Developed by NetherRealm Studios, QLOC
Published by Warner Bros Games
Available on Xbox One, PS4 and PC
After the events of Injustice: Gods Among Us, Superman is behind bars whilst Batman is setting up his own team, unhappy with Superman’s Regime. Batman quickly finds that not everyone around him feels the same way as him about Superman and sides are promptly chosen with Batman finding allies in the unlikeliest of people. However, the squabbling between the two factions of heroes pales to insignificance with the arrival of supervillains The Society and a destructive, powerful alien being, Brainiac, who’s looking to consume Earth having previously destroyed Superman’s home of Krypton. In order to battle this new threat, Batman must put his differences aside and work with Superman and his Regime to save planet Earth from a devastating fate.
INJUSTICE 2 is a fighting game sequel featuring the superheroes of DC Comics including Batman, Superman, Bane, Wonder Woman, Deadshot, Gorilla Grodd, Harley Quinn, Black Canary, Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, Doctor Fate and Swamp Thing, amongst others. The game is ideal for single players who enjoy playing against the AI and has online multiplayer for those who like the challenge of playing against another human on the other side of the world.
As a fighting game enthusiast, I was quite curious as to what INJUSTICE 2 would offer, having not played its initial incarnation Injustice: Gods Among Us. However, my first impressions weren’t terribly favourable. When first playing this game, I found the lag completely game-breaking. The game itself, and even the cutscenes, would freeze and lag making the game pretty much unplayable despite the fact I’m running a GTX 1050 with 8GB RAM… okay, I suppose my motherboard may be a little bit dated now but it handles most other new releases well. Thankfully, a Benchmarking system comes with the game that finds the best settings for your system. After running this, my game was perfectly playable and I was finally able to get through the Tutorial and into the game without any lag or glitches. Great, now to the good stuff!
Like many fighting games, INJUSTICE 2 takes the player to a variety of environments, from Atlantis to outside a movie theatre in Gotham city, with interactive components within the stage for your character to either throw at their opponent or bounce off of. Though the environments are a visual delight and attraction for gamers, the success of a fighting game all depends on the feel of the combat and controls.
The combat mechanics of INJUSTICE 2 lies more towards the style of Mortal Kombat X, which isn’t surprising considering both games were developed by NetherRealm Studios. The controls feel fluid most of the time and only really clunky with heavy characters that promote strength over agility such as Bane and Gorilla Grodd. The controls are much easier to handle than Street Fighter thanks to none diagonal joystick movement with a preference on left, right, up and down combined with buttons for gameplay which is a Godsend for players like me who struggle to hit those diagonals with the Xbox controller for Windows.
As with most games, you have your light, mid and heavy attacks with low, mid and high levels, the ability to block and counter, perform a throw attack and execute the character’s special move. The special moves can only be executed once a 4 block bar is completely full having acquired enough hits through attacking, combos and receiving damage. Once the 4 block bar starts glowing blue, you can unleash the cutscene fury using the LT and RT button providing you trigger it at the right moment and the opponent doesn’t counter it. 9 times out of 10 I’ve managed to execute it at the right time and watch the magic unfold. With my favourite character being The Flash, thanks to his lightening fast speed and agility when performing attacks, I get to watch him grabbing his opponents and slamming them into the face of the Egyptian Sphinx before taking them to get up close and personal with a T-Rex before finally clashing the opponent’s body with their own back where they started. The cutscene never changes, apart from the angle, but it is still great to see the opponent’s health bar taking a massive hit when the special move is unleashed. With two health bars, making sure to get a sizeable chunk out of the second bar is what really encourages a player when faced against a tricky opponent.
As someone who tends to play single player over multiplayer, I often find myself playing the Campaigns, following the storyline and getting to face multiple opponents controlled by the AI. The single player Campaign Mode of INJUSTICE 2 simply has to be seen. The graphics are beyond glorious and look so real with cutscenes that could easily have been plucked from a movie. However, something I noticed pretty early on is the game’s penchant for huge dialogue scenes before a series of two or even three fights, back to back. Compared to the likes of Mortal Kombat X that lets you breathe and enjoy the story between each fight, INJUSTICE 2 prefers to hammer you with combat, forcing you to take to the invisible ring once more merely seconds after claiming triumph. Victory in this game is certainly short lived. This is all well and good for the most part but sometimes it can be draining, especially if you’ve just overcome a difficult opponent and then have to face yet another. Such a time that springs to mind is Chapter 5 when, as the Green Lantern, I faced a determined Aquaman, a swift Cheetah and a bone-crushing Bane, each of which required quite a few attempts before being able to beat them. I’d have preferred more story between each fight, just simply to help keep the momentum going instead of halting it with a triple battle that tested both my ability and patience. Nevertheless, the campaign mode is the perfect way to discover the various characters in the game with a chance to play as or face them in the Team Batman vs Team Superman storyline, a plot which has some well written, witty dialogue, particularly for a videogame of this nature.
