Injustice 2 is the sequel to Warner Bros and NetherRealm’s smash-hit fighting game Injustice Gods Among Us featuring a new story mode and Multiverse mode alongside a robust gear system.
Yes, this article is a little out of character for us. However, until the next Justice League trailer drops I doubt there’s going to be anything to write about due to recent events. Nevertheless, here’s what we thought about DC Comics’ latest video game.
Injustice 2 is a sequel to NetherRealm’s previous fighter in the series, Injustice: Gods Among Us. As a fan of DC Comics, I felt the desire and need to check out Gods Among Us years ago on my ol’ Playstation 3. Traditionally, I’m not a fan of fighting games. I’m awful at them. I can barely put in the right inputs and I give up very easily. However, my only true exposure to them were Capcom fighting games. Gods Among Us was my first true NetherRealm fighter, but I hated it. Immensely. Injustice 2 was announced no less than a year ago, making me hesitant. Nevertheless, after seeing countless trailers and videos about the gear system, they roped me in.
And I’m glad they did.
Injustice 2 boasts a blockbuster story mode featuring the entire ensemble of the games nearly 30 fighter roster. The premise is basic. Superman’s regime and Batman’s insurgence are still at war, despite Superman being locked up in a Red Sun Prison. However, Brainiac invades and threatens to destroy Earth if Superman — and newly found Kara Zor-El — are not forfeited to his possession.
The game starts with an incredible intro featuring Brainiac’s invasion and subsequent destruction of Krypton as we follow Kara Zor-El and her final moments on the planet. It leads into a flashback into Arkham Asylum revealing how Damian went to the dark side and joined Superman. After that, the game is split into chapters, each with their own (or pair of) playable characters following their progression through the events of the game.
I’d rather not spoil the story mode, since it’s actually a rollercoaster of emotions and incredibly fun to play through. I will say however that it improves in every way possible from the first installment’s. I absolutely hated the alternate universe crutches, the “Superman” pill and many, many other elements of Injustice: Gods Among Us. I’m happy to report that Injustice 2 does away with all of that, opting instead for a large scale — yet personal — story taking place with only this Earth’s group of heroes. The story is like a rollercoaster that toys with your emotions in loops worthy of playing unspoiled.
Unfortunately there are a lot of issues with that mode as well that comes as a crutch of using about two dozen characters in a small time span. The script only develops a certain select few characters. The headliner of the story — Kara Zor-El AKA Supergirl — is well-developed and you can feel the power of her emotions. Unfortunately, not every character gets this treatment as many are left in the dust to just “appear” out of nowhere such as Swamp Thing and The Scarecrow. This is also jarring on repeat occurrences of characters that are under a…different state of mind. Additionally, characters are often “side-lined” by an event and never heard from again, such as Harley Quinn’s final appearance in the game. Regardless of it’s issues, Injustice 2 does indeed deliver a damn fun experience in it’s story mode.
The gameplay in Injustice 2 is incredibly robust and highly strict. Newcomers to the fighting genre will definitely have some trouble at first, as I did myself. The tutorial is incredibly in-depth in terms of teaching you basic mechanics and combos. However it definitely does not hold your hand and kind of expects you to have basic knowledge of timing and frame data. Special Move Cancels and Jump-Ins may be the most difficult for new players yet once the combo is complete the satisfaction is incredible.
It’s amazing to think that nearly each character has their own unique style of play despite unofficially having classes or character types such as Zoner, Rushdown, etc. As I continually learn each character and grind them to Level 20, I have never felt bored or experience deja vu. My main fighter is Supergirl with my alternate being Doctor Fate. For those who don’t know, these two play incredibly differently. Supergirl is more of a rush and beat-em-up combo type with heat vision as her character trait. Doctor Fate is a keepaway zoner who specializes in projectiles and pushing back the opponent from his personal space, so to speak. The game boasts over two dozen fighters with more coming via downloadable content. That makes it incredibly hard for anyone to not have a specific fighter they mesh really well with.
The real bread and butter of Injustice 2 comes from the everlasting gear and loot box system. Gear presented in Injustice 2 follows the same principles as any other loot-based gear system you’ve encountered over the years in hits such as Borderlands 2, Diablo 3 and Destiny. You can get gear from drops after fights or spending time opening motherboxes earned from Multiverse mode. Each gear piece adds a unique change to your hero’s appearance as well as boosting (or reducing) stats depending on rarity. Gear grinding is my all-time favorite sub-genre of video games. It adds a therapeutic and endless method of replayability for the consumer.
The graphics for Injustice 2 are stunning. Facial animations were done by the actors through an intense motion-capture process. According to some concept artists on ArtStation, faces were scanned from real likenesses as well. Injustice 2 is a huge step up from the first game in terms of graphic capability. The limited amount of stages can easily be ignored by the vast detail and effort in each. For example, Superman’s Fortress of Solitude stage has a deep 3D architecture. The background boasts plenty of visuals to look at including Jor-El’s giant face in a crystal. Arkham Asylum in-mates such as two-Face can subtly be seen on the Arkham stage as well. From character model details to high resolution textures and smooth animations, Injustice 2 is almost future-proof as a fighting game.
Overall, Injustice 2 is a fantastic game that’s very well-worth buying with nearly endless single-player and multiplayer content. If NetherRealm keeps it up with seasonal content additions, they may just have the longest-lasting fighting game ever made and a damn impressive franchise to boot.