My Hero One’s Justice 2 is the second fighting game based on My Hero Academia, arguably one of the most popular anime in the world. As its title suggests, My Hero One’s Justice 2 is the follow-up to 2018’s equally awkwardly titled My Hero One’s Justice -- and it's every bit as bland as its predecessor.
My Hero One’s Justice 2 boasts a lot of different modes, each of which is enjoyable in its own right, if not a bit repetitive at times. Story mode focuses on retelling recent events from the anime, centring on the Provisional Hero License Exam and Shie Hassaikai arcs. This does feel somewhat like a double-edged sword; on the one hand it’s really cool to be reliving those moments and taking part in some truly iconic battles, but on the other hand, it all feels so recent -- it would have been nice to experience some original content. Story mode does offer this to an extent, giving the option to replay it as a villain to get another perspective on the story, but still, it all feels like you're retreading very familiar ground.
There seems to be a real leap in difficulty with story mode, most noticeably once the Shie Hassaikai story arc starts. Canonically this makes sense, as these opponents would be more powerful, but in practice, it’s extremely frustrating to have such a noticeable difficulty spike.
As a fighting game, My Hero One’s Justice 2 lives and dies by its gameplay. Controls are well explained through various tutorials in the early chapters of story mode, and pausing the game gives an overview of commands for the current character, which is useful for handling heroes other than Deku, who you play as in the tutorial chapters.
Charging up the Plus Ultra bar, which has three levels, allows you to unleash a special move for your main character, your sidekicks, or for all three of you. The game does ask you to be annoyingly precise with your button pressing, though, which leads to a lot of misused Plus Ultra charges. Irritating when you think you’re about to unleash a perfectly timed move only to find yourself throwing out an attack at half the power you were expecting. Some character matchups also seem extremely lopsided, and against certain opponents it’s often easy to find yourself caught in a whirlwind barrage of attacks – literally if you’re against Inasa Yoarashi.
Elsewhere, mission mode has the player creating their own hero agency to undertake a series of missions. You can add characters to your agency roster by scouting the playable roster, which gives you the option to choose between both heroes and villains.
With a world of dynamic fighters at its mercy, you’d be forgiven for thinking that My Hero One’s Justice 2 would be able to offer variety with a wide array of fighters, but in reality, it all just falls a bit flat. Some characters are certainly more fun to play as than others, namely the Big Three, but for the most part, you can barely tell the difference between each character and their individual quirks. Certain character personalities and quirks translate a lot better to a fighting game setting than others. For example, villain Himiko Toga, wielding her knives, is a lot better prepared for a brawl than pro-hero Sir Nighteye and his ink stamp.
Moving on, free battle and network modes give the opportunity for local and online multiplayer respectively. Online matchmaking is a relatively painless affair, for both ranked and unranked matches. Again, though, character balance is quickly called into question -- especially if you're playing online.
My Hero One’s Justice 2 also offers standard arcade and training modes where you can practice your skills. Arcade mode offers the chance to see special interactions between characters who might not normally speak to one another, or characters who are largely ignored in story mode. A decent incentive to complete an arcade run and mess around with team rosters.
Aesthetically, My Hero One’s Justice 2 looks great and faithfully sticks to the art style of the manga and anime. However, this can often be to its detriment, as story mode is presented through comic panels which are often lengthy and fairly tedious to sit through. Of course, our earlier gripe about retreading old ground doesn't help matters here either. But characters and locations do look the part, with environmental destruction offering a cool visual gimmick across the course of battle. This kind of interactivity adds a nice sense of depth to each encounter.
Any fight you complete earns you hero coins, which can be used to scout characters in mission mode, or to purchase items for customisation, of which there are a plethora. These items can also be unlocked by meeting certain battle conditions in story mode, and there’s such a wide variety of that you can really go to town on customising your hero, from special gauntlets, to headgear and beyond.
Once the novelty of playing a game within the My Hero Academia world wears off, all that’s left is another fairly average arena brawler. Different modes aren’t enough to make the title stand out, and ultimately, My Hero One’s Justice 2 offers an experience which, although enjoyable, is forgettable and somewhat bland. It's safe to say that we expected more from this sequel.