After 2013's successful Injustice: Gods Among Us, NetherRealm has spent the last year getting us hyped for the sequel. Fan-favorite DC characters are back, along with some new ones joining the roster — and brand new game mechanics. Did this game live up to the hype? As a fan of the first game, I can confirm that it surpassed all expectations. Here's why Injustice 2 is already one of the best fighting games of all time.
If there is one thing NetherRealm Studios has nailed ever since Mortal Kombat (2011), it is definitely their story modes. They feel so cinematic, but this time it's dialed up to 11 because there are camera angles straight out of a big-budget blockbuster.
And the same goes for the acting. Alan Tudyk, Kevin Conroy, Tara Strong, Jeffrey Combs, Robert Englund and many more perform the roles perfectly. While it never quite tugs at your heart like the first Injustice did, it makes up for it with an epic story — and most of that is due to Jeffrey Combs as the new villain, Brainiac. Combs was born for the role!
My only gripe is that some characters seem wasted, such as Atrocitus, the Joker and Doctor Fate, who only appear for very brief scenes and don't really add to the story.
The most important element to any tournament fighter is the gameplay, and NetherRealm did not drop the ball on that front — because this game is easy to pick up and learn. You'll quickly play each character in a completely different manner than when you started.
Fans of the first game don't have to worry about the returning characters feeling too different; the characters play pretty much the same, except for tweaks that improve them. The new characters play in their own unique ways and are very accurate to how they fight in the comics, iconic moves and all. Everything flows during a match; it's very polished with no graphical issues, and plays perfectly for a fighter.
I do believe NetherRealm needs to tone down characters like Atrocitus, