I don’t envy NetherRealms, balancing Superheroes with all their power in a genre where one over-powered fighter can ruin a game. But Injustice 2, like its predecessor, gets it perfect.
After the success of the first reboot of Mortal Kombat, with its proper story-based gameplay, NetherRealms and Warner Bros brought the same combination of balanced fighting game and story to the DC universe. Injustice 2 sees a return to this successful approach but with a few tweaks to provide an even deeper game.
The biggest change is the addition of gear, a series of wearable items which increase stats and provide a unique look to the characters. These items are won by collecting Mother Boxes from the story mode and Multi-verse mode or by buying them using in-game currency (thankfully with no sign of real world money involved). This means that you can really personalise your favourite character by focusing on them during gameplay to get their stats up while unlocking new items. It’s a great way to get players to keep coming back for more and, thankfully, the stat boosts are turned off by default in multiplayer, though you do get to keep your wardrobe.
The story is just as well written as the first with some great voice acting throughout. Following on from the original Injustice, itself a big hit amongst gamers, we find Batman and a few of the other heroes who managed to make it out of the first game alive, keeping the world in check with a more hands-off approach. Superman, meanwhile, is locked up and kept safely buried away after going rogue and trying to enforce a more restricted form of control over the world. As you can imagine, things aren’t all that easy and Wonder Woman has a few things to say about the situation. The one sore point is that we get a more modern Joker, inspired by Suicide Squad, in this game, though his appearance is fleeting in the story.
While the story is rather short, it’s extremely satisfying and has several endings. I’m hoping there’ another part being worked on for the next Injustice game as there is so much more that the team can work with in the DC Universe.
Gameplay follows the same line as Mortal Kombat with less technical moves than other fighters which are easier to master. The skill comes from timing a move, from the basic heavy, light and medium attacks, to throws and a new system that uses the energy bars you gather through a match to pull off smaller special moves or save them up for a Super Move, which are pretty fantastic to watch and do some serious damage.
You can also invoke a Clash, a sort of bet where you secretly choose how many of your power bars to bet against another player in order to provide a life-boosting defence or heavy attack. In the process, you can force the other player’s hand and get them to use up their bars so they have further to go to pull of a Super Move on you. It’s an interesting strategic move which is rarely used but could be crucial to winning a match.
The Online mode is pretty robust and it’s not hard to find a game. Offline, too, competing against other players on a single screen is very satisfying, particularly when you pull off your Super Move. Thankfully, Injustice 2 knows that it will have a wider audience than most fighting games and controls are easy to master for players of any skill level.
Multiverse, which I mentioned earlier, is a series of mini-adventures with a briefing and an ever-growing series of challenges. Win all the challenges in a Multiverse bubble and you get a bunch of prizes, in the form of Mother Boxes and extra unlockable loot, to take away with you. The Multiverses appear for only a short space of time with a timer counting down to their departure, and completing some of them takes a lot of work, but it’s well worth the reward for even completing a few tasks within these worlds.
With a great story mode, balanced fighters and the gear and multiverse systems ensuring endless replays, Injustice 2 is my favourite fighting game yet.