My Hero Academia is an extremely popular anime (surprise, surprise). So it was, at least for me, a joyous moment when a game was announced. I’ve spent ages watching the show, so I really wanted to handle these characters for myself.
The first game, My Hero One’s Justice, was a 3D arena fighter. Given the popularity of the show, it had a lot of fans already supporting it. Many objected to the 3D arena structure and would’ve preferred a 2D fighter. I was in that boat, but when I played it, my views changed.
If you look at the 3D arena fighters we have these days you can see the results are…mixed. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4, Kill La Kill IF, One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows, The Seven Deadly Sins: Knights of Brittania, Black Clover: Quartet Knights, and many more have shown mediocre results. One Punch Man and 7 Deadly Sins are especially disappointing.
But, alongside Storm 4, One’s Justice and its sequel strived. One problem with the Storm games is that all the characters feel same-y. They all only have three main combos: One that knocks away, one that slams down, and one that shoots up into the air. Though the combos all look different visually, they have the same function.
Not in One’s Justice, though. In both games, every character feels distinct and they all have their own styles. This works because, in the anime, each character is kind of represented via their quirks. And each character they chose for the line-up got their quirk translated perfectly.
Here’s an example:
Take Uraraka and Kirishima. Uraraka has Zero Gravity, so anything she touches can become extremely light. In her moveset, she can pick up to three rock chunks and have them float behind her. They can then be kicked or launched with a chunk of debris she grabs.
And quite a few of her moves force the opponent into a “float” state, where they can’t move and perpetually float upwards for a short while. These moves help Uraraka play a bit of a mid-ranger with her rocks and help get in close to disorient her opponents with Zero Gravity.
Kirishima is a close-ranged fighter just like Uraraka, but he’s playing a different game. His quirk is Hardening, where his skin turns rock solid and he gets a massive defense buff. His specials aren’t meant for long ranges, as one is a lunging grab and the other is a three-hit combo.
The star of the show is his Hardening, where Kirishima hardens his body. This acts as super armor for a short while, so if the opponent isn’t careful, Kirishima can endure the hits and take advantage. The disadvantage? He gets really slow, even in his combos. And while he can armor through most attacks, he still takes damage.
As you see, he and Uraraka both want to get in close, but while Uraraka has some projectiles to help aid her, Kirishima must rely on his hard skin to tank through even the most persistent zoners.
This game isn’t just good at making two distinct characters, but they can make characters with very similar abilities feel unique all the same. Another example, Toga and Twice.
If Toga steals blood from her enemy she can transform herself to look like them with their quirks and all. While Twice can make copies of anyone so long as he gets their exact measurements. He can make multiple copies, but subsequent copies get weaker, though that’s not really explored in-game.
Toga needs to hit the opponent with at least one of the five syringes she throws out for a special move. The more syringes she lands a hit with, the longer she can stay transformed. When transformed, she looks like her opponent with a pink aura and can do some of their moves.
Twice has a short-ranged special that measures up the enemy and lets you summon a clone with another special. The clone moves in conjunction with Twice and will disappear after a short while.
It seems Twice is a worse version of Toga, especially with his special to transform being a shorter range and has a shorter duration. But where Toga can stay transformed for longer, she can only use her target’s normal attacks, no specials.
Since each character plays very differently, this can really help in unfavorable match-ups (Copy Iida, and you’ll get his speed!) To help compensate for the lack of access to specials, Toga can use the assists of her opponent while locking it for them as well. So you can essentially turn it into a 5 on 1!
Twice needs to use his short-range special to copy the opponent, but it’s combo-able. Once you measure them, you can use another special to summon the clone.
As I said, the clone will disappear after about five seconds or so, but you have access to the character’s full move-set, specials, and all. It can be hard to control since they copy Twice’s movements exactly and speeds differ between characters, but it can really trip up the opponent.
So where Toga steals her opponent’s identity in an attempt to even the match-up a bit, Twice wants to overwhelm the opponent with clones and get them to slip up.
