Injustice 2: Three Months Later

Our long-term reviewer explores Injustice 2's robust narrative arcs, Multiverse mode and Gear system

Yes, this game has been out for some time now. But, the wait to write about it has been worth it. NetherRealm has outdone itself with this latest installment of superhero brawlers. Th developer has been improving with every game since its Mortal Kombat reboot. The first Injustice game was delightful in the sense that it let us pit our favourite DC Comics characters against each other in all-out battle. Now we’ve been given Injustice 2, which is a hard to get exceptional sequel that is both more entertaining and innovative than its predecessor.

I played Injustice 2: Ultimate Edition on PlayStation 4.

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From left: Good Supergirl, Machiavellian Batman and Evil Superman

Story

For a fighting title, Injustice 2 places a lot of emphasis on its narrative. It’s an immersive story packed with some impressive cutscenes and visuals. It picks up where Injustice: Gods Among Us ended. Five years after the downfall of Superman’s totalitarian regime, Batman and his merry band of insurgents are trying to right the world. The crew now consists of Blue Beetle and Firestorm to name a few and even a reformed Harley Quinn, who was finally freed from Joker’s thrall. But, alas!

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Superhero meet-up. Check out Firestorm’s hair

A group called Society (not to be confused with the raucous Marina club of a similar name), comprised of your usual band of evil baddies led by Gorilla Grodd, aims for world domination. You’d imagine they’d at least want a better dental plan to start with before heading for world domination.

Anyway, Society is actually led by none other than universe-level super villain, Brainiac, a being responsible for destroying and collecting planets. He disintegrated Krypton (Superman’s home world) and now he wants to do the same with Earth.

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“You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain” (Not an in-game quote, but we thought it would make an appropriate caption)

Another side of the story shows us heroes such as the Flash and Green Lantern trying to redeem themselves in the aftermath of what happened the last time. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman and Black Adam are secretly grooming Supergirl to get her to free her cousin Superman from his red sun prison.

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Girl power: One of the game’s subplots sees Wonder Woman playing mentor to Kara Zor-El AKA Supergirl

Although the story is pretty predictable, with the whole uniting-against-a-common-foe scenario going on, it still is entertaining to get through. The voice acting and animations are stellar and the characters are very well fleshed out. All in all, about seven to eight hours well spent.

Characters

Fresh out the box, you start with more than 25 characters to play with, which is plenty enough. On top of this, NetherRealm added a bunch of DLC characters such as Red Hood, Starfire, Darkseid and even Sub-Zero crossing over from the Mortal Kombat universe.

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“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times” – Bruce Lee, who we’re sure would be proud of Batman’s form here

The list consists of new and existing cast members, with fresh additions including Red Lantern’s Atrocitus, Gorilla Grodd and Blue Beetle. The only downside would be the Jared Leto Joker that they picked for this game. I’m sure he has at least one fan out there but they could have put any other version but this one.

There are also bonus characters that can be unlocked via the Gear System, which I’ll explain in a bit. These bonus characters are basically re-skinned versions of the existing heroes/villains. For example, the right combination of gear can turn Captain Cold into Mr Freeze, or Flash into Reverse Flash or even Jay Garrick, Superman into Bizarro and other combos.

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Combat is both close and long-range, with a dash of superpowers and a tinge of new blocking and recovery moves

The characters, whether mainstream or new, all stand out in their own way. Each has a role to play, which is important because a game like this needs the variety. Injustice 2 balances both sides, good and evil, so well that many times you’d rather play on evil’s side.

Gameplay

Keeping in step with the previous instalment, Injustice 2‘s gameplay hasn’t changed much. The fighting system offers a healthy mix of close-quarter and long-distance combat, with a dash of superpowers and a tinge of new blocking and recovery moves. Whether you’re playing online or simply button-mashing with your friends, these new variants add a delightful fun factor without feeling repetitive at all.

The major changes complement the the new Multiverse mode and Gear System. In the former, players can experience a host of game modes with added modifiers and effects. Some of these modifiers are fun, and others less so. But the end game is the same: Get your hands on as much loot as you can to upgrade as many characters as possible.

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Multiverse mode lets you battle on Earth in a number of DC Universe scenarios, with varying levels of difficulty, handicaps and narratives

Every action is designed to give you gear or loot in one form or another. A growing number of today’s games feature microtransactions, and Injustice 2 is no exception.

Enter the Gear system. This new addition to the game is what separates it from the first Injustice and its peers. Each fight (or “mission”) that you participate in or take on rewards players with gear or loot. These go towards improving your characters in some way or the other, be it their costumes, armor, strengths or abilities.

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The Gear system lends an RPG element to Injustice 2’s gameplay

The Gear system’s purpose is to add unlimited possibilities of gameplay and variations in characters so that players don’t get bored too easily. Unlocking certain costume combinations result in new or re-skinned existing characters. For example, the right combo could get you to change Superman to Bizarro, Flash into Reverse Flash or (one of my favourites) Robin into Nightwing.

Verdict

Injustice 2 does what fighting games are supposed to do: Provide hours of fun by yourself, with friends or online. The game beautifully melds NetherRealm’s intricately crafted worlds with the characters and stories behind DC Comics’ treasured heroes and villains.

Until Marvel comes back with an improved Marvel Vs Capcom title, Injustice 2 is going to hold the top spot.