Injustice: Gods Among Us was a masterpiece of a game which let comic book fans and gamers alike vicariously live out their –smash up my action figures—fantasies. In 2017, NetherRealm Studios will finally bring the long awaited sequel to their hit fighting game with Injustice 2. At E3 in Los Angeles we got a hands on demo behind closed doors at the WB Games booth. If you enjoyed the first game, nothing much has changed about your experience, while at the same time if you wanted something new there’s lots to experience.
Injustice was known for being meticulous on the details that make DC Comics fans giddy with high levels of “oh sh*t the Joker just referenced Killing Joke”, the game’s sequel is about to turn that up to 11. While playing as the leader of the Red Lantern Corps, Atrocitus you’ll be joined by the adorably rage fueled cat Dex–Starr. At the push of a button players can call forth this feline companion to deal long distance damage or be hurled at your opponent. Atrocitus isn’t just a skin on a green lantern move set. You’ll spit the blood fire fueling the corps from Ysmault right into the opposing fighters face, create rage tornadoes to launch opponents in the air, and when the time is right call forth the entity known as The Butcher.
Atrocitus isn’t the only new fighter joining the battle as the game looks to balance its ranks with old and new. Most of you who sat in the theater presentation were probably trying to figure out who the empty silhouettes in the character select screen are. NetherRealm isn’t set to release a full roster just yet but loves trolling its fans with placeholder shadows including one that looked like Conan ‘O Brien.
Even the characters returning from the first game feel fresh. We also got to go a round as the king of Atlantis, Aquaman. He returns with all the same moves and powers, but all his animations have been upgraded to feel more natural to the character. Even his Atlantis stage gets a punishing transition missing from the first game as you’ll knock your opponent through one stage into the clutches of Black Manta then into another part of the underwater kingdom. His super move also makes more sense this time around. If you played the first game then you remember throwing logic out of the window and just accepting there was a giant shark aquarium in every level for him to pummel you through before feeding you to his subject.
The biggest change in Injustice 2 is the game’s new RPG style armor upgrade system. Every character can be customized with different armor pieces and color schemes to your hearts content. After every battle players will be awarded loot containing these random gear pieces which can also add new traits such as dealing double damage when you’re in the clutches of defeat. Much like Destiny or The Division leveling up your character will allow you to take advantage of better gear. This idea is still in its infancy as NetherRealm is still figuring out how to incorporate this system in various modes to make players of all skill types feel welcomed.
While we couldn’t confirm any more characters for Injustice 2 there was confirmation that creators who have worked on the DC Comics digital prequel series were aware of the list of characters NetherRealm wants in the new game and could not be massacred in the comics. Captain Cold and Supergirl were the only names I could confirm to be on that list a few months ago. While Supergirl was in the initial announcement it remains to be seen if Leonard Snart will make it into the game.
NetherRealm Studios already proved they had a deep understanding of DC lore with the first Injustice. From the outset there’s a ton of detail in these early stages like the Ace o Clubs, Atlantis, and Gotham to illustrate the same level of commitment this time around. Whether you’re an avid gamer who reads comics or a DC fan who plays video games once a year; this is the game coming out of E3 you’ll want on your radar as the game is set to release in 2017 on PS4 and Xbox One.