Coming to PS4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch (version tested) in October 2018
My Hero Academia is one of the biggest anime in the world right now. From the studio that brought us classics such as Fullmetal Alchemist, Soul Eater and Wolf’s Rain comes a heroic adventure inspired by the greatest of western comic books. You’ve even got absurd onomatopoeia flying all over the shop.
Now, Kohei Horikoshi’s beloved creation makes its gaming debut with My Hero’s One Justice. But can it dispel the curse of mediocrity that so many anime-inspired titles seem to contract? From what we’ve see so far, it has a damn good chance. Just try to ignore the horrendous tongue-twister of a name it’s got going on.
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In the world of MHA, Superheroes fight crime and villains try their utmost to cause trouble, so it makes perfect sense to craft My Hero One’s Justice into a fighter where the show’s best and brightest go up against one another. It’s a simple affair, but pulled off with such gravitas that spectacle wins through in what appears to be – in terms of mechanics, at least – a quite pedestrian brawler.
In the build I played, battles are fought as one-on-one skirmishes with two secondary heroes acting as support units you bring in with a touch of the shoulder buttons. Doing so will provide you with an extra boost of health, or thrust enemies backward with a sudden blast of damage. While not revolutionary, it’s executed brilliantly here.
During my three rounds with My Hero One’s Justice I played with a healthy slate of heroes; but, of course, I started with the Symbol of Peace himself. All Might controls as fans would expect, capable of extreme feats of athleticism while colliding into foes with a devastating flurry of fists.
The John Cena of My Hero Academia continues to impress with a variety of special moves that are trivial to pull off, yet provide a visual marvel as select environments crumble to pieces amidst each fight. Whether its the corridors of UA Academy or the bustling streets of Tokyo, nothing is safe when villains come to play.
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Once I’d finished laying the smackdown as All Might, I decided to try something a little tamer. My next character pick was Uraraka Ochaco, an adorable high-school girl capable of manipulating gravity. She can levitate objects and people with a touch of her fingers, and this power comes into play during combat.
She’s lighter on her feet, too. Dashing through enemy attacks and sliding in for a counterattack is easy, and something only achieved with such deftness when playing as Ochaco. Unfortunately, her punches don’t have much oomph, an expectant compromise for a bit of extra finesse.
Midoriya Izuku, the anime’s main protagonist, is similar in attributes to Ochako. He’s small, deft and capable of delivering an incredible punch if given a chance to prepare. He’s the successor to All Might, and this history translates into ultimate moves that can wipe out opponents in a single hit.
Speaking of Ultimate Attacks, My Hero One’s Justice provides each playable character with three separate tiers to activate throughout each fight. If you manage to pull these off, you’ll enter into an epic showdown which, while taking control away from the player temporarily, concludes in a button-mashing contest that looks and feels excellent.
The character roster is plentiful and seems to be completely caught up with the anime in terms of heroes and events players would be expected to know. Nineteen playable faces are confirmed thus far – and, with any luck, that number will only increase ahead of the October release.
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My Hero One’s Justice sports an impressive sense of locomotion across its range of stages. Environments aren’t the largest, but having the option to dart across walls and rooftops provides an ambitious verticality that could make up for any shortcomings.
Having only a had a chance to sample three stages, it’s too early to tell how varied each battleground will be, or if the level of destructible potential will increase as you progress. I desperately hope it’s the latter, since I’d love to see the animated series’ best encounters recreated with little to no compromise.
Speaking of compromise, the Nintendo Switch version of My Hero One’s Justice is smooth as butter. In portable mode, it runs with little to no issue and sports a bright, colourful image I can’t wait to see blown up on a formidable HD display.
Bandai Namco has confirmed that a story mode will be available in the full release. What exactly this entails remains unclear, although I hope it provides a way of leveling up each fighter while going through an inventively original story.
A narrative-driven mode that focuses on Midoriya Izuku’s journey into a fully fledged hero would be awesome, and perhaps it adopts visual novel cut-scenes in the way of Dragon Ball FighterZ.
My Hero One’s Justice brings the world of My Hero Academia into the gaming medium in spectacular fashion. The visual hallmarks and beloved personality have all been translated with care and attention, and I desperately hope the full experience is reflective of this.
Boasting a healthy roster of characters alongside a fun and accessible combat system, this is a fighter with the charm and energy required to impress. The big question is how substantial the story mode offering will be, since it will play a huge role in how fans react.