Like Mortal Kombat X, there’s plenty in INJUSTICE 2 to keep you going. There’s the online multiplayer mode, where you can face people unranked or throw yourself deep into the ranked system to truly put your abilities to the test where a win will gain you points and a loss see you kept in the kiddy pool that bit longer. Then there’s the tower modes which in this iteration are presented as the Multiverse as overseen by Batman’s AI satellite Brother Eye. These single player multiverses are time sensitive – some are available for an hour whilst others available for 20 hours before disappearing and being replaced by another ‘incident’ multiverse. Each multiverse incident has its backstory with match modifiers and rewards with the player required to beat the set amount of characters it presents you with in order to reap the rewards. These multiverse incidents are given a difficulty so you can roughly size up which are going to be easier to tackle than others but these are great fun to play for single player enthusiasts as you get to fight a string of characters whilst having the extra element of a modifier added to the mix to make the gameplay that bit more varied. In one instance, I played a multiverse in which Scarecrow was willing to help me whilst he was looking to uncover the truth about Batman’s plans. Fighting a series of 8 opponents, Scarecrow’s assistance was my modifier so anytime during my gameplay I could signal for Scarecrow to join me on the fight stage and unleash some of his fury against my opponent. The eventual reward for completing that particular multiverse was a range of gear for Scarecrow amongst points and other things. Sometimes the modifiers don’t help and make it more challenging such as when you can’t use specials or the fight stage is on a constant tilt but for good or bad, they make quite the challenge and add the spice and variety that a single player desires from a game such as this – something which worked well in Mortal Kombat X though I think here in INJUSTICE 2 the developers have created the ultimate version.
For gamers who like to grind and get the edge over their opponents, the loot system in this game is a brilliant aspect to get your teeth into and one which doesn’t require you to have to part with your hard earned cash either (though there are microtransaction boxes if you should want to splash the real cash but they’re cosmetic and not necessary to the game). With each fight you win, you gain a reward and you know what points make? Prizes! Whilst in some instances you’ll be rewarded with gear directly, in many cases you’ll be rewarded with boxes and points. The boxes, which you can also buy with points, come in bronze, silver, gold and platinum with mystery gear for your character in each one. The rarer, more powerful gear is often found in the gold and platinum boxes whilst the lower and more common rewards can be found in the bronze and silver boxes, similar to other videogames of a competitive nature such as FIFA. The rewards in these boxes are replacement armour/outfits for the characters in the game, such as replacement chest armour for The Flash or some new arms for Green Arrow. These rewards have stats attributed to them like strength, health and defence so you can choose which items you’d like to apply to your character and even have the options of selling those you’ll never use or no longer have a need for. The great thing about this alternate costume mechanic is that each player has a choice of 4 costume loadouts per character so you can use certain items for one loadout to make your character tailored to a particular fighting style whilst saving another loadout to cater for a completely different type of enemy – this way you’re prepared to tackle all eventualities as not all opponents are the same and many have weaknesses you can exploit if you find the correct gear. Much like the Multiverse towers, this gear upgrade is an added bonus for single players who love to grind and improve their character and really adds extra depth to the game, extending its shelf-life rather than being just a bog-standard fighting game.
When I first started playing this game, I wasn’t quite the fan. I got off to a wrong start with the game lag and with my opinion of superheroes being moderate at best, I longed for the carnage of Mortal Kombat. However, slowly but surely the game won me round. Once I settled in and started to accept the costumed characters and let the gameplay do the talking, I was hooked. Granted the game isn’t bloodthirsty like MK but it has its own aggressive appeal with those sweet specials an absolute credit to the game as your character unleashes their theatrical cutscene carnage. The combat mechanics are really simple to pick up, especially with the help of the in depth tutorial which you can access anytime after initially completing it, which actively guides you through the controls to make sure you understand the game before releasing you into the snake pit of superhero brawlers.
INJUSTICE 2 is fun, exciting and crazily addictive, and really makes other fighting games (except for MKX) look basic and inferior in comparison from every angle: combat mechanics, storyline, array of game features and visual effects. It has everything you could possibly want from a fighting game and more besides. For fans of DLC, there’s even the addition of Hellboy and Leonardo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, both of which are great fun to play, whilst Sub-Zero and Raiden from Mortal Kombat too make an appearance as downloadable extras. If fighting games are your thing, then INJUSTICE 2 has plenty to keep any avid gamer satiated.
Injustice 2 Ultimate Edition is now available with 9 new characters, 2 exclusive gear shaders and 3 premier skins.