So Injustice 2 is finally out and we’ve been playing NetherRealm Studios’ latest fighting title for the best part of a week and can honestly say that we love it. A successor to 2014’s Injustice: Gods Among Us, Injustice 2 really ups the ante in every way. Bigger roster of characters, better visuals and story and all round improved controls makes this entry a tour de force in the fighting game genre.
Injustice 2 builds on the momentum from Gods Among Us by taking us back to the Earth where Superman is still imprisoned. This universe is still in shock from what the meta-humans did to its world. Odd alliances have been formed and people aren’t so happy to see capes anymore. It’s an Earth where Bruce Wayne is trying to get everything back to normal. Luckily, the darker tone Gods Among Us took starts to fade in this new game. I know the tone of the last game was needed, but I started to yearn for a lighter one. I believe NeatherRealm sensed this too. Bringing along wise-cracking Green Arrow, chop-busting Black Canary, and the always lovable Flash help makes the narrative more upbeat.
The story mode throws in tons of playable characters allowing you to bounce from hero to hero. At first glance, this can be a bit tough for newcomers, but the player gets 3-4 battles with said character to learn on the fly. Sure, some characters are more difficult to master than others (Harley Quinn was my Achilles’ Heel), but being able to play as these iconic heroes is more than enough to keep your interest. In some battles, you even get a choice of which character you want to fight with. For example, early in the story, you find yourself deciding to fight with either Green Arrow or Black Canary. Personally, I split the fights ensuring I would be able to fight with both heroes. I love the option to do this in the story mode, allowing me to find a niche in my fighting style. Learning 28 fighting styles on the go is complicated at times, but fear not it’s all for the sake of fun.
Fighting mechanics have improved greatly from Injustice 1. This game strikes a perfect balance of keeping what made the first game enjoyable and adding smart changes to make it better. Besides adding more environmental attack options, like throwing a huge stuffed alligator, the game devs added in more ways to burn your special meter. Allowing the player to add more depth to attacks, new defences against combos, and punishing an opponent in a matter of moments. Of course, a NetherRealm based game wouldn’t shine as bright without over-the-top Super Moves. Using everything in DC’s creative arsenal, players can travel through time to slam your opponent into the ass-end of a T-Rex or even building a huge mech out of Green Lantern’s power to blow your adversary to another planet. We owe the team behind these moves a big “thank you” for not holding back on creativity.
One of the bigger improvements during gameplay is movement. Gods Among Us suffered from what felt like sluggish movement during fights. Injustice 2 corrects this with faster walking speed. It makes even the largest characters feel more quick and agile. Thus, allowing fights between range characters like Arrow and Deadshot less infuriating. The added quickness to the game takes combos to another level.
As for the multiplayer: In my time with the multiplayer, I encountered only a few disconnects from server errors. Most of the time it was working fine and ran okay. Ping is always a problem in games like but it never got so bad that it would have been unplayable. The popular “King of the Hill” mode is in the game and of course there’s 1 vs. 1 ranked matches, unranked player matches and private matches with friends. There’s also an interesting feature called “AI Battle Simulator”. It’s like a base defence mini-game. You can pick 3 defending characters for when another player attacks you. The AI will then simulate which team wins. In most cases the highest level character or the one with the best equipment wins. I used this mode a lot to level up my own characters. It’s a nice XP boost without much work. The maximum level for each character is 20, by the way.
Injustice 2 is clearly a labour of love and, because of that, there is a noticeable leap forward in terms of quality. It feels a lot more refined and detailed than Injustice: Gods Among Us. Every hero is uniquely crafted, from their special moves to their interactions in the game with others to their complex backgrounds.
The graphics have also improved tremendously, with each character looking more life-like and even a lot more like their DCEU counterparts. The voice acting is also remarkable, with Kevin Conroy voicing Batman, Alan Tudyk voicing Green Arrow, Tara Strong voicing Harley Quinn, George Newbern as Superman and Robert Englund as Scarecrow.
Borrowing heavily from its recently successful Mortal Kombat XL, Ed Boon and his team have proved once again that they are the masters of story fighter games. The roster is huge. The controls quickly become second nature. The story is interesting. Gameplay is excellent. And, most importantly, it’s really fun. Injustice 2 is quite an achievement.