Injustice 2 is the latest fighting game from NetherRealm Studios, the creators of the very successful Mortal Kombat series. NetherRealm’s return to the DC universe again pits the heroes and villains from the comics against one another in epic one-on-one battles. To those returning from the first game, Injustice: Gods Among Us, many of the game’s mechanics will be familiar, such as the dramatic stage transitions, unique character abilities and over-the-top Supermoves.
For those who haven’t played the original game or read the comics, Injustice takes place in an alternative Universe in which the Joker used Scarecrow’s fear gas laced with kryptonite to trick Superman into believing that he was fighting Doomsday, but it isn’t until he throws “Doomsday” into space that Superman realizes it was actually a pregnant Lois Lane. After this a nuclear bomb set to go off when Lois’ heart stops destroys Metropolis.
Devastated by these events Superman puts his fist through the Joker’s chest and creates a global regime with a zero crime tolerance policy. Batman is understandably against the killing of criminals, given that it is part of his whole identity not to kill and so founds an insurgency to counter the regime after Superman posts #BatmanIsBruceWayne on Twitter (That really is what happens).
The campaign of Injustice 2 takes place after the downfall of Superman’s Regime just as a new threat approaches Earth, one which Batman will not be capable of handling alone. Throughout the story, the player is given a choice of who to play as between two different characters in a pair, this ranges from Green Arrow and Black Canary to Cyborg and Catwoman. With the character selection adding replay value and allowing players a choice of character rather than being made to play as one character like in previous games. Despite the different plot shift, the conflict between Superman and Batman perseveres, with a situation that eventually results in a confrontation. The added bonus of this game is that using the choice system players are actually given the opportunity to support either Batman or Superman in the conflict, rather than being made to support Batman like in the previous game. With a different ending taking place based upon who you side with, the story is definitely worth replaying to see what might have happened if you had chosen differently.
The graphics within the game are amazing, improving upon the design of NetherRealm’s previous games, the introductions before each battle and the cut scenes within the story mode are great to view despite some of the cringe worthy dialogue. Each character has also received a badass redesign, with elements from their classic comic appearances as well as their contemporary movie looks being incorporated into their game appearance and gear style. The combat itself is smooth and interesting to watch due to each character unique movement set and fighting style. Although, with such a large roster that will expand following the release of announced characters such as Red Hood, Star Fire and the various characters not yet announced, similarities are bound to appear.
Gameplay & Entertainment
The gameplay of Injustice 2 is very similar to the Mortal Kombat style of fighting with some minor alterations, such as the stage transitions which allows players to literally beat each other into different stages over the course of a single fight. Another difference is the inclusion of clashes, a situation in which the two fighters can gamble segments of their super meter in order to either regain health or deal additional damage. This can be used to shift the balance of a battle or used in order to trick an opponent into using up their super meter, making them unable to use a Supermove. The button system uses a simple light, medium and heavy attack system with an additional button for a character ability that is different for each fighter, for some it is a power-up, while others it is a single attack or combo. The biggest edition to Injustice 2 that separates it from the first game is the gear customisation system. The system allows players to customise each of the playable characters in the game, using different pieces of randomly dropped gear to change the look and stats of your favourite DC heroes and villains. If like me, you are a massive fan of customisation, then this is a feature that will have you coming back for more, as gear improves for your individual characters as you level them up. The only issue with this customisation system is the random drop system that isn’t restricted to the character you play as, meaning you can play Batman all you want but that won’t stop you from getting a heap of gear for characters you never play as.
As for substance, the tower modes present in Mortal Kombat make an appearance in the form of the Multiverse. This mode lets you carry out missions on different versions of earth with a small piece of story to explain what it is that you are fighting for. While the multiverse missions are essentially just fighting a queue of fighters with special effects applied, players are rewarded with either mother boxes, the games equivalent of a loot box or rare gear, meaning that there is that extra bit of motivation to keep going back to the Multiverse.
The main issue I have with Injustice 2 which many fighting games share is the spammable abilities, especially when playing online. If you are a fighting game savant, this mostly likely won’t apply to you but many players online are guilty of sticking to one character with one or two abilities which they use constantly, one example being Aquaman and using his Trident Toss and Tentacle Strike to keep people at a distance and prevent any real combat taking place. This isn’t so much a gameplay issue as it is a player base issue, as although this tactic can be frustrating, meeting another player who wants to have an ordinary fight is fun and refreshing.