Title: Injustice 2
Platform: PC, PS4, and Xbox One (reviewed)
Developer: Nether Realm
Publisher: Warner Bros
Release date: Out now
tl;dr: Mortal Kombat with a DC Universe paint job
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Five years after the events of the original Injustice, Batman attempts to piece the world back together. Unfortunately, Gorilla Grood and his new band of misfits, The Society, rises up and plans on taking over the world. The Caped Crusader recruits Black Canary, Green Arrow, and Harley Quinn to disrupt the talking gorilla’s plans. Unfortunately, The Society is backed by a very powerful foe: Brainiac. Brainiac is hellbent on conquering every planet and now has his set sight on planet Earth. After taking out Krypton, the evil mastermind hunts for Superman as it’s the last Kryptonian, or so he thinks. Unfortunately, for Batman, only Superman can stop Brainiac once and for all. Gotham’s Dark Knight establishes a temporary truce with Clark Kent so they can join forces and save Earth and the other planets Brainiac captured.
Injustice 2 features a simplistic control scheme which is easy to pick up, yet challenging to master. Players can pull off combos using light, medium, and strong attacks. There’s also two meters which allows players to pull unique attacks to either mount a comeback or have a temporary edge over the other player. The first meter has 4 levels, and each level gets filled up as you take damage. You can either use it level by level to get a hand in battle, or if you wait until all 4 bars are filled, you’ll be able to pull off a destructive attack which take a substantial chunk of your oppponent’s health. These moves are also quite impressive and entertaining to watch.
This meter is also useful for the Clash; an-in fight mini game where players need to determine how much of the meter they’ll sacrifice. This is usually triggered by the losing player. There’s an attacker and defender. If the defender wins, they’ll regain a certain percentage of health based on the number of their meter they’ve sacrificed. If the attacker triggers it and wins, the resulting attack will have additional damage behind it. Unfortunately, it breaks the flow of the fight and is very much predictable. Just looking at both Special Meter bars and the players that has more will win, unless the players screws up accidentally. This is mostly as a last resort from the player who’s on the receiving end of a massive beatdown. You could be in the middle of a decent combo and out of the nowhere, the initial cinematic kicks off and you need to decide how much of the meter you need to sacrifice. While I can understand to some extent why they added this, I found it more annoying and flow-breaking than anything else.
The second, shorter, meter is a special attack unique to each character which is set to give an additional attack or a slight edge to the player. For example, Batman can call upon up to three bats that circle around him and the caped crusader can throw them at will. Or Cyborg makes an explosive appear. This meter refills over time during the fight.
The cast of characters is quite varied, balancing wise. Some characters (such as Blue Beetle and Green Arrow) will be ideal for newcomers to pick and button-mash their way to victory, and on the flip side, some characters such as Black Adam are a bit more intricate and requires basic knowledge of their moveset in order to perform effective combos. This gives a chance to new players to comfortably jump in and play around, while giving veterans something more to chew on. Thankfully, the game’s story mode, which should be tackled first, will let players try most of the roster giving them a chance to determine which character suits their playstyle best.
Injustice 2 also features a level up system for each character. The more you use a certain character across the wide array of game modes, the higher his level will be. This comes handy on two fronts, which will both be addressed below.
Once Story mode has been cleared, players can tackle a variety of interesting single player modes. Nether Realm introduces the Multiverse; think of it as Towers from Mortal Kombat X. Players are required to clear a handful of enemies under special conditions. Each Multiverse has a set level of difficulty where opposing fighters will be a certain level. Obviously, trying to tackle a Multiverse with enemies higher level than your character will prove difficult, or even near impossible.
Fashion aficionados will have a field day with Injustice 2. Throughout playing the story and multiverse, players will be rewarded with loot boxes, which rewards players with new items to equip on the roster of fighters. But the gear received and equipped does have other benefits than giving your fighter style. Each equipment will have special bonuses which will increase either the character’s defence or attack. Equipping higher-end gear will give players a standing chance against high level difficulty Multiverse, and the group of fighters looking to take you out.
If you’re more an online kind of player, the Multiplayer side of things is sure to keep you entertained. Not only can players challenge each other in one on one matches, but players can also train A.I. to take them online and watch take on other players’ A.I. Or if you want to get with friends to tackle various objectives, you can join a Guild with other players, where you’ll collectively be able to collect loot and complete Guild-only objectives, like taking down special boss fights.
The presentation of the game is actually pretty spot-on. Whilst audio-wise, there’s nothing really noteworthy, the game’s visuals are definitely one of the game’s strongest point. While environments are overall well done with basic details, the facial expression of each fighter, whether it be during story mode, or pre fights ritual, are on point. It’s easily some of the best work I’ve seen this generation.
Injustice 2 will end up as one of my surprise favourite of the year. Having never really cared about the first game, having the opportunity to dive into the sequel for review purposes made me discover a deep and addictive fighting title. While it goes to show that Nether Realm is a one-trick pony, Injustice 2 proves that their recipe works. While I was worried about the depths of content following MKX’s lackthereof, I can see myself playing this sequel for the coming months.
So many characters to level up and master through a handful of gaming modes will ensure that it’ll keep me busy for the foreseeable future, which makes my next statement a bit difficult. As much as I’d recommend Injustice 2, I highly recommend waiting for the inevitable Ultimate edition. Prior to the game’s release, Nether Realm announced additional characters DLC and the character screen has Darkseid, which you have to buy (yep, even when we get review codes, it’s not the full thing). Also, history dictates that the Ultimate edition will be cheaper than the game which just released.
- Addictive gameplay
- Content galore
- Great story campaign
- Nether Realm’s shit DLC model
- Proves NetherRealm is a one trick pony
- Deadshot is a dick
Injustice 2 is rated T for Teen and PEGI16 as it features alcohol reference, blood (not as much as Nether Realm’s other license), language, suggestive themes and violence. It’s a fighting game. What did you expect?
This review is based on a review copy of the game provided by Xbox UK for the purpose of this review.