RELEASED: May 11th 2017
DEVELOPED BY: NetherRealm Studios
PUBLISHED BY: Warner Bros.
DIRECTED BY: Ed Boon
PRODUCED BY: Andrew Stein
WRITTEN BY: Dominic Cianciolo & Shawn Kittelsen
ART BY: Steve Beran
MUSIC BY: Christopher Drake
Four years after the release of NetherRealm Studios’ Mortal Kombat-esque DC fighting game, Injustice: Gods Among Us, gamers returned to the Injustice universe for a follow-up more focused on the classic battle between good and evil, as opposed to the multiversal complexity so often found in DC comics.
Injustice 2 sees Gorilla Grodd and his secret society of supervillains attempt to destabilise the Earth in anticipation of the arrival of their new master, Brainiac, the destroyer of Krypton and countless other worlds. Standing in their way are Batman, Harley Quinn, Green Arrow, Black Canary and other heroes who once stood against the regime. However, with the fate of the world at stake, this reformed Justice League realises that their only hope may rest in their old foe, Superman.
The game itself is much the same as it’s predecessor. One on one battles spaced out with cinematic storytelling. The quality of the graphics is greatly improved, and the characters, while retaining their godlike physiques, feel more real and less… classic Tomb Raider. The excess, in terms of character design at least, has worn off. But it is still very much present when it comes to the various moves the characters can execute.
Said moves feel climactic and unique to each character: Batman relies on various gadgets and uses the Batplane for a finishing move. Damian Wayne Robin – more ruthless than his predecessors – brandishes a large, imposing sword. Superman and Supergirl send their foes rocketing up into the sky, where they can let loose their immense powers without destroying the stage.
In short, the game, like any good superhero game, allows you to feel powerful. A particular foe is pissing you off? Well, you’ll find it immensely satisfying when you, as Superman, punch him through the clouds, or feed him to a monstrous sea creature, if Aquaman’s more your vibe.
These iconic characters are also elevated once again immensely by the superb voice acting, with each character having their own unique voice and personality; a particularly strong performance comes from Jeffrey Combs, who really hammers down how intellectual and threatening the villain, Brainiac, is.
The story is similarly impactful without going to excess. While the first game presented the Injustice world as a parallel universe where things had gone wrong, this story spends the entirety in the Injustice universe, focusing on more hopeful themes like standing together and saving lives.
The healthy balance of heroes and villains gives a more conventional superhero story, and the campaign itself has enough characters that you don’t feel like you’re battling the same characters again and again. Plus, the occasional option to choose your fighter before a match (in-story) means you get to experiment with new heroes like Blue Beetle, Firestorm rather than just sticking to your more mainstream characters, and even play out alternate endings.
The biggest change between games, however, is probably the way Injustice 2 allows you to toy around with different armour pieces and costumes as you level up. Certain additions give your characters respective strength, health and ability buffs, meaning you can choose to deck your characters out in a way that matches your strategy in online competitive play, or just tailor their designs to match your personal tastes.
It gives you more to strive for than simply beating your opponent, and makes the whole experience feel that extra bit more personal.
Overall, while the core formula remains similar to its predecessor, Injustice 2 makes enough changes that the new game feels leaps and bounds ahead of the first. There are always new reasons to come back and play some more, and although the game-play is, for the most part, your standard fighting game, it has enough heart and flourishes to please fans of both DC and the superhero genre.
All-in-all, I give Injustice 2: