NetherRealm Studios and WB Games really struck it home with Injustice 2. As the old axiom goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” With Injustice 2, it looks like the goal wasn’t to fix it, but to tweak it as much as possible – and it really shows. It’s rare that many gaming companies can improve on the success of the first game in a series, but it feels good to say that the initial impressions with Injustice 2 are positive all the way around.
As far as the controls are concerned, anyone who played the previous installment (as well as any Mortal Kombat game) will be familiar with the button layout. The action in this game is still fast and frantic, with combo chains and juggles being front and center. For those new to the game, there are tutorials presented that newbies can play around with to figure out most of the basic moves needed to survive the game.
So, what did NetherRealm and Warner Bros. Games do the 2nd time around to not only bring players back to the table but also keep them there? Aside from bringing back over the top Super Moves, the return of the Clash System and stage transitions, the ability to level up and gear drops have been added.
As gamers play, they earn XP that goes towards loot drops through the game. The gear not only helps gamers personalize their characters but also adds random attributes as well. Just like any gear collecting system, you have your commons, uncommons, rare and epic . Each piece can be fitted to one of five slots, and then there are two extra slots that will modify special attacks as well. The hunt for better gear is what will keep players playing for many hours, well beyond the game’s launch. Also, players should keep in mind that in many tournaments, there is the option of switching those gear modifications on or off. Not to mention with all of the potential costume pieces waiting to be unlocked, cosplayers will be mighty busy creating some unique costumes this year based on character designs in the game.
As far as the roster is concerned, players will get 4 more characters (28 in total) than what they had in the first Injustice game. On the plus side, at least 4 of the characters won’t be pallet swaps like in the first when you had Sinestro/Green Lantern. What’s disappointing, is that you can’t get Darkseid on day one unless you pre-ordered the game before release. Outside of that, however, the roster seems more varied from the start.
As far as the Story Mode goes, it picks up where the last one left off, with Superman in jail and Batman trying to pick up the pieces. It’s also a world where former villains are heroes and vice versa. There is a greater threat coming, however, in the form of an age-old nemesis of Superman and the story is well-told through the game’s cinematics. Graphically, Injustice 2 is excellent in a lot of places, although some of the modeling for certain characters (like Grodd) seems a bit mushy and not up to par for current systems. Outside of that, however, the facial modeling for many characters (particularly the women) has improved. The lighting and cinematic-to-gameplay transitions have also been improved, giving this title a more polished feel.
If you want to see the first 20 minutes of the Story Mode, watch below. WARNING: There are Spoilers Galore!!
It’s really too early to say if any characters seem like they are over or under balanced, of course if anything becomes noticeable, they will be addressed via post release patches. But the one notable thing I did pick up in the game so far, is that it’s somewhat easier to negate Super Moves than it was in the last one. In the first Injustice game, once a Super Move was started, most of the time it followed through to finish. This time around, however, players will have to better time when and how they want to pull them off. Also, players will not want to wait too late to do them, because they may not get treated to the cinematic of the move. As far as the Super Moves are concerned, yes they are still over the top and crazy but I still have yet to see any that really blew my mind similar to what was in the first game. That doesn’t mean that it’s not there, I just haven’t run across it as yet!
There are a few other modes packed in as well for those who will quickly burn through the story mode. Of course there is the online mode for those who want to test their mettle against human online opponents. There is a multiplayer option, because what kind of game would this be if it didn’t allow you the ability to kick your roommates’ or house guests’ butts on the same TV screen? The mode that will keep most people occupied, however, will be the Multiverse mode in which players can fight opponents on various tiers to earn more points to get unlockables. Also, if you really need a mobile fix, Injustice 2 is available for tablets, and a huge benefit is that you can transfer some of the XP from your tablet game into your console game, thus giving more incentive to play and unlock new things. The tablet version is also free. The only thing sorely missing from the console version (but included in the tablet version) is a tag team mode. It would have been interesting to see what would happen to team up a few of these characters for some tag battles and combine their abilities.
In the face of other fighting games that are currently on the market, Injustice 2 has a lot of upside with everything that has been packed in so far. It takes what has made the Mortal Kombat series so successful and delivers another solid game. The RPG-like system and different modes will keep gamers busy for hours. If there were anything I could wish for, however, it would be a tag team mode similar to what’s found in the Tekken and DOA series. A few may question the roster omissions but one can only imagine who may drop as the DLC comes later. With this game out now, it’s time for Marvel to step up with their Marvel v Capcom game (coming in September) especially with Tekken 7 on the horizon and Switch players about to be able to take a full version of Street Fighter on the go. DC may not be kicking butt in the movie department but in the gaming realm, they are delivering.
4 Brother Eyes out of 5