A Brief History in Time
Back in 2008, the then-developers Midway Games had an idea to release a Mortal Kombat crossover game featuring some of the well-known DC characters battling it out amongst Mortal Kombat characters. That would be known simply as Mortal Kombat Vs DC Universe. Unfortunately, not long after its release, the developers got into some financial trouble and eventually sold their company to what is now known as NetherRealm Studios; part of the Warner Bros studios.
In 2013 they decided to go all out with a fighting game dedicated to just characters from the DC Universe. It was a gamble that pulled off remarkably well, so much so that it gained a Game of the Year title and had a re-release the following year, but unfortunately missed out the Xbox One for one reason or another. This title was known as Injustice: Gods Among Us. Fast forward a few more years to the present, and what we have here today is Injustice 2. No fancy subtitle needed, but does it improve upon its prequel or should they have kept a fighting gem as it was?
A Multitude of Modes
There’s plenty of single player content on offer as well as a handful of multiplayer modes including a mode where you create a team that is to be controlled by the AI who will battle it out with your friends AI teams to grant you rewards and such but the focus of this review is the story and the new content that’s available over the original title.
Without spoiling too much, this title’s storyline takes place several years after the fall of Superman from the original title, with the Man of Steel himself imprisoned by a Red Sun. However it’s not long before a new villain is set to seek destruction in the universe and it’s up to our favourite heroes and villains joining forces to put an end to it all.
It is here, within the story mode where the game really shines. The previous games story had a bit of a convoluted storyline spanning the DC multiverse, which seemed rather confusing with multiple Supermen and Jokers, some good, some evil – but all necessary to explain why certain characters were fighting one another. You wouldn’t see Batman fight it out with Superman so they needed a story that made sense…oh wait, they did what now? A movie you say? Needless to say the story in Injustice 2 is smooth sailing from the start, with more of a story that’s easy to watch and just jaw-droppingly awesome, especially for fans of the universe. They’ve found a way to grab many of the storylines from across the DC comics universe and blend them together in this expanded story that makes sense, seeing the various characters battle it out in order to stop the overarching villain, giving each character a somewhat understandable reason as to why they’re fighting their opponent. There is no multiverse in this story, however that’s saved for a whole new mode…
Gone are the S.T.A.R. Labs from the previous game, instead it’s replaced with a much more welcoming Multiverse mode. The Multiverse mode; for those familiar with it, is somewhat of an expanded Towers from the Mortal Kombat games, allowing you to pick a world that has a set event requiring you to complete a set amount of battles to ‘save the world’ within the multiverse. Each world in the multiverse requires a certain character with a recommended level that that character needs to be in order to succeed. Once completed, you’re granted a reward based on how many points you’ve accumulated during the event. The rewards vary from event to event but all inevitably help you earn more gear.
Gear’s of War
Gear in Injustice 2 is an unusual addition for that of a fighting game, however, it’s probably the greatest idea to throw into a fighting game for that matter, leaving you wondering “Why hasn’t this been done before now?”. Granted, it’s a system used primarily in RPG’s but it is executed extremely well in Injustice 2 that not only does it offer an unprecedented amount of replayability, but a way to show off your characters to the world – as the chances of your character being identical to that of another player is extremely slim. Every battle you complete, you’ll earn coins and sometimes boxes to unlock. Use this coins to purchase boxes from the Brother Eye Vault and it’ll reward you with random pieces of attire for any of the characters available to you.
Each piece of gear is ranked according to rarity. The rarer the gear, the better the gear is, with some offering unique skills and abilities and even XP or coin rewards. Some gear require certain triggers before being granted, offering extra challenges and replayability – such as Robin’s legs granting you 242 bonus XP for not jumping during a multiverse match. However these stats that are attached to gear can be completely random so no two players will ever have the exact same stats for their characters – unless you choose to go old-school and battle it out with the default characters’ attributes.
If you happen to acquire more than one of the same piece of equipment, you can sell it for coins or you can simply regenerate or transform that piece of gear. Regenerating gear will change the stats of it for the cost of a regen token, however if you’re not entirely happy with the new stats, you can revert back to the old one albeit losing your regen coin but handy nevertheless. Transforming a piece of gear will change the appearance of it but it will keep the stats that’s attached to the gear. Every little detail and quality of life assurances have gone into this complex system that really makes each players’ game completely unique.
Not only can you earn gear for your characters, but you can also earn new shaders to change their appearance. Some shaders change the appearance of a character so much so, that they essentially double up as a second character, considering the similarities between them. For example, Captain Cold can unlock a shader that turns him into Mr. Freeze or Cheetah can also double up as Vixen. It’s these minor details and effort that NetherRealm has put into this title that really does it justice. What’s more, should you choose to change up the appearance of your character, you can set various load outs for them and save them for quick access next time you pick your fighter.
“Every Battle Defines You”
Combat in Injustice 2 is fluid and quick and even the amateur of players can unleash some wicked moves with its simplistic controller scheme. However, for those hardcore of players, there are certain moves that require precision, perfect timing and skill to pull off – not to mention the ability to read your opponent’s next move. Control schemes can be adjusted according to the player through the options such as requiring input of directional button presses for those who like to fight old-school style.
Each character has a wealth of moves and can be viewed via the moves list when you pause the game. NeverRealm seem to have gone above and beyond with the moves list in this title, as not only does it show you all the moves and combos and the required button presses to unleash each move, they’ve kindly put in move data and frame rate stats for each and every move. It’s certainly a feature you’ve never realised you’ve needed it until now. Move data shows you how much damage that particular move will deal to your opponent, displays the move type and which of your stats it affects. Frame rate data shows you how quickly the move will take to perform.
A World Where Injustice Doesn’t Exist
Injustice 2 is available now from all good retailers and can be purchased digitally from the Xbox Store priced at £54.99.
The second instalment to the game of the year Injustice proves its mettle and worth by exceeding above and beyond to what made the prequel so great in the first place. With the largest roster of a DC title, and more modes than you can shake your fist at, NetherRealm prove they are the kings when it comes to developing fighting games.