It's been four years since NetherRealm Studios unleashed Injustice: Gods Among Us on DC Comics fans. Now that the sequel just released, is it a fighter worthy of your hard-earned Source Crystals?
The first thing you'll notice after playing Injustice 2 for a bit is how awesome its visuals and sound come together to form a breathtakingly cinematic atmosphere and that's rare to see in a one-on-one fighting game. The superheroes come alive with emotive facial expressions, terrific voice acting, and perfectly choreographed animations that seem like they're lifted straight from an action movie.
To flesh out the world further, the stages are overwhelmingly moody and bring a pitch-perfect atmosphere to the DC Comics setting. Most of the environments are dark yet there are loads of animations and complexities that'll keep you immersed in the world. For example, having a vehicle with a turret crash into the scene then watching it shoot up the stage is just awesome. You can also throw parts of the stages into your foe, smash your opponent into certain features, and even launch them into different environments within the same stage. That latter feature can look quite silly but there's no denying how cool it is. All of this being said, there are only 12 stages to choose from and they start to get very repetitive after only a few hours of gameplay. Thankfully, 8 of them have alternate areas to fight within.
One thing Injustice has always done right is provide accessible gameplay that can easily be enjoyed by non-fighter fans. After taking the brief tutorial, anyone can start kicking ass with very little practice. The simplified combos, intuitive controls, and HUD clues make it quite a streamlined combat system. A couple of added complexities come in the form of Supermoves and Clashes. The former allows you to unleash a devastating attack that involves a crazy cinematic chain of events while the latter grants you a chance at restoring health by using stored energy if you manage to have more than your opponent. It can be exciting stuff.
List of characters in Injustice 2 (so far)
- Swamp Thing
- The Flash
- Green Lantern
- Harley Quinn
- Gorilla Grodd
- Poison Ivy
- Green Arrow
- Doctor Fate
- Blue Beetle
- Black Canary
- Wonder Woman
- Black Adam
- Captain Cold
On the other hand, if you're a fighting game fanatic then the easily accessible gameplay can be rather off-putting. There are no complex character-specific combos with split-second timing to master like in The King of Fighters, no exciting reaction-based reversal system like in Dead or Alive, and no satisfying intricacies to learn like in Guilty Gear. Instead, the gameplay mostly relies on filling your meter to unleash powerful moves, interacting with the environments, and executing the same general strategy for every character.
Back to what Injustice 2 does right; there is a load of content to work through. The story mode is simply epic as it features dozens of stages and many of them can be played through with different characters which allows you to play the story through various perspectives. Next, Multiverse mode has you fight through successions of opponents in order to earn prizes. Such prizes unlock new moves and gear for your characters that alters their stats as well as their appearance. Of course, you can play against others both locally and online to truly put your skills to the test. I didn't have much problem playing online although connecting sometimes resulted in some issues. Anyway, you can even link the game to its mobile counterpart for bonus rewards.
Finally, I should discuss Injustice 2's seemingly shady DLC. If you want to gain access to a few extras and all the characters that'll release down the road then you have to pay more than half of what the game costs. Also, there is an in-game currency known as Source Crystals that you can alternately purchase with real-world money. Obviously, this is completely optional but the fact that they're charging so much money for it is ridiculous and it makes the developers come across as greedy. Keep in mind, about seven months after the original Injustice released; an Ultimate Edition of it arrived. If the same happens with this, why bother buying it now?
Injustice 2 is a capable and accessible fighter that fans of DC Comics will love. That being said, if you're in the market for a hardcore fighter then you'll likely be disappointed by its generally casual gameplay.
- + Gorgeous visuals, awesome atmosphere, and spot-on voice work and cinematics
- + Easy to master gameplay
- + Tons of content to work through
- - Hardcore fighter fans may be put off by the overall casual gameplay
- - Could use more stage variety
- - DLC and in-game currency are pricey