If Injustice: Gods Among Us was Mortal Kombat co-creator and DC superfan Ed Boon smashing his toys together as a child, then Injustice 2 is the teenage comic fan painting and posing all the figures on a glass shelf in his parent’s basement. A game so polished in mechanics and aesthetic it feels like a collectible itself. Netherrealm Studios has amped just about every aspect of their DC Comics fighting game… except for one. Just like the heroes of the DC universe, Injustice 2 overcomes one flaw to soar on the cape of the most single-player content in a fighting game.
Developer: Netherrealm Studios
Publisher: WB Interactive
Platform: PS4 (Available on Xbox One)
Note: Review code provided by WB IE.
Injustice 2 manages to improve upon the things it did right the first time around. Fighting feels even more over the top than in the original. Returning are the super moves each character has that feel like a double page action spread come to life. From Batman going full Tim Burton in the Batwing to new characters like Swamp Thing smashing his opponent in the center of the Earth; the action is top shelf. Mechanically, Injustice 2 adds more fine tuning with faster character movement, defensive options against ranged attacks, and a challenging but manageable combo system. Bouncing opponents off the wall or floor is just the beginning of a super-powered beat down you can unleash with a bit of practice.
The biggest change to Injustice 2 is its new loot system. Think of it as every character in the DCU having their own collection of Batsuits. As you complete matches in any mode, you’ll unlock new gear pieces for your characters allowing you to tailor a unique look for your fighter while adding to their stats. Changes can be as minor as the style of a breastplate, or adding a new hood to Robin – or they can be something as major as changing the logo across Superman’s chest. Between the different shaders, options for arms, leggings, chest plates, shirts, helmets, headpieces, and new weapons you could go days before you come across another character that resembles yours.
You’ll earn the most gear in the game’s new Multiverse mode. Players can battle across different worlds each with their own unique stipulations. One dimension had us in Bizzaro world fighting with the screen turned upside down while another speeds up character movement to a breakneck pace. It’s just some of the various ways the game will screw with you.
We have to acknowledge the fly in the ointment, the game’s story that won’t sit well fans of the original. Where Injustice: Gods Among Us was about splintering the heroes of the DC Universe through tragedy, the sequel teases a reunion as the threat of Brainiac looms over Earth. Can Batman and Superman find the old spark of Justice League in order to put a stop to the planet destroying menace? Without spoiling the story, we can say the most excitement of the narrative was just summarized. The original Injustice felt as though it took more risks and pushed the limits of where these characters could go. Jaw dropping moments such as Bruce Wayne’s prison break or Superman killing the Joker and Shazam don’t happen here. As comic book character adaptation stories go, Injustice 2 is solid, however, it feels a bit tame by comparison to Gods Among Us and Tom Taylor’s original run on the comics. Though that is a dissapointment, it’s something that doesn’t leave a bad taste once you jump into online battles and Multiverse mode.
Overall, Injustice 2 improves upon every way to play the game. DC’s most robust fighting roster flourishes even through a story that’s grim for the sake of being grim. I gave Injustice: Gods Among Us a 10 on a different site years ago, it was a unique thing that pushed the limits of what DC’s icons could get away with in narrative. Injustice 2 fixes many of the mechanical issues but doesn’t feel like a narrative leap forward. DC comics fans will have a great time with the game, just don’t count on another memorable story.
9/10- Injustice 2 is one of the best fighting game experiences in recent memory. Despite its basic story, the game shines as the new way to answer who would win in a fight questions.
To celebrate the launch of Injustice 2, Comics Beat is giving away one of the new Harley Quinn Injustice statues courtesy of DC Collectibles. To win, follow me on Twitter @bouncingsoul217 and share your favorite moment from the Injustice games or comics using #Injustice2 and next Friday I will pick a winner. (Continental United States residents only, statue comes in original packaging but was opened to shoot unboxing). While you’re at it, follow @comicsbeat for news and views on all things comic book. If you can’t wait for next week, the limited numbered DC Collectibles Harley Quinn statues are available in comic shops now.