My Hero One’s Justice was a fine game and pretty admirable for a first effort to bring the My Hero Academia anime into a video game. The sequel, unfortunately, fails to build on the foundation laid out by its predecessor and hence feels rather meaningless. My Hero One’s Justice 2 focuses on building its roster and doesn’t seem to offer much in the way of story elements.
My Hero Academia could be an ideal video game if the developers had worked on implementing a story system with a resemblance to how the Persona series handles school life, and an arena brawler that used the basics laid out in the first game. What is the case for the sequel is that there are more characters to fight now and it refines some of the combat mechanics but ultimately, it is still a disappointing follow-up to the first game.
In the world of My Hero Academia, superheroes are a common phenomenon. Anyone who is born with a superpower, known as a quirk, can join an academy to hone their abilities. The focus of the anime is not just on the action but on the interaction between the characters as a whole. This element is something that feels missing in the video game and especially feels like a missed opportunity to tackle in the sequel.
While the main campaign does offer fragments of the story from the anime, it is presented cheaply. Just like the first game, stills from the anime are used to advance the story which goes as far as the fourth season of the anime. While players do get to experience some of the fights from the anime, the awkward presentation makes them lose their impact in terms of the emotional and exciting spectacle that is usually a part of these fights. The motion-comic styled cutscenes don’t offer the same impact.
There is some additional replay value added to the campaign by letting the players tackle another side of the story, this time from the perspective of the villains. This is cool in theory however it mostly retreads on the same plot threads and lacks anything new. It does allow the player to control the villains in My Hero One’s Justice 2, so if that is your jam, then this should be a welcome addition.
As a sequel, the game barely makes any effort to educate the story for newcomers. It focuses on the main protagonist, Izuku “Deku” Midoriya, who is still making his way through the superhero school. Those who are already familiar with the story presented in the anime should have no problem picking it right up, as the story appears to continue from season 3. It doesn’t help the newcomers because there is hardly any explanation for any of the characters, their motivations, or the world in general.
As a game, this one caters purely to fans of the anime. If you are excited over the prospect of controlling your favorite characters, the fighting system is flawed but it does work. It can be fun if you can ignore the flaws of the combat system where the focus is more on flashiness of the fight instead of the deep and customizable combat system. The good thing is that the character roster has been updated and several new fighters have been added which are taken from the latest season of the anime. In this regard, the game doesn’t disappoint however despite having this character roster, not every one of them feels fun to play.
Aside from the story mode, there are a couple of other modes to play in My Hero One’s Justice 2. The usual free-play, arcade and training modes provide a way to experience the combat system without the restrictions of the story. Online multiplayer is supported although in my case, the experience with the netcode was less than smooth. It is usually janky to the point of not being fun for me. The focus on quantity is obvious with more than 40 fighters playable in the gameplay modes, but the same can’t be said about the quality of the combat system.
As an arena fighter, My Hero One’s Justice 2 doesn’t appear to have changed much from its predecessor. It still follows the same gameplay design and focuses on style over substance. Slight tweaks have been made to the combat with a dodge move and a gauge that is used to maintain the ability to block, but aside from that, most of the basics remain the same. It feels like a second-hand attempt to emulate the brilliant Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm series but fails to hit the same quality.
At the end of the day, fans can enjoy this sequel with its impressive character roster despite a lackluster story mode. Those who are hoping to start from this sequel should have better luck if they check the anime first to gain an overview and background of the characters.