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Review: Injustice 2 (PS4)

Fighting
8.5

Great

I think it’s pretty safe to say that Arc System Works, Capcom and NetherRealm are the ‘three kings’ of fighting games. These three companies develop the majority of popular fighting games but let’s face it, Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter are definitely the biggest names in the genre. There’s something incredibly interesting about Capcom and NetherRealm in the sense that they form the two ‘sides’ of the fighting game fence and this even extends to the comic book fighters they develop. Capcom has a long-running history with the Marvel franchise and, while a bit shorter, NetherRealm has produced the DC side of things. In 2013 NetherRealm unleashed the DC themed fighter Injustice: Gods Among Us on the world to much praise, but it has been quite some time since then. While the developers have released the enjoyable Mortal Kombat X since then, are they able to deliver once again with Batman and the gang in Injustice 2?

Combos Among Us

There’s something about the original Injustice that just didn’t sit well with me. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy playing it and the game had a lot of content, but I just couldn’t bring myself to play it outside of playing with friends. It’s not for a lack of trying, but I wasn’t motivated to practice and try to get a better understanding of the game’s systems. I can happily say that, even from the opening few minutes, I have not had this problem with Injustice 2. Being a little rusty on NetherRealm fighters I opted to start off with the tutorial and, while it’s a pretty stock standard affair, it does a good job of educating players on how to play the game.

Players are given a glimpse of the various mechanics the game has in store and even though players will more than likely forget most of what is on display, there’s enough to give them a strong footing with an idea of what to learn as they progress. From here you can go on to specific character tutorials which give you a better understanding of the inner workings of how each character should be played and what tools they have available to them. While these may seem more in line with the ‘Challenges’ we’ve seen in other fighters, they are presented in such a way that they are far more beneficial to players than the usual move checklist that we’ve gotten used to.

Now Injustice 2 does a lot to get players off on the right foot, but does that mean there’s a game worth playing here? The fighting game genre is usually pretty divisive and while most people have dabbled in them, it’s usually quite difficult for them to hold a player’s attention. There is something rather special here in Injustice 2 in that the game is quite simple to pick up, but you’ll definitely be rewarded for putting the time into learning the game. The fighting does a lot to make itself feel incredibly accessible to a casual market and still feel like a worthwhile game to more competitive players. One of the biggest draws Injustice 2 has is that, whether you want to play it for the fun of it or take it to a competitive level, the game has a lot on offer for every kind of player. You have every multiplayer feature one could ask for delivered in a competent and working manner, even if we’re a bit too far South to find many decent online matches, and a host of engaging single player content that doesn’t leave much to be desired.

A suit for all occasions and Justice League Manager 2017

Injustice 2 well and truly shines with its plethora of single player content. The game offers a wide variety of gameplay modes that can satisfy whatever players’ needs may be. Want to go against an endless number of enemies? There’s a mode for that. Want to watch an AI playing your favourite character go against an endless number of enemies? There’s a mode for that too. Injustice 2 has so much on offer that it puts most other games in the genre to shame and it all starts with a stellar story mode.

Picking up after the events of Injustice: Gods Among Us we see the DC heroes try to pick up the pieces in the wake of Superman and Batman’s ideological war. With Superman in prison and The Regime plotting to make a comeback, the heroes and villains of the DC Universe are faced with the rise of The Society and the imminent arrival of Brainiac. The main story of Injustice 2 offers a four to six hour experience that goes above and beyond what it expected of fighting games, providing an exciting and enjoyable single-player story that people should definitely play through. Let’s face it, the storylines in fighting games usually feel tacked on as a forced order of encounters but NetherRealm have gone above and beyond to try to go against that standard. In Injustice 2 we’re given a well-presented storyline with a stellar voice cast that will leave you more than satisfied. It’s impressive that NetherRealm have managed to produce such an enjoyable experience but also create enough content to keep players engaged well after the credits roll. The Multiverses provide time-based ladder challenges in a similar vein to Mortal Kombat X’s living towers and this is probably something players will lose too much time to. With challenges refreshing throughout the day and week, there’s always some new challenge presented to players with unique modifiers that will always give you a reason to come back. These Multiverses also feel rewarding thanks to their relatively generous gear rewards and this mixture of challenge and reward provides a massive draw, which can see you losing hours to the game.

