My Hero One’s Justice has it’s a lack of ambition, to really try and go for something inventive and new, like its anime counterpart. Still, if you’re jonesing for more My Hero Academia, this will see you through the wait until Season 4.
Score: 3.5/5 – Fair
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