See? It’s cool how two similar characters differ in a drastic way that makes one more preferable than the other. That makes this game special because many other games will make everyone play the same, like Storm 4, or it will make multiple character types to fill the characters into (Atk, Def, Hlr, etc.), like Quartet Knights or Shinobi Striker.
Another cool thing is the look of the game. Dragonball FighterZ goes for the look of the anime and, because it’s a 2D fighter with no control of the camera, they can use perspective and other camera tricks to make intros or ultimate moves look very cinematic and true to the source. One’s Justice (2) doesn’t do this because it’s in 3D, but it still looks like the anime.
The models are smooth and have a very anime aesthetic, with fluid animation. It isn’t trying to trick you into thinking you’re watching something in 2D, and it doesn’t look overly realistic like how Jump Force is.
There are multiple particle effects and comic-book action phrases for when an attack connects. This helps give the game a unique style and makes it stand out amongst the other bland anime games of the genre.
Destructive stages are a part of the game as well, and I think it makes you feel the impact of the quirks. The floor, walls, and other items can be knocked away or can break. While it feels good to destroy the stage, it’s a bit too easy.
During the action, seeing things fly around you can be fun when you’re tossing out fireballs or running around in the heat of the action, but if you slow down and, for example, run into a table, it will instantly break. When the stage is completely destroyed, no matter the stage, it will just become a basic flat stage.
I’d like it if there was an option for tougher environments, where they have an invisible health bar that depletes over time. If you’re knocked into something destructible, like a table, you’ll bounce off and it will take damage. I think it could be fun to have both players bouncing off of the stage in places you didn’t expect.
Alternatively, there could be another option for respawning environments. The charm of Gran Torino’s House or The League of Villains Hideout is lost when it just becomes a static flat stage. It could be cool to have the chairs and other set pieces slowly fade back into existence to be destroyed once more. It could make things more hectic, and I’m all for it.
This game is also a master in customization. Now, I’m not one for dressing up my characters because I like to see the characters in their original outfits. But there are so many fun items to choose from that it gives each player a look for their main that’s distinctly their own.
I wish you could give your assists costumes as well for the few characters that have a team special, but maybe they figured performance would take a hit if there are too many customization items. Plus, assists have to come reliably when called, so the game might not want to load tons of items each time or else it might look a little shoddy.
Most of the characters can have iconic features removed, like Overhaul’s mask or Iida’s helmet, so it isn’t restricting. It’s cool to have the U.A sports outfit, the school uniform, and some other unique outfits (some are DLC). But those outfits come in like six different colors. All outfits share the same six color schemes but that makes it so that if you like the way the costume looks, you’re not restricted by it not being a certain color.
The customization items also reference some other pro heroes and villains, so while they might not be playable, they still can be represented masterfully.
I kind of wish there were more interactions like other anime games do. Let’s use Dragonball FighterZ (DBFZ) as an example.
During the intros of that game, there is a chance that the character you chose will say something unique to specific characters. In One’s Justice, that just doesn’t exist. You have to buy the unique lines with in-game currency, then attach them to presets.
It would be better if it was naturally in the game, as it would kind of encourage new match-ups, but that just never happened. There are only about 5 or so unique interactions per character for the intros and victories, but they say quite a lot for specials and un-blockable moves.
I would’ve preferred more interactions for more than five or so characters, rather than cramming so many lines within that five-character limit. You’ll never hear some of these lines unless you turn the music and SFX down, so more intro and victory lines would be appreciated.
I mentioned before that this wasn’t the genre people hoped for with this series, and instead wanted a 2D fighter.
While I do love that genre of games, making it an arena fighter was better. This way, the explosive and crazy quirks of each character can fully shine through. Iida wouldn’t be able to run around in 2D and Mirio couldn’t really show off his Permeation with such limited movement. It definitely isn’t impossible by any stretch to make movesets for a 2D fighter, though they’d have to limit the impact of the quirks.
