Still not quite ‘plus ultra.’
My Hero Academia has been taking the world by storm as one of the most popular modern anime series. With the manga reaching a sales total of 24 million copies and a second feature-length film opening at #3 in the Japanese box office, it was only a matter of time before the students of U.A. High School made their return to the video game world. If that sounds a bit familiar to how I opened my review of the original My Hero One's Justice, there is a reason for that: My Hero One’s Justice 2 is pretty much exactly the same game as its predecessor. A bunch of new characters from the fourth season of the anime have been added in this entry, but precious little else has changed in the year-and-a-half since I wrote that first review.
To recap, My Hero One’s Justice is an arena fighter where players can move freely in any direction during battle. Basic fighting game staples like grabs, throws, and punches are present, but the star of the show is each character’s unique quirk—a superpower that many people in the world of My Hero Academia are born with. For example, Ochaco Uraraka is able to manipulate gravity, Denki Kaminari can shoot lightning, and Cammie Itsushini can emit a smoke-like substance that creates illusions to disorient her opponents. These quirks help set every character apart from each other, capturing the excitement of the anime pretty well in the smooth and flashy visuals.
All of the shortcomings of the first game are still present. Combat is still pretty shallow; the same rock-paper-scissors balance of guards, super armor, and unblockable attacks is still here, and it’s still almost always best to focus on super armor attacks until you build up enough of your quirk meter to unleash a super move. The story mode is still more or less pointless, following the plot of the anime to a T with nearly all “cutscenes” being rendered as still frames from the anime with dialogue and narration pasted over them. Returning characters even have exactly the same movesets they had last time. The only real addition to the game is the expanded scope that cosmetic customization has been given, but the majority of unlockable outfits are little more than alternate colors and a few odd accessories that look out of place on the whole cast.
All of this is bad enough, but there’s an additional problem that I didn’t discover until this review had mostly been written. The first time I opened the game on my Switch, it hung on the title screen with no way to continue. No matter what button I pressed, nothing happened. After closing the game and reopening it, I finally got through and was able to play. For a little while afterwards I had no problems, but the problem appears to be more serious than I thought. One night, I was completely unable to open the game. I tried five times to get past the title screen, and each time it refused to proceed to the main menu no matter how long I waited. As of now, I was only able to play the game after completely uninstalling and reinstalling it from scratch, and given how it took a few days for this problem to pop up the first time I’m not certain if this will be a permanent solution. The only conclusion I can draw is that the Switch version of the game is currently broken, and caution should be taken before buying it.
My Hero One’s Justice 2 feels less like a sequel and more like an obligation - and that’s when it actually works. With the first game’s roster already a bit out of date by the time it launched, there was an obvious need to expand the lineup with characters from later in the show’s run. The roster now stands at around 40 fighters featuring characters through the end of the Shie Hassaikai arc in the fourth season of the anime. If you were really concerned with having the latest heroes and villains to play with in the arena, then I suppose your prayers have been answered. For anyone else, My Hero One’s Justice was already a tough sell, and now that I can’t even get past the title screen without the game freezing I cannot recommend this lazy sequel at all.