Whether you’re a fan of anime or not, the indelible mark it’s made in global pop culture is undeniable at this stage. More recently in the mainstream, series such as Attack on Titan and One Punch Man have scored as great successes and have continued paving the way for further winners such as My Hero Academia (Boku no Hero Academia). Especially as comics have been welcomed mainly into the spotlight out in the West thanks to the Marvel and DC cinematic universes, it was only a matter of time before Japan tried their hand at their equivalent. With three seasons under its belt and episode count of 63, My Hero Academia was ripe for its own video game like many series before it.
The story deposits you in the shoes of Izuku Midoriya, a young Japanese boy. Izuku is a remarkable human in this story because he’s unremarkable, bizarrely enough. In the My Hero Academia universe, the existence of “quirks” means that 80% of the population can manifest a superhuman ability ranging anywhere from super strength, telekinesis, invisibility and anything your imagination can fathom really. While Izuku is not born with a quirk, he manages to catch the eye of the legendary hero All Might due to his innate heroism. Taking Izuku under his wing, All Might passes on his legendary ability to his new student – “One For All”. Imbued with this new responsibility, Izuku becomes the ninth holder of the legendary “One for All” ability and must learn to harness its overwhelming power. I believe a wise man once said “With great power comes great responsibility,” right? My Hero Academia is an excellent example of the anime industry being able to take the more exceptional points of Western comics, while also adding its unique spin and retaining its identity for their audience.
For those familiar with arena fighters such as many of the Dragon Ball games, My Hero One’s Justice follows very much in a similar playstyle. With a stacked roster to choose from between the series heroes and villains, each character has unique abilities and special attacks which focus on different playstyles encompassing speed, power, technique and more. Primarily, this allows for a varied style of gameplay depending on your preference and opens the games up to some exciting counter matchups. Coupled with the inclusion of being able to run/walk up walls and destroy the environment around you also lends itself to feeling much more tangible in gameplay, making you feel like you’re a powerful superhero/villain with crazy powers. To top it all off, the Sidekick System allows you to choose sidekicks who will aid you during battle and provide the ability to execute combo attacks. With all of this wrapped into a super smooth gameplay experience with very few hiccups, My Hero One’s Justice is a poster child example of how honed the art of making arena fighters are at this point.
Following the opening “All for One” arc from the anime and manga, My Hero One’s Justice offers a fairly slim story mode, which is disappointing. The series is very rich in content at this stage of its life, and it feels like it was mostly held back to capitalise financially on further entries in the series. In turn, the game has to rely on the replayability of online/free play modes to retain its audience which indisputably doesn’t offer a lot of variety to players and reduces its overall lifecycle. For those who are a fan of the series English dubs, the game also only comes with Japanese audio. Personally, I enjoyed this immensely and felt it added to the game’s authenticity by using the source material. And if you’re a fan of anime and the art style, expect to be visually captivated by the slickness of My Hero One’s Justice, which has the rough and gritty aesthetic that’s befitting of an underdog superhero series. Coupled with a pop/rock inspired soundtrack, it manages to shape a visual and audio aesthetic that hits the mark time after time and does complete “justice” (haha…) to its source material.
You know when you purchase your favourite packet of chips from the shops, take them home, and upon opening them, find they’re half filled with air? Well, that’s kind of how My Hero One’s Justice feels. It’s slick as all hell, looks great, and has the elements to be a winner because it has a great foundation backed with solid gameplay. However, it’s also just a bit empty and leaves you with the feeling of wanting more. With some minor tweaks, My Hero One’s Justice could have fallen the other way into a “must have” sort of game. Unfortunately for now, though, you’re going to have to satiate yourself with a couple of tasty handfuls and nibble at the crumbs that dropped onto your shirt.