For a comparison, take DBFZ and Dragonball: Xenoverse 2. Xenoverse, to me, isn’t that fun of a game, though I know it has its fans. The stages are too large, and there aren’t really any cool moves. And there are TOO MANY CHARACTERS. A lot of the characters are either clones or are fodder characters like Raspberry or Cell Jr. No character really has a moveset to call their own, and with so many characters, moves and animations are easily recyclable.
While DBFZ has its fair share of clone characters, every character is meticulously crafted to reference the anime and manga to a tee. And the voice work is impeccable, with multiple lines that show the character’s personality. In Xenoverse, the models look strange too.
While DBFZ goes for an anime aesthetic, Xenoverse goes for a shiny Barbie doll approach. The characters are glossy and look too realistic. Not overly realistic, but it fails to get the anime look.
One’s Justice works because it has a great visual style and represents each character, all with unique moves. Translating that into a 2D fighter may prove difficult. Bakugo uses his explosions, but they have to make sure to capture the knockback of his quirk while still keeping things balanced.
Mineta in One’s Justice 2 throws sticky orbs at his opponent. Land ten orbs on them and they can’t move for a short while, in addition to reducing their speed with more orbs. But that can’t really work in a more competitive nature.
In 2D, the orbs suddenly become more dangerous because you’re missing that third axis. And Iida can just be a fast character, but his speed in 3D showed off what only HE could do. With only two plains of movement and the x-axis being the main movement option, Iida can’t just run around at Mach speed.
Midoriya, Bakugou, Todoroki, and the like COULD work in 2D. But then you’d miss out on Midoriya sending opponents flying to the other side of the stage, or Todoroki sliding across his ice.
You’d think Xenoverse would work better as a Dragonball game, especially with how the anime and manga are presented. Big flashy battles across big plains throwing attacks left and right. I thought 2D would nerf what Dragonball is all about.
But big battlefields mean the gap between you and the opponent can get large, and attacks become that much more easily avoidable. DBFZ still captures the flight aspect of the series, but it still limits how big of a gap can come between the fighters and each character feels unique (even the thousands of Gokus).
No character in One’s Justice can explicitly keep themselves in mid-air with flight like Xenoverse and the stages are limited in scope because the show isn’t really known for open fields during battle. With these factors, the game is grounded in a way that makes it fun and enjoyable, without the blubber Xenoverse has.
Ergo, My Hero One’s Justice 2 is a great game, and I wouldn’t mind a third one. Though, I think an open-world game could work wonders. Ooo, imagine that!
Walking around Japan using quirks to get around quickly and accept missions and find mentors. Using Uraraka’s Zero Gravity to float around or make things lighter to pick things up. Iida’s Jet calves to speed around, or Gran Torino’s Jet feet to boost at high speeds.
I think it should use an original story using the characters already present, but if this came to fruition, I already know they’d use an OC approach.
I don’t care much for OC’s, but it sucks when they’re shoehorned into the story and forced to “interact” with the main cast.
I’d rather just have it so you can have an OC, but they have nothing to do with the story, but that’s just me.
If they use an OC, imagine if the quirk was randomized. Like, they just make a TON of quirks to randomly obtain and the OC is stuck with it. If players were able to choose I bet they’d just pick All For One, Fire/Ice, or Explosion, aka the Big Three.
I think it’d be awesome to just get a random quirk. Sure, some players might get a ‘better’ quirk, but how cool would it be to have a seemingly bad quirk and transform it into something that can rival the pros.
Maybe even give players the choice to become villains. Like, it wouldn’t be a selectable choice but would come if you commit crimes or kill other players. If you commit a crime, maybe you’re put on a list, so when players lock onto you, they can tell and take action.
Maybe I got a bit off track, but tell me if you’d like to hear more of my ideas for a My Hero Academia 2D fighter or open-world game, I’ve got plenty!
If you take anything away from this article, it’s that One’s Justice is a good game, and you should play it. Well, the sequel, anyway. There isn’t much reason to go back to the first game anymore. With that, I’ll see y’all next article!