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June 2019

My Hero One's Justice

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
Developer: Byking
Release Date: Oct. 26, 2018


PS4 Review - 'My Hero One's Justice'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on Jan. 8, 2019 @ 2:00 a.m. PST

Based on the manga and animation series My Hero Academia, My Hero One's Justice takes place in a world where most of the population has superpowers known as Quirks, and where heroes and villains are commonplace.

Buy My Hero One's Justice

"My Hero Academia" is a Japanese shonen story that's heavily inspired by American comics. As such, it's an interesting fusion of both genres, and that has helped it become a smash hit. In the game world, every person in the world has a quirk — essentially a superpower — and many have used it to become heroes who battle villains to protect society. The story follows a young boy named Izuki Midoriya (codename: Deku), a person who was born without a quirk. Deku encounter the greatest hero of all, All-Might, who is critically injured. His bravery during the attack convinced All-Might to take Deku under his wing and gift him with his superpower: the All-For-One. Deku is soon enrolled in a school for heroes, but nothing is as simple as it seems.

My Hero One's Justice follows the story of the "My Hero Academia" anime and manga. In particular, it follows roughly the middle part, starting during the Stain arc and ending at the fight between All-Might and All-For-One. If those names don't mean anything to you, then you're likely to be pretty lost. One's Justice is designed for fans of the franchise. It doesn't do much to introduce newcomers to the tale, and it's tough to imagine any non-fans finding a lot to enjoy here. The characters are bright and colorful but are shadows of their anime selves, and players who don't have a pre-existing appreciation of the franchise won't find much here to sell them on it.

The combat system in My Hero One's Justice is sort of a fancy version of rock-paper-scissors. You have a default attack button that can launch into a powerful combo. By tapping a direction and hitting this button, you can go into an armored attack, which can break through single hits, and unblockable attacks can be interrupted or easily dodged. The core combat is based around doing your best to land one of these three attacks and converting that into more damage through the use of quirks. You can also block and evade, which are critical to making sure you're not in a bad position should you mistime attacks.

As we've previously mentioned, quirks are special abilities. Each character has a quirk that's represented in a few different ways. For example, Momo can create things. This is represented by her having the power to temporarily power up her weapons, create shields, and generate bombs and lasers to attack enemies from unexpected angles. Todoroki's fire and ice combo means he can freeze opponents in place or set them on fire for damage over time. When Uraraka uses her gravity control power on an enemy, they float helplessly in the air and are vulnerable to large combos.

This is a big boon to the game in that each character more or less feels like their counterpart in the show, which is something that it does better than many similar anime fighters, where the characters feel interchangeable. The downside is that it means some characters can feel incredibly boring because their play style isn't interesting. Main character Deku suffers the most due to this, as his power set (incredibly fast movement and super strength) doesn't translate very well to the game. This may also be why some minor characters are missing, as their skills are difficult to represent in game terms.

The downside to the variety of characters is that the game balance is all over the place. In accurately modeling quirks, some characters are borderline useless, and some are ridiculously overpowered. This doesn't hurt casual play too much, but it means the overall the game doesn't have much value as a "real" fighter. It's too easy to figure out a few instant-win combos with certain characters. It's fine for the story mode, where there's fun in feeling overpowered, but it's difficult to imagine any sort of multiplayer scene having a long life.

There's a reasonable amount of single-player content, but not an excess. There's a rather bland story mode that follows the heroes (and eventually villains) through the events of the anime, peppered with a few mild "what if?" stories. The Mission mode is more fun, as it challenges players to explore a map and level up their characters while completing fights with special objectives. It gets repetitive, especially once you figure out some of the tricks, but it's fun enough as a time killer.

Beyond that, there isn't much to the game. You can play it multiplayer or online, but given the aforementioned balance concerns, there isn't a ton of lasting value. It might be fun to smash your favorite heroes for a bit, but the game basically exists as a chance for fans to play as their favorite characters. There are some really neat ideas here, but the overall experience is fairly bare-bones once the enjoyment wears off of having Froppy beat up All-Might. Some characters only appear by virtue of their unlockable costume parts, even though they're notable presences in the show.

Visually, My Hero's One Justice looks rather nice. It's bright and colorful and captures the feel of the original manga quite well. I'm particularly fond of the onomatopoeia that pops up every time a character attacks, giving the entire thing an appropriately comic-book feel. Generally, it's a bit lacking when compared to the recent Naruto games, but it boasts the nice feature of being able to customize your characters. The soundtrack does a good job of capturing the peppy mood of the show. The voice acting is only in Japanese, which is a bit of a disappointment for a show that has a well-handled dub, especially since one of the unlockables is custom voice quotes for your character — and that loses something when it's untranslated.

All in all, My Hero's One Justice is a fun experience for fans, but that's about its limit. It's faithful to the source material almost to a fault, and it does a great job of including little touches and inside jokes that make it clear that a lot of love for the franchise was included in the game. As a game on its own merits, though, it is thoroughly average. The unbalanced gameplay feels appropriate for the franchise, but it can also lead to it not being very fun for head-to-head play. If you're a big fan of the "My Hero Academia" anime and manga, you'll get your money's worth from this game, but anyone else should wait for a price drop.

Score: 7.0/10

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