These Multiverses also feel rewarding thanks to their relatively generous gear rewards and this mixture of challenge and reward provides a massive draw.

The gear system, the major new feature of Injustice 2, is an incredibly well thought out system that provides an engaging addition to the gameplay that doesn’t feel tacked on or too cumbersome. Injustice 2’s gear system allows you to make each character your own with random gear drops that alter not only the look of each character but also their stats and abilities in the single player and casual multiplayer modes. I honestly didn’t expect to be as drawn into the gear system as I found myself, but the allure of being able to make Firestorm my own and shift his abilities pulled me in and doesn’t seem to be letting go.

The ability to create AI loadouts and then send the custom AI characters to take on the various challenges available to the game is oddly rewarding and enjoyable. I honestly never expected to enjoy this feature as much as I have and I even found myself cheering on my personalised AI Grodd as he took down hero after hero. Injustice 2 provides you many different ways to play the game and this is ultimately the greatest strength of the title.

Looks that kill

While everything from a gameplay standpoint works together incredibly well, it’s the overall look and feel of the game that brings it all together. One of the major issues I had with Injustice: Gods Among Us is that the game just looked incredibly bland. It was just dreary and in no way pleasant to look at but Injustice 2 has managed to step away from that and into the spotlight as one of the best looking fighting games on the market. Injustice 2 is an impressive game visually and it almost feels unreal that this much effort was put into the looks of a fighting game, but NetherRealm did and it’s absolutely gorgeous. On top of looking great, Injustice 2 also sounds amazing with sound effects that let you know the force of your hits. The thing that is most enjoyable about the sound effects of the game is that they make you feel powerful and pulling off an impressive makes it sound like you’re delivering blows with the force of a truck. All in all Injustice 2 is incredibly well presented and the game does it’s best to make you feel as powerful as the heroes and villains you’re playing, wrapping everything up into an exceptional package.

My problem with Injustice 2 is that the character portrait for the pre-order bonus Darkseid is slap bang in the middle as a constant reminder that you don’t own everything the game has to offer.

That all being said, I do have a couple of gripes but they pale in comparison to the game as a whole and unfortunately have more to do with the industry than anything else. So if you didn’t manage to get a Goro DLC code with your copy of Mortal Kombat X you were greeted to a nice little silhouette on the character screen that would take you to the purchase screen. This silhouette was eventually joined by a couple more on the sides of the character select screen as the kombat packs were released but this was kept out of the way. My problem with Injustice 2 is that the character portrait for the pre-order bonus Darkseid is slap bang in the middle as a constant reminder that you don’t own everything the game has to offer early on. It’s not the biggest issue in the world but it does cause a bit of minor frustration, but it was probably done to get people to fork out. My only other issue with the game is that you need to do a bit of digging in the game’s menus to get to see everything on offer to players, but once again this isn’t the biggest train smash.

So all in all, Injustice 2 delivers a stellar package that goes above and beyond what one expects from a fighting game. NetherRealm has given us a delightful game to simply enjoy with a ton of content to keep us invested. It’s not always easy to recommend a fighting game to people who aren’t heavily invested in the genre, but Injustice 2 offers a fantastic game for anyone who is willing to pick it up. I’ve found myself enjoying Injustice 2 far more than I expected to and this title definitely deserves your attention even if you’re only vaguely interested in the game.

Good

  • Epic loot
  • Stunning graphics
  • Fantastic netcode
  • Accessible fighting

Bad

  • Menus aren't all that informative
  • Missing DLC content is painfully obvious

Summary

Injustice 2 delivers a robust and enjoyable experience that can be appreciated by all. With a plethora of single player content and accessible yet rewarding fighting system, Injustice 2 is able to hit all the right notes and is something one can sink an almost absurd amount of time into yet still feel fulfilled.
8.5

Great

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