My Hero Academia (or Boku no Hero Academia for some of you) is an action-packed anime series where you follow students of UA High School as they grow to become the next generation of licensed super hero saviors. Despite the weird translation of the game’s name, it is still well grounded in the roots of its parent franchise, bringing forward the unique aspects of its characters and battle sequences.
I’m sure there are still some readers out there surprised that Bandai Namco published another fighting game based on a popular shonen anime. While the game may not be as huge as Dragon Ball or Naruto, it is still a very enjoyable addition to the family.
The characters of My Hero Academia are well suited to life in a fighting game roster, as showcased by their diverse set of abilities. Each character is given a unique take on their moveset and I would highly recommend giving each of them a try at least once. To make the game simpler to play, there’s a Normal control and Manual control mode. The Normal control mode is built for button mashers in mind as one button is all it takes to queue up a ridiculous combo sequence. Manual is better suited for players who want finesse in their moves and feel up to creating their own combos.
While this consideration is welcome, My Hero One’s Justice is far and away from a combat system from more robust fighting games like Tekken or Street Fighter. Missing out on a single block can be absolutely devastating, leaving you locked into your opponent’s flurry of combos while you sit and admire the amazing art and detail. That said, it’s definitely a game that is enjoyable as you experience the fighting styles and powers of the various characters. Due to this, fans of the anime or manga series are more likely to stick with the game.
Navigating the environment and positioning your character in fights are undoubtedly the biggest obstacles to becoming better at the game. Attacks break apart the environment, you can get stuck inside the walls after a powerful combo and if you’re not careful, you can be sent flying out of the arena. Being aware of these mechanics can be the difference between a hero and a rookie.
Speaking of the anime, the game picks up the story from the second season where our main protagonist Midoriya Izuku meets Gran Torino. Anime and manga regulars should be familiar with the Hero Killer Arc, where Izuku and his classmates are taken under the wing of pro heroes to gain experience in the real world. I would love to go into greater detail, but I wouldn’t want to spoil the series for you. The game treats each Story Mode battle as a panel in a comic book, with unlockable items available for you if you complete set conditions. Apart from the fights themselves, the story is told through the use of fully animated cutscenes and semi-animated comic book panels showing scenes directly from the anime. The original Japanese voice actors are used for the dialogues and there’s no English dubbing for the game at the time of this review.
Apart from the Story Mode, there’s a Missions mode used to unlock even more collectibles and an Arcade mode for just straight up brawling. However, the main reason you would continue to play the game after all is the Multiplayer mode. This can easily make or break a fighting game these days, so I expected extra attention to be paid here. I can’t say I was impressed on my first few attempts to test my mettle online. When I jumped into the fray, I realized that there’s no real matchmaking system based on skill ratings. So you could start off facing opponents who are way better than you until you get used to it. This can be a negative experience for newcomers to fighting games, and I would have preferred to have been matched up with people who were on an even footing with me.
One of the positive remarks I have regarding the game has to go towards its customization system. You can completely revamp the look of your characters with iconic gear from different heroes and villains in the anime. This makes unlocking them across the Story and Mission modes somewhat worthwhile. Being a fan of cosmetic items from Dota 2 to Warframe, I am glad that My Hero One’s Justice manages to scratch that itch as well. My Deku outfit ended up looking like a flamboyant cosplayer when I was done with it.
I give it a rating of two Kaminari short-circuit thumbs up. The game undoubtedly does justice to the source material and is immediately familiar to anyone who has played anime fighting games from Bandai Namco. We see each character brought to life in ways that might even be unexpected at first but remain faithful to their style. I look forward to seeing the roster of playable characters increase as the anime progresses and gains even more popularity than it already has. That would probably mean more DLC though, which leaves a sour taste in my mouth regardless of how much I want it