Let’s open by saying that NetherRealm’s sequel to Injustice: Gods Among Us (2013) is incessantly fun. Building upon the first game’s fantasy mash-up of DC characters, Injustice 2 continues to answer the questions on the lips of many fans: Who would win out of Poison Ivy or Harley Quinn, or Batman vs. The Flash? Injustice 2 lets you play out these dream fights in spectacular and stylish fashion.
Injustice 2 has several game modes but the story is its centrepiece. Essentially, it is a sequence of well-crafted cut scenes, interwoven with fast-paced, fighting action. From animation to voice work, art style to sound design, Injustice 2 is a cinematic treat. Offering a traditional, comic book narrative and bringing the stable of DC characters into the fold.
The game picks up where Injustice: Gods Among Us ended. Batman is left to defend the world after Superman’s regime has fallen apart and Brainiac is looking to conquer Earth. As a premise, it works for Injustice 2 and with the multiple pathway approach to the story’s ending, it leaves the door open to future entries to the Injustice franchise.
Let’s talk about fighting. That is the beef of this game, after all. Mechanically, it’s quite simple, however, mastering the move set and fight style of each character will, of course, only come with experience. Injustice 2 focuses on light, heavy and medium attacks, in addition to character-based special moves and cinematic finishers. Fights can be won in easy mode by button-mashing – just barely – but if you’re looking to play on more advanced difficulties, you’re going to have to master the timing of those combos and blocking enemy attacks. When things go right, fighting in Injustice 2 is (for fear of sounding like a bit of an old hack) poetry in motion. Action is fast-paced and smooth – characters flit around the screen and, when you include environmental attacks into the mix, fights feel like extensions of the cinematic cutscenes which frame the action.
With about thirty characters in the DC universe to choose from, it is inevitable that they will each come with different fighting styles and move sets, and not all of them will play to your liking. There is the option when playing outside of the story mode to choose a character and stick with them, however, the story mode forces you to play each chapter using a certain character. When paired with a character who your style of play isn’t compatible with, the game becomes less fun. Fortunately, the Multiverse mode assuages these concerns – at least somewhat – by putting you into fights with different characters along with in-game modifiers, which test you to learn more about the move sets and abilities of each character.
About Multiverse mode: This is where you’ll come across most of your loot and unlockables. Playing through and beating the daily challenges in the Multiverse mode provides the opportunity to unlock Mother Boxes, which give you stat boosts for your characters and health increases. It’s a nice way to tear yourself away from the story campaign and mix things up a bit. There is a concern that players coming into the game a few months down the line will face up against players who are simply too overpowered, which may put players off of getting involved in the game.
The Multiverse mode is interesting, but the randomisation of loot drops leaves much to be desired. Often, you’ll receive poor rewards rather than something you genuinely want. Monetisation also rears its ugly head again, leaving players in want of the game’s best gear having to fork out real cash for them to be easily accessible. As with most games, it is possible to earn the best loot and gear by grinding, but having them instantly available behind a paywall can create an unfair imbalance between players.
Whether you’re fighting or watching the polished cinematic cutscenes of Injustice 2, sound and music is of the highest quality. Punches and kicks impact with sickening thuds and the music is tense and fast-paced. It all adds to that heart-thumping sensation when caught in a tough battle, and fuels the tension that the narrative strives for. It certainly made me feel like I was watching a DC movie, rather than playing a game that was mimicking the style of one.
It is hard to fault Injustice 2 and I come away from it with the feeling that it truly is a game for everyone. Competitive fighting gamers will have much to explore when mastering the games accessible yet deep mechanics, and those who just want to revel in some DC fun will be entertained by the six-hour story that Injustice 2 offers.