Ed Boon has been the man behind some of my favorite fighting games since the early 90’s and Mortal Kombat. Together with John Tobias, these two revolutionized the genre and took it to places we could have only dreamt about back then. When the original Injustice: Gods Among Us released, I wasn’t prepared for a superhero fighting game to blow me away. But it did. Now four years later, Injustice 2 is primed to be even better than the first, and that’s saying a lot. Read on for our full Injustice 2 review.
Title: Injustice 2
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: NetherRealm Studios
Available On: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Mobile
Reviewed On: PlayStation 4 Pro
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Game Purchased for the sake of this review
Having built a solid narrative with the original game, the sequel carries all of that momentum forward into a fantastic experience in the Story Mode. The very first thing you’ll see happens in the past, as Supergirl is attempting to hide and escape Brainiac’s army in her hometown of Argo City on Krypton. Ultimately, the entire city gets destroyed, but before it does, she is able to escape with her cousin Kal, otherwise known as Superman. It then flashes to the present day, where Batman is attempting to fix the destruction society has gone through. Nothing is ever that easy though, as he and his allies have to deal with Superman and those who want to restore him to his former glory, and an all new threat in Brainiac and his army.
The Story Mode consists of an impressive 12 chapters spanning around six hours worth of play time, each containing multiple encounters and sometimes even giving you a choice on which playable character you want to control for a fight. This is particularly important, as certain character styles are obviously going to be better off against the complete opposite style. Throughout the Story Mode, you’ll get introduced to the characters that are playable within Injustice 2. 27 characters are available right out of the box, with Brainiac unlocking after the story concludes, and an additional 29th character available to purchase through DLC, with more coming. Almost everyone you expect to see from the DC Universe is included here, and I personally couldn’t have been happier with the selection.
Injustice 2 is a surprisingly deep fighting game. The mechanics fans are familiar with from Gods Among Us have returned, with each character having special abilities and power moves that can be executed once the meter is full for it. New to this game is the gear system, which brings with it a certain level of unfortunate grinding that is needed to fully unlock and power up the characters you want to be using most in matches. Different pieces of armor and accessories, as well as different skins per character, are all unlockable and able to be equipped as you progress through the story and compete in matches. A majority of the pieces you’ll earn come from the game’s version of loot boxes, which are earned from a multitude of different ways. The quickest method is by simply leveling up individual characters and completing daily challenges after finishing the Story Mode.
Speaking of loot boxes, there are microtransactions as well… but not for the actual gear and items that make a difference in fights. A currency known as Source Crystals allow players to purchase cosmetic adjustments and items, premiere character skins, and different colors for costumes that have already been unlocked. The Source Crystals can also be used to level up a character to 20, but only after you have taken a character to 20 without them. Thankfully it isn’t pay to win, but microtransactions are always something I’m going to frown upon in any game.
All of that talk aside, Injustice 2 will keep pulling people back to it time and time again thanks to the extremely fun fighting system NetherRealm has been crafting and perfecting for years. Basic hand to hand style systems mixed with superhero abilities, stage interactions, insane combos, special moves, and an intense face-off scenario that allows each fighter to sacrifice a certain number of their meter bars in order to turn the tides after a round ends are all things you can expect to see during any given match.
Let me be perfectly clear about something. I am not an expert at fighting games, and I regularly get destroyed when playing an online match or against friends that have more experience in the genre than I do. However, Injustice 2 takes that into consideration, and this is a game that literally anyone can pick up, play, and enjoy. The extensive tutorial that occurs at the start of the game was an important step in learning how to do everything, but as they say, practice makes perfect. Offering five different difficulty levels, there’s a setting for everyone so that this beautiful fighting game can be loved by veterans and newcomers alike.
And yes, Injustice 2 is absolutely gorgeous. NetherRealm continues to get better and better, and this one is no different. The absolute best graphics seen in one of their titles to date, and the cinematic cutscenes are incredible. The character models are some of the best I have seen in any game to date, and it truly excites me to wonder what future installments are going to look like down the road.
Besides standard fighting modes and the Story Mode, there is the Multiverse. Pulling from the Living Towers mode in Mortal Kombat X, you partake in various missions that are essentially happening in parallel universes. It’s a mode that can be completed entirely solo, but the only downside is that is does require an Internet connection. While that isn’t going to be a problem for most, it still is a barrier of entry for some people.
In the end, Injustice 2 doesn’t really deviate from the formula it has already established. Offering a fighting system that fans have come to know and love, a deep gear and unlocking system to keep pulling people back, and the ever popular online modes, this is a game that is going to see a lot of action out of fans until the next big thing comes along.