Bandai Namco is no stranger to creating fighting games based on popular anime series. From Dragon Ball to Naruto to One Piece, they’ve made a career out of translating Japanese cartoons into video games dating all the way back to the NES days. This marks the first time that we’re seeing a video game adaptation of My Hero Academia with the new Switch title My Hero One’s Justice. Is it just fan-service for those already invested in the universe, or can anyone pick up and play the new game without being lost?
My Hero One’s Justice’s style of gameplay follows in the footsteps of many of its predecessors in the anime fighting game genre. Depending on the given mode, you will either get to pick or be assigned one of the many characters from the My Hero universe. All have the same control scheme making it easy to pick up any of the fighters and give each a shot to see which your favorite is. I was a bit sad when I found out the game didn’t have every member of class 1-A or some of the other professional heroes or villains. In fact the roster has only about 2/3rds of class 1-A, 3 professional heroes, and 5 villains. It features 12 different arenas from different important locations in the series, with a few of them having a day or night option to them. All are made well; with many parts of each stage being destructible, making fights feel more explosive and intense.
The main draw of My Hero One’s Justice is the story mode. It picks up at the midway point of the second season and about chapter 46 of the My Hero Academia storyline. For those who are familiar with the series, that would be right after the ending of the sports festival. The story wraps up at the end of season 3 of the anime and chapter 94 of the Manga. The way the story is presented to you is via a flowchart of missions and story scenes where you follow the main character, Izuku Midoriya, and his fellow classmates as they all aim to become the world’s greatest heroes.
The feel the developers of this game were going for was that of a comic book, and it comes across very nicely. The story parts of each mission are presented via small comic panels, most beings static pictures with small animations, but some also being fully animated to give some scenes much more punch. More missions unlock as you complete the previous ones in the flowchart.
One thing that I really enjoyed was an addition of small “What if:” missions, where you play through side stories that weren’t present in the show or manga. These allow the game to establish its place in the lore of the series with aspects of the story you can only get from this experience. Once you complete the first storyline, you unlock a second flow chart of missions, but this time you get to play as the villains! This was a surprising and awesome addition to the game that increases its replayability quite a bit. Overall, the story mode of this game is well worth playing through several times and I enjoyed almost every single mission.
There are a few other modes that add a lot of fun things to do outside of the story. The most interesting is the Missions mode, where you have new flow charts of fights contained into a “mission” grouping, but now all these fights have conditions to them that make them much more difficult. A couple of these conditions include health regeneration for the opposing team, or reducing the damage your attacks deal, making the battles even more intense and challenging. If you are thinking that still sounds too easy, I have yet to mention that your health does not return to full after each fight. You need to use special items you gain from completing these missions to be able to gain any health back before your next fight. If you do end up dying, you will take a huge hit to your overall score lowering your ending grade considerably.
There are 6 normal sets of missions that get progressively harder as you go, as well as a score attack mode. This game also has classic versus modes against the CPU or any friends you may have over, and you only need two Joy-Con controllers to fight locally. It’s refreshing to not have to purchase additional accessories to have fun with some friends. There’s also an online versus mode for those itching to fight people across the world.
My Hero One’s Justice also boasts a fun and interesting take on character customization. Though the game does not allow you to create your own hero to fight, which would be awesome, it does have very in-depth customization of its main cast. As you progress through the various modes of the game, you will unlock new items, many of which are from the costumes of the playable characters in either their original form or some sort of color variant. You can use these items in the Customize Character mode, where you can change the outfits of every character to match your own personal tastes. You don’t like the look of a character? Change their outfit to something fitting your own personal liking. It is quite in depth and gives you many options to tailor your own game experience, which can only be a plus (Ultra!).
Graphically, My Hero One’s Justice looks good. There are times when it really shines, but there are also times where it could see some improvement. When it comes to stage design, they generally look decent, with just a few feeling empty and flat. While in docked mode, occasionally the character models seem to get blurry and pixelated, where this is not an issue at all in handheld mode. The Menu is where this mainly happens, but once it is in handheld mode the menus look stunning. The animations of the fighters look amazing while in game and they really make you feel like you are doing some real damage. More than not, this game really hits the mark when it comes to graphics.
My Hero Academia has always been known for its upbeat and action inspiring music, and One’s Justice stands tall with that tradition. It has a very rock-centric OST that really gets your blood pumping for the fight. Though there are not a lot of battle themes, the ones featured are very good and I enjoyed them immensely. One thing I wish they had included in the game is English voice acting. I can appreciate the Japanese acting, but I feel I would have been sucked into the story even more if the English voice cast were included as an option.
I really enjoyed My Hero One’s Justice. I am a longtime fan of the My Hero series and was very excited for this game. It covers a very fun and emotional part of the series’ story, and it does it very well, while introducing some new elements to it that only added to the experience. I would have liked a few more fighters to play as, but the cast it has carries the game quite well with interesting and diverse enough fighting styles. The various game modes and customization give this game a ton of replayability; especially with the second villains’ story line that you unlock once you beat the game. This is a great addition to the anime-fighting genre and I hope the series continues into the future. Although it’s easy to pick up and play and learn the moves, those gamers out there that are already fans of the anime or manga will definitely get more out of the game than those who haven’t yet been exposed.
My Hero One's Justice Review
- Graphics - 7/107/10
- Sound - 8/108/10
- Gameplay - 7.5/107.5/10
- Lasting Appeal - 8/108/10
Final Thoughts: GREAT
Fans of the anime fighter genre of games and of My Hero Academia should really enjoy this game. It has a fun and intense story, great fights, and entertaining music, living up to the high standard that the series has set for it.
Austin Eastwood has been a gamer since childhood starting during the Playstation 2 era. He enjoys everything gaming, from JRPGs to competitive shooters. He also boasts his perfect competitive record in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, in which he won his first game against a friend and never played the game again.