Injustice 2 introduction

NetherRealm has been on a roll since 2011’s Mortal Kombat reboot. With the release of injustice 2 it’s come another step closer to perfecting its particular brand of fighting games.

Injustice 2 is dense, deep and refined, but also accessible to newcomers. But it’s the addition of gear that makes the biggest splash allowing you to craft a personalized or villain. There are some complications to gear management which may become frustrating, Minor gripes aside, this RPG-like progression system proves to be the biggest boon for an already strong fighting game set in a fractured Comics universe.

The cast of characters sees the return of many familiar faces but also introduces unlikely fan favorites such as the Red Lantern called Atrocitus and the plant-like behemoth Swamp Thing. The roster of nearly 30 characters offers a broad range of superpowers and fighting styles, and each has a distinct trait that can instantly trigger a status buff or summon an underling in the middle of a fight.

What’s up with the story mode?

You meet many of these fighters in an impressive story mode which shines through NetherRealms trademark theatrics. Both in cutscenes and in battle DC’s cast has never looked better, but the real star of the show is the fighting system. It consists of a mix of hand-to-hand combat, superpowers, weapons and environmental hazards. How exactly the characters fit into these styles of combat differs, but as is the norm for NetherRealm’s games most attacks feel hefty and deliberate. At first special moves and combos are easy enough to learn, but it takes time and practice to get combo timing under your skin to move fluidly from one attack to the next.

Still, newcomers can easily impress each other with simple two-button super moves which pause the action for an absurd, cinematic combo attack, or halt an incoming combo attack by activating clash – a move that forces players to gamble segments of their super meter in hopes of regaining health or inflicting extra damage. In the hands of a new player clashing can provide an escape plan, in the hands of a pro it opens up a mind game that can drastically alter the playing field.

Crucial game-breaker

Ultimately there’s no better teacher for a new player than experience. In this sense Injustice 2 is packed with learning opportunities. The Multiverse is a mode that benefits from randomly generated battle modifiers, and the temptation of gear-based rewards. Not all multiverse challenges are enjoyable but you sometimes get a satisfying leg-up over the competition. Regardless of whether modifiers make the act of fighting more or less difficult, they nevertheless serve as a valuable opportunity to see your characters’ abilities under a new lens and study their potential.

Perhaps more importantly, depending on your love for loot, the Multiverse is your primary means of acquiring gear, item boxes, and experience points. Specific types of gear are often teased before you choose a mission. A shiny new helmet for Dr. Fate or a sword for Wonder Woman, for example, can often prove to be rewarding enough to put up with the game’s more troublesome modifiers. Otherwise random gear drops after individual battles, and random loot boxes are rewarded based on a score derived from how efficiently and dominantly you fight.

Injustice 2 loot

With five gear slots, extra ability slots, and custom shading unlocks for each fighter, there’s a lot of character specific gear to collect. By default gear is distributed in a Multiverse with a slight bias towards the character you’re playing. Regardless, you will ultimately earn items for other characters as well. It occurs to the point that you rarely get what you’re actually looking for, even when that unexpected epic grade item drops for your favorite hero. You may then find that it’s still temporarily out of reach, since all gear is level-locked, at least until you have enough funds to get around it.

This pesky Injustice 2’s currency system has many layers, but can be broken down into two frequent cases. Spending relatively common credits, skill credits, and region tokens to earn random gear or regenerate items you already own, and trading in source crystals which can cost real-world money. To have total control over items in your inventory. In the latter scenario you are spending large amounts of a valuable resource to use or manipulate items that you already own.

Though, to be fair, you can earn some source crystals by playing Injustice 2. However over dozens of hours they come too few and far between to seemingly make spending real-world money seem like a necessary evil. This misgiving aside you can still get a lot of enjoyment out of collecting gear and outfitting characters without spending additional cash. Watching a character’s traditional outfit transform into something fresher, unexpected. Seeing their stats grow through leveling up and equipping gear grants a satisfying sense of ownership.

Multiplayer

Your accomplishments and possessions your character’s appearance will carry over to every mode, but stat boosts only count in unranked online matches, and even that only when both players agree, and never in ranked matches. This allows Multiverse to serve as the anything-goes variety show without negatively impacting the competitive community. With the rewards you earn the introduction of automated AI battles is a nice touch for people who want a taste of online competition without the pressure to train and master a character. It is also an easy way to earn free item boxes every day.

After creating a team of three fighters (who retain any and all stat boosts) you pit them against another player’s online team and watch fights play out in front of you. You can also rely on other players to fight your AI team. While you’re away from the game you retain a win-loss record and are often given item boxes whenever you log in. It is an occurrence that will fluctuate based on how often your team defeats incoming challenges. While you’re offline let’s warm up Victor yeah but you don’t strain yourself that’s never been a problem with AI battles online.

In local versus matches, the ever-changing multiverse, and an impressive story mode Injustice – offers numerous ways of engaging with its characters and testing your abilities without feeling repetitive. With over 25 characters to explore, with hundreds of pieces of gear to collect, it’s easy to look forward to watching your next character grow while your inventory and understanding of mechanics continues to expand.

Injustice 2 final thoughts

NetherRealm has delivered a fighting game that can be enjoyed by new players and pros alike in ways that go beyond pure competition. It’s a bar that every fighting game should meet, but one that up until now seemed out of reach