Injustice 2, the DC Comics fighting game from developer NetherRealm Studios, releases on Xbox One and Playstation 4 on May 16. With the release only a month away, there are a number of reasons for both fighting game fans and fans of DC Comics to be excited.
1. The Roster
DC Comics fans will obviously be excited about the cast of characters NetherRealm Studios has included. Currently, the game includes 28 unique playable characters:
- Harley Quinn
- Wonder Woman
- Super Girl
- Gorilla Grodd
- Blue Beetle
- The Flash
- Green Lantern
- Poison Ivy
- Dr. Fate
- Black Canary
- Swamp Thing
- Green Arrow
- Captain Cold
- Black Adam
In addition to the standard roster, select additional characters are available as alternate skins. For example, if you're a Power Girl fan, Power Girl is available as an alternate to Supergirl. If you're more interested in speedster baddies than speedster heroes, Reverse Flash is available as a re-skin of The Flash.
No matter where you cultivated your DC Comics fandom, whether it be comics, cartoons, TV, or movies, there are characters here you'll know and love. Even if you have no exposure to DC Comics other than the CW's TV shows, you still have Green Arrow, Black Canary, The Flash, Captain Cold, and others as a starting point... though they may not exactly be the characters you're familiar with. Comics Black Canary is a completely different person than TV Black Canary, for example. Still, it's somewhere to start.
2. The Developer
If you've been a long-time gamer, you've no doubt heard of Mortal Kombat. Heck, even most non-gamers have probably heard of Mortal Kombat. People who can rattle off the name of Mortal Kombat's developer are less common, however. Mortal Kombat was created by NetherRealm Studios, the developer of Injustice 2.
The developer's history encompasses exclusively fighting games of various forms, from big budget console titles to smaller mobile titles. They've created fighting games in their own Mortal Kombat universe and licensed works such as WWE Immortals—mashing up pro wrestling with high fantasy aesthetics—and the previous Injustice title.
Head-to-head combat is NetherRealm Studios' specialty. Along with Capcom, NetherRealm Studios is one of the best at what they do. If a fighting game is what you want, you're looking at the right developer for the job.
3. The Progression System
For better or worse, gaming has reached a point where gamers expect progression systems. Having fun simply isn't good enough; people want to feel they've reached a goal, or have a goal to reach. Games have completely overhauled their existing structure simply to add a progression system their players demanded. Injustice 2 introduces just such a system to the franchise.
Every character in Injustice 2 has four base stats: Strength, Defense, Health, and Ability. "Ability" modifies the strength of special attacks in the vein of a fireball or a laser, while the others do what you'd expect. Each stat is increased as you level a character, but Injustice 2 also includes a loot system. You accrue gear through the game's various game modes and can pick and choose what you equip on a particular hero, maximizing their potential in whatever area you like.
This system is admittedly risky: fighting games often live and die on game balance. If one character is broken or imbalanced, it can throw off the competitive nature of the entire game. However, NetherRealm Studios' long history of developing fighting games might be enough to give them the benefit of the doubt—and including a way to customize characters has been a long-time goal of theirs.
Designer John Edwards confirms there will be an option to disable these customizations completely for tournament play, however. Presumably, this will be an on/off toggle and any automated matchmaking will place like-minded players together.
We imagine that will be primarily for high-level tournament players and things like that where you play ranked online. Even for the competitive modes where we allow stats to be active, both players have the option to disable that stuff.
Want to know more about the gear system? Check out our guide on everything we know about it.
4. The Story
Injustice 2 does, in fact, have a story component. If you haven't followed along with the Injustice franchise, here's the short version:
In Injustice: Gods Among Us, The Joker tricks Superman into killing Lois Lane and detonating a nuke that wipes Metropolis off the map. Superman, in retaliation, kills the Joker. Superman ends up becoming a tyrant, establishes a single world government, and holds the planet in his fist of steel. Batman forms an insurgency to fight against Superman's tyranny, blurring the lines between hero and villain. Some of the baddies are goodies. Some of the goodies are baddies. In some cases, which is which is unclear. After much comic book shenanigans, Superman is defeated and all is well.
Okay, "all is well" is an exaggeration. Superman's regime made a real mess of society as a whole. In Injustice 2, Batman is trying to piece it all together again. Unfortunately, trying to reassemble a world full of supervillains is tough, especially when Brainiac decides to stir the pot.
It's a comic book story. It's a different take on all of your favorite heroes and villains. It places your favorites in a unique scenario and you get to see what they do when the rules have been broken. Injustice 2 is a fighting game, yes, but competitive play isn't the only option. If all you want is a fun comic book story, Injustice 2 is still worth taking for a spin.
5. The Mobile Version
Injustice 2 will also be launching a mobile version of the game on iOS and Android. That doesn't mean it's a direct port of Injustice 2, however. Think of it more like a spinoff. It's a "freemium" mobile title with all of the characters of Injustice 2 and some similar mechanics, but it's much more like a card collecting game with a rudimentary battle system. Your taps and swipes determine your character's attacks, dodges, and so forth, but it's not as high-octane as a fully fledged console fighting game.
That said, if you like that style of mobile game, it's a good choice. You don't need the console version of Injustice 2 to play the mobile version or vice versa. Consider them two games which use similar themes. If one or the other is more your style, that's fine. Pick the one you like. The mobile app isn't live yet unless you live in the Philippines, where the game has been soft-launched, likely as a live playtest. However, we have seen a glimpse of the game's phenomenal artwork.
All in all, I think these are pretty good reasons to get hyped for Injustice 2. If you share that hype, check out all the benefits of pre-ordering and our Injustice 2 overview of everything you need to know about the game and more.