The My Hero Academia franchise has seen some significant growth over the last year, especially with the recent movie, My Hero Academia: Heroes: Rising, having a highly successful run through cinemas in both Japan and the West. The anime adaptations have done well to add to Kohei Horikoshi’s original manga in their own way and game developer Byking’s first dive into MHA, My Hero One’s Justice, did much the same. Unfortunately, 2020’s sequel My Hero One’s Justice 2 feels as though it was created without a clear idea of how to improve on its predecessor.
In MHOJ2 you will once again enter a world where superpowers exist as the norm and people can strive to become “Heroes” as a profession to gain fame (and keep the public safe, of course). The game’s story mode picks up at the end of the fight between All Might and All For One and follows the anime all the way to the end of the Shie Hassaikai Arc. The story mode is presented in a similar fashion to MHOJ, using screen grabs from the anime to create motion comic-style cutscenes to fill in the important story beats between the fights you engage in. Most of the fights attempt to replicate the major battles from the show one-to-one, but MHOJ2 also brings new sub stories to the table which serve to give a little bit more meat and show some of the events that were merely implied in the anime, like that one time Bakugo dragged Kaminari behind some bushes to rough him up a little after making a joke about him.
Don’t mess with Bakugo, you might regret it!
Midoriya, that’s no way to treat your Sensei
Outside of the story, you also have Mission Mode, Freeplay and Arcade Mode to keep you interested. Mission mode is pretty straight forward; Create your team and, with a single life bar, try and complete all the fights on each of the boards to gain costume pieces along with other rewards. One thing that did confuse me with Mission Mode was the need to ‘purchase’ existing characters using in game credits, which are earned through fights. There’s no clear reason why this was implemented aside from adding longevity with a needless grind. Freeplay allows you to fight against the AI or with your friends locally in standard one-on-one battles or with support characters. The most fun I had was with the Arcade Mode, where once again you choose your team (no restrictions on characters this time) and are put through your paces fighting random foes. The big draw to Arcade Mode for me is seeing the fun little conversations between your chosen character and their foe after you win each fight. Depending on the combinations of characters, you’ll be treated to a few fun lines of dialogue that feel like something Horikoshi would’ve written himself, staying true to the personalities of the characters.
Combat in MHOJ2 is fairly straightforward with two styles to choose from – manual and normal. Manual gives you the option to string together basic attacks with your Quirk abilities whereas normal will automatically string these together for you. It’s nice to have the option to manually combine attacks, especially with characters that have AEO Quirks, or Quirks that pop the enemy up and allow you to start a combo. In all honesty though, you can make it through the entire story using ‘normal’ mode, which lets you get by on just mashing buttons while giving you a plethora of bright and flashy visuals in reward. In some story fights, and in arcade fights, you can also choose two supporting characters to call in periodically for support attacks, which allow you to take advantage of their Quirks to either start an attack or help get you out of a tough situation. The only new feature added for combat in this sequel are the team-up ‘Plus Ultra’ attacks. If you have the right combination of characters chosen, you can unlock a special cinematic showing all three characters working together. These team-up attacks are definitely a highlight as they offer a nice bit of fanservice and really show off some of the fun relationships that characters have with each other.
When you and the boys are ready for a night out…
And only one of you makes it past pre-drinks
The roster of characters available is definitely one of the more successful aspects of My Hero One’s Justice 2. With thirty-eight characters available from the moment you turn on the game, you’re spoilt for choice between your favourite ‘heroes-in-training’, licensed heroes and villains from multiple arcs of the anime. There is a little more variety in play styles this time around as well. Even though most of the core cast are fairly straightforward to use, very quick and agile fighters deal a small amount of damage in comparison to the tank-ier characters, which tend to handle like you’re trying to turn a semi trailer. When you do manage to close the distance with your opponent though, you’ll be rewarded with a good chunk of your foe’s life bar removed.
Overall, MHOJ2 feels like a bit of a misstep when put alongside the anime, movie and manga counterparts. Most of the content included could have easily been pushed out as DLC for the original game over the last year, rather than a whole new title priced at another 80 bucks for a rehashed idea. Unfortunately, there ain’t enough “Quirks” to this game to really make it stand out in a genre that has had such a boom in the last few years.
Reviewed on PlayStation 4 // Review code supplied by publisher