It’s kind of nuts to think about how far Netherrealm have come. How they bounced back from a string of questionable titles (including Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe) to create some of the best fighting games in the business. When they decided to spread their wings a little bit, and create Injustice: Gods Among Us, I was skeptical that it would just be Mortal Kombat with DC characters. I was wrong, of course, but the original Injustice has not aged well. Injustice 2, four years later, makes phenomenal leaps and bounds and improves on the original in many ways.
Injustice 2 follows on from the events in the original game, but tries to bring the storied history of each of its characters into its own Injustice universe. I’ll be blunt here and admit that I have very little insights to offer into the world of DC, having only watched the films and played some games. Despite this, what’s presented here is interesting – Injustice having its own universe means that the writers can play with some more abstract story threads than what would normally be allowed.The story only truly matters when you’re playing through Injustice 2’s dedicated story mode, which takes you through a story that seems fit for a DC movie (and perhaps even better than one). Characters are well acted, well presented while the scale and stakes feel high. Simply put, I don’t think there’s another fighting game that feels like it has such a budget behind it as Injustice 2 does. Everything feels refined and sophisticated. More uniquely, Injustice 2 treats solo players with as much respect as it does for those focused on multiplayer.
Injustice 2 is at its core a fighting game, like Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter before it. In a bid to differentiate itself, Injustice 2 features only three attack buttons with a fourth button being reserved for a unique trait or ability each character has. It’s impossible to list them all here, but as an example Batman can summon bats to do his bidding, while Poison Ivy can summon a plant to pester enemies. In addition to this, each character also has a meter that builds up as the fight plays out, which can then be used to perform a devastating (yet cinematic) super move, or to augment abilities during the fight.What set Injustice apart from its predecessors is the use of the environment in battles. During a match, there’ll be all kind of props that players can use to gain the edge in a battle. Stronger characters can throw a parked car at their opponent, others might rig the car to explode. While they felt unbalanced in the original Injustice, they feel better thought out in Injustice 2 which leads to less balancing issues that plagued the first. Being able to pick up objects near you in a bind gives a sense that you’re in a battle rather than a less dynamic choreographed exchange.