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Preview: My Hero Ultra Rumble Beta Shows Heroic Potential

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My Hero Ultra Rumble

Bandai Namco’s been on a tear lately. Between Gundam Evolution, Dragon Ball The Breakers, and now My Hero Ultra Rumble, the company’s testing no less than three distinct multiplayer-oriented games based on popular anime properties. I got the chance to join the second My Hero Ultra Rumble beta test over the weekend. While there’s still some work to be done on the game, fans of My Hero Academia may find a new place to tear things up online once it hits full release.

My Hero Ultra Rumble is a My Hero Academia-based take on the battle royal genre. Eight teams of three players duke it out for supremacy while controlling characters from the My Hero Academia series. Options include eight Heroes and four Villains, in any combination (though the game doesn’t allow two players to choose the same character on the same team). On the Hero side, players can choose from Deku, Bakugo, Todoroki, Ochako, Tsuyu, All Might, Cementoss, and Mt. Lady. Villain characters include Tomura, Dabi, Himiko, and Mr. Compress. There’s more room on the character select menu to add characters, but the twelve present feels like plenty to start with.

Like most battle royal games, players sprawl out over the map and usually spend the first few minutes scrambling for “gear”. The gear takes the form of power ups and items. Items can heal you or add to your “Guard Point” gauge. GP is basically a Fortnite-style shield that absorbs damage before health, but GP is especially important in My Hero Ultra Rumble. That’s because it keeps you from flinching or getting knocked around while it’s up. Not having an attack interrupted is basically the key to winning an equal exchange of damage, so scrambling for GP potions is a big priority. Power cards can be equipped like items to provide a power boost when used, but can also level up your three powers. That’s also important, as leveled-up powers become devastatingly effective.

My Hero Ultra Rumble 4

Every character in My Hero Ultra Rumble is unique, with playstyles and unique actions based on their “Quirk” superpowers. It’s fun to see how each character gets their power set boiled down to three moves and a unique action. Deku, in his Shoot Style outfit, can shoot air blasts from his fists, do a flying kick, and use a whip-like power to snare enemies and pull them close. As I’m not caught up with the show or manga, I had no idea he even had that whip power. His unique action is to carry a teammate that’s been downed to safety. Other characters are a bit more unique. Characters are divided into “roles” indicating their specialty. Assault characters like All Might and Deku are durable, but generally need to get close to do their best work. Strikers like Bakugo and Todoroki can deal damage at range as well, and move quickly across the field. Technical characters like Ochako and Dabi specialize in using unusual strategies and traps to get the drop on foes. Rapid characters like Tsuyu and Himiko move quickly and can take advantage of stealth or hit-and-run strategies. Finally, support characters like Cementoss and Mr. Compress can hinder enemies with their unusual attack properties.

In practice this results in a lot of chaotic scrumming as people get into big brawls with powers flying every which way. It can be tough to get a bead on a single enemy in the confusion. No wonder that the first beta resulted in a lot of players taking full advantage of characters with huge areas of effect. Mt. Lady in particular can grow really big and simply stomp a zone to dust before her enemies can get out of the danger zone. Bandai Namco did say after the first beta that these characters would be toned down a bit. I didn’t participate in the first test, so I can’t say if they feel less overpowered than before, but they do feel a bit easier to use, because you don’t have to worry as much about aiming or focusing on one target to make a big impact.

Personally, I found the most enjoyment in My Hero Ultra Rumble playing and watching experienced players use technical characters. It was a joy to watch a teammate in spectator mode utterly demolish two or three teams with Ochako. This obvious expert lured them into traps of floating debris, and sprang away to safety with combinations of Ochako’s zero-G jumping and her grappling hook-like ranged attack. Once the game comes out fully, the early stages where people are finding out how to make all the characters work together might make for an exciting time.

Less exciting is the apparent monetization structure. My Hero Ultra Rumble will be free-to-play, but it’ll be supported by the gacha. The game has a built-in “Roll” system and banners for cosmetic items. You can roll skins like the fantasy-themed “Parallel World” character designs, as well as things like emotes and voice lines. There didn’t seem to be any indication that new playable characters or variants would be added this way, though, so it can be ignored to an extent. There’s also a “shop” function where players can exchange in-game currency earned from matches for costumes. Not everything that was on the gacha was present in the shop, though.

My Hero Ultra Rumble Gacha

Though My Hero Ultra Rumble is a bit of a rough and unbalanced experience at the moment, there’s a lot of potential for a unique and fast-paced take on superpower-enhanced battle royal. It remains to be seen whether Bandai Namco can manage to deliver the variety a game like this needs to thrive in the long term, though.

My Hero Ultra Rumble will release on PS4, PC, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch in 2022.

Josh Tolentino
Josh Tolentino is interim Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera. He previously helped run Japanator, prior to its merger with Siliconera. He's also got bylines at Destructoid, GameCritics, The Escapist, and far too many posts on Twitter.