Injustice: Gods Among Us was a competent fighter. A good fighter. But not only did I never click with a character to main, Injustice also happened to be a fairy ugly game. Injustice 2 has taken what was good about its predecessor and improved upon it, creating one of the best fighting games I’ve played — and you can’t not mention how amazing those facial animations are!
NetherRealm have been experimenting with story modes in fighting games for a while now, and with great success. Injustice 2 is easily their best featuring a cinematic, blockbuster campaign which wouldn’t go amiss as a movie, and it’s a blast to play through. NetherRealm’s understanding of these superpowered heroes and villains is remarkable, and seeing them come to life and interacting with one another is wonderful — the unique lines at the start of each fight tend to be witty and funny, and the Injustice story in general is one of DC’s finest — enough so that it’s enticed me to buy and read the comics too.
After the events of Injustice: Gods Among Us, Superman has been captured and detained and Batman and friends try to bring peace back to the world. The heroes of this world have their hands full when Gorilla Grodd and The Society appear to take over the world, though. It’s engaging and exciting, and paves the way for some fan-favourite fights. The combat is a big step up from the first game too with it feeling far more fluid, with more characters to play with and returning characters being polished and left feeling fresh — the likes of Wonder Woman, Flash and Harley Quinn are much more enjoyable to play here than they were before.
Injustice 2 mixes hand-to-hand combat, super powers and environmental hazards for explosive action befitting the superheroes involved — the stage transitions are impressive, and so is each character’s super move which tend to be grand in scale. There’s a lot of depth in the gameplay mechanics but it’s also one of the more accessible fighters on the market due to the simplicity of its move inputs. Of course, you still need to put the practice in as you won’t immediately learn a character, but a small handful of special moves per characters prevents learning them from bogging you down. Before long you’ll be pulling off stylish moves as you’d expect from your favourite DC characters, and it’s incredible.
Injustice 2 has one of the best uses of loot boxes across gaming too. Spending an hour or so playing games to level up and unlock a box? No. Injustice 2 doesn’t want to keep you waiting, and it’s easy to earn a multitude of loot boxes very quickly. You can get them from fighting or buying them with in-game credits you’ve earned, but the best way to earn them is to make use of the Multiverse. The Multiverse has a bunch of timed events that refresh and completing them rewards you with boxes, gear and credits, and there are even mini-challenges to let you earn even more! You’re never left in a lull and you’re constantly earning loot boxes, and it’s exciting — you won’t collect everything so quickly either as there are hundreds of different gear pieces and colour shaders to unlock.
This brings me into the gear system which is another new addition to Injustice 2. Each character has a large variety of gear unique to them, and each comes with their own stats that change strength, defence and more — you can play with characters in their default states online though, so don’t worry too much about gear differences. A characters aesthetic can change greatly depending on their gear and it’s easy to get addicting to collecting loot — thankfully it’s so easy to do! The gear system could’ve easily thrown Injustice 2 into chaos but NetherRealm have tackled it with care, and it’s a great addition which I greatly enjoy.
If you’ve seen Injustice 2 then you’ve likely noted how fantastic its facial animation is — it’s hard to imagine that this is the work of the same company who created Injustice: Gods Among Us which wasn’t a particularly great looking game. Injustice 2 boasts some of the most impressive facial animations and special effects in gaming, and they look incredibly realistic at times. A beautiful game with detailed character models, creative arenas and a smooth framerate makes for a stunning game which other fighters will be clamouring to surpass, and its a technical marvel.
Mark Hamill might not reprise his role as the Joker, but Kevin Conroy is the definitive Batman once again and puts on another outstanding performance as the Caped Crusader. The voice-acting in general is high quality with no one putting in a weak performance, and each voice-actor and actress brings their respective characters wonderfully to life. Injustice 2’s orchestral soundtrack fits the DC universe, providing amped tunes for battle and matching the epic scale of the games story.
Injustice 2 is amongst the best fighters I’ve ever played, and I think it’ll live a long, healthy life in both the casual and competitive scene. An immense amount of single player and multiplayer content, a generally stable netcode and a variety of characters to play and gear to unlock keep you coming back for more, and you won’t hear me complaining about that! Enjoyable, solid and visually gorgeous, Injustice 2 is NetherRealm’s best work yet and I’m excited to see how they’ll top it in Injustice 3 — assuming they make another sequel, of course. It’s performing well and it certain deserves it, so here’s hoping the brilliant Injustice series continues.