Critique: My Hero One's Justice 2

Sophomore Effort

Video game sequels are weird. While a sequel to a book or movie should simply continue or conclude the story presented in the previous entry, most gamers generally expect a video game sequel to be significantly better than this. who preceded him.

Whether or not this attitude is reasonable is debatable, but the fact that we are maintaining it anyway puts My Hero One's Justice 2 in an awkward position.

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My Hero One's Justice 2 (PS4 (testé sur PS4 Pro), Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC)
Developer: Byking
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
Released: March 13, 2022
MSRP: $ 59,99

After all, this game is definitely the sequel to 2022's My Hero One's Justice, even down to the clunky, off-brand title. If it wasn't already clear, this is the arena fighter based on Kohei Horikoshi's hit My Hero Academia series.

Naturally, it's based on the same setting, a world where nearly everyone is born with a super-powered "Quirk," and the best and brightest grow into professional crime-fighting heroes. The story campaign follows the anime's rhythm, again following Izuku "Deku" Midoriya and his classmates in the United States. High school class 1-A as they struggle with their studies and the pressure to "turn pro". The story begins midway through the anime's third season, when the students take a test to get the Provisional Hero Licenses, and ends midway through the currently airing fourth season, when Izuku starts an internship gig. of heroes with Sir Nighteye, All Might's former sidekick, and battles Overhaul, a germophobic Yakuza with plans to overthrow the entire superpowered society.

The campaign tells this story primarily using stills from the anime, put together in an animated comic book format and overlaid with voice narration of the characters. A "Villain Side" playthrough is unlocked after the first run, which follows events from the villains' perspective, though this primarily functions as an excuse to allow players to control villains outside of free play. The actual events of the story were remixed somewhat to set up more fights, but this had the effect of omitting some of the most powerful scenes and moments from the process. As such, I can hardly recommend it over watching the anime or reading the manga, if what you're after is catching up on My Hero Academia's story.

While the campaign is still worth playing for the characters and customization options it unlocks, it's the scattering of other modes that will give My Hero One's Justice 2 what legs it has. Free-to-play, arcade, and practice modes allow players to practice their skills and compete with local friends, and online multiplayer is available in both ranked and unranked forms. The game also features a "mission mode" that allows players to create their own hero agency, but don't expect it to be a hero management sim. Rather, it's a fancy premise for some sort of survival mode, where players roam a map full of battle nodes, seeing how far they can go on a life bar. Since the damage lingers between battles, it can be quite difficult to complete fights while pursuing secondary objectives.

Beyond that, My Hero One's Justice 2 plays much the same as its 2022 predecessor. Combat is still simple and punchy, allowing players to easily take down combos and damaging supers. Some additions to the system, such as a dodge move and a new gauge regulating blocking, add an element of resource management and bring combat closer to the pattern established by Cyberconnect2's Ultimate Ninja Storm franchise. At my (admittedly weak) level of play, matches were often about reading an opponent, the better to trick them into trying to land a super or committing to a combo chain and punishing them for their recklessness. Each character has easy access to moves that can break a guard or grant a measure of armor (where their animations aren't interrupted by incoming damage). Sophisticated "Plus Ultra" moves are often easy to block, and getting caught in an enemy's combo chain can drain huge chunks of health, so the pacing of a good showdown is actually quite cautious, belying the flashy and aggressive presentation.

My Hero One's Justice 2 includes all the characters released for the previous game (including DLC ​​additions) and adds a few more. Overhaul's buddy Kendo Rappa joins the team, and the League of Villains roster is rounded out with the addition of Mr. Compress and Twice. The UA Students gain the senior "Big Three": Mirio "LeMillion" Togata, who can pass through solid objects, the Shockwave Nejire Hado, and animal-morphing Tamaki Amajiki. Class 1-A also gains everyone's favorite (?) sex pest, Minoru Mineta. Non-UA Heroes also join the mix: Pro Heroes Sir Nighteye, Fat Gum, and Gang Orca, plus Shiketsu High students Seiji Shishikura and Camie Utsushimi round things out. More heroes are planned for future DLC. This makes for a varied and diverse cast, as each hero plays a little differently thanks to how their unique Quirks are represented. A highlight is Sir Nighteye, whose predictive powers are rendered in the form of an on-demand counterattack button. Landing the counter activates Nighteye's Quirk, which appears to force some input lag on the opponent, delaying their attack animations by playing a dark "preview" before letting it out. It's pretty smart.

However, not everyone receives the same care and attention. In-game, Mirio simply appears as a faster version of All Might, and Shoto Todoroki feels just as overpowered as ever. Even my favorite bird-boy, Fumikage Tokoyami, seems nearly unchanged from the first game, though he's learned a few new tricks at this point in the story.

Ultimately, though, what's most striking about seeing My Hero One's Justice 2 is how much hasn't changed since the first game. It's still a fairly well-made and spirited arena fighter, but it's nothing more. Even the considerably messier One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows at least had the ambition to try and capture the spirit of the source material through its main single-player mode. My Hero Academia fans looking for exactly that will be satisfied, but again, it looks like Bandai Namco has opted for the coast rather than adopting the US "Plus Ultra" philosophy.

(This review is based on a retail version of the game provided by the publisher.)

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