I’m ready to take control of my Quirk and go beyond plus ultra in My Hero: One’s Justice. It was about time someone bundled the fast-paced action and super-powered characters of My Hero Academia into a fighting game. Whether Bandai Namco was the right company for the job, though, remains to be seen.
To fill you in, My Hero Academia is a popular anime and manga series. Everyone in the world now has some kind of superpower, called a Quirk. We follow Midoriya (nicknamed Deku), who aims to be the number one hero, like his idol, All Might. Enrolling in U.A. Academy, Deku must prove his worth, not only to fellow classmates, but against the League of Villains itself.
One’s Justice ignores all of that and plops straight into the second half of season two. Not aware of character backgrounds, relationships, or even names? Go catch up, scrub.
Okay, come back, there isn’t much in the Story mode for fans either. Snippets of plot are told around important fight scenes, which you then get to experience for yourself. Telling this through comic book panels really suits the tone of the show. Yet, blasting through each moment takes away from the emotion and depth that My Hero Academia is so loved for. I mean, there has been an attempt. Roughly three scenes play out using the in-game engine, bringing a lot of energy back. But only three? It just feels like a tease for what One’s Justice could have been.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s great being able to play fights from the series. There’s even some extra ‘what if’ side battles which are smoothly integrated into the plot. I particularly love seeing the League of Villains’ side of things. Getting to play a bad guy is always fun. Unfortunately, it’s just a repeat of the exact same story, though. A number of cutscenes are even repeated. For a show that’s so creative, it’s a bit disappointing to see things handled this simply.
Anyway, who plays a fighting game for the story?
Fighting areas consist of a 3D plane to run around in. The movement and arenas really help with the feeling that you’re creating a scene from the anime. I had so much fun turning the school gym, League of Villains bar, and other areas into complete chaos. Barrelling into objects sends debris flying in every direction — it’s great. The few ring-out stages are particularly fun for the extra thought needed behind each attack, although, I did win one match because an NPC’s own move blasted them out of the ring. Not overly satisfying, but certainly amusing. I’ll take it.
Each character has the same core move set. A basic attack, 2 Quirk based attacks, a dash, block, and jump. Of course, there are also special moves, called Plus Ultra attacks. These first require building an attack meter up to three times for the three different Plus Ultras, each one doing more damage than the last. Finally, there are the two accompanying Sidekick characters. Whoever you choose can fly to your aid and perform their most iconic attack – such as Jiro stunning someone with a wave of sound.
Fights in One’s Justice certainly capture the speed and flair of the anime. Everyone has a unique Quirk that makes you want to switch between them, despite the similar controls. You’ve got the more obvious fist fighters like Deku; Tokoyami can switch control between him and his bird shadow; Aizawa is able to seal away Quirks for periods of time.
Balancing is surprisingly good. I expected certain characters to have no chance against each other. Like, how is Kirishima (whose Quirk is simply having rock hard skin) going to face off against Todoroki (who can use both ice and fire to obliterate his enemies)? Jokes on you, Kirishima is one of my favorite fighters. He takes less rebound from hits, so can often keep attacking where others would be stunned, and is crazy enough to pummel opponents into the ground with his head. Everyone has their own advantages to look out for and utilize.
For better or worse, anyone can pick up and play One’s Justice. Much of this is thanks to the ‘Normal’ setting automatically stringing combos together for you. Just mash a few buttons and watch your fighter pummel the enemy into a wall. Now, there is a ‘Manual’ mode for those who want to take back control for themselves. It just a shame that differences between the two modes aren’t made clear. Move lists are even shown to be the exact same for both.
Being able to easily go from one crazy powerhouse move to the next is great when pummeling on an NPC, but a lot less so when you’re on the receiving end. Ultimately, learning exactly when to block is the key here. You need to get the timing just right to put a stop to practically any attack and use that moment to charge in. Actually, it’s impressive how much holding your arms up will stop, considering the force of certain punches, or Quirks that involve an element like fire or electricity.
You can even use blocks to stop the all-powerful Plus Ultra attacks. I love that these can be blocked or simply mistimed, and are not just unavoidable screen filling death. You actually have to think about when to time these moves. These are super fun to pull off, with many giving nods to moments in the anime. Best of all is how the screen yells ‘Plus Ultra’ while the words spread across the screen if you end a battle with one. Man, does that feel good.
Once you’ve gained enough confidence, there are a couple of modes to test out your skills. Arcade takes you through six fights with a character of your choice. Standard stuff. Mission mode is a little more interesting. There are six maps made up of branching pathways, and all you have to do is reach the end. Health carries over from each fight along the path, and any losses subtract from your high-score. Winning stages is rewarded with level ups and items that boost stats – the need for which gives an idea of how challenging things get.
As always, local and online battles is where the true test of skill comes. There’s nothing quite like that moment when you’re up against a decent player, pulling off combos, managing blocks, heart pounding from adrenaline. I had some seriously close fights, playing with and against numerous different characters. My only real gripe is that One’s Justice will just throw players of any level against each other. I was forced to go against veteran fighters straight away, which was rather intimidating.
As a side note, something really great about online matches, was seeing how other players dressed up characters. You see, everything you do within One’s Justice gives rewards for your fighters and profile. We’re not talking Soulcalibur VI levels of detail, but it makes for a good laugh. Fans will appreciate references to characters who didn’t make it into the game – such as Mount Lady’s horned glasses.
Okay, the story lacks emotion, and there’s little depth to the combat. I just struggle to care when each character is this much fun to play. Anyone can pick up My Hero: One’s Justice and feel like a badass power-house within a couple of fights. So grab your favorite fighter, learn their moves, and get ready to go Plus Ultra.
This review is based on the PlayStation 4 version of the game. A review copy was provided to us by Bandai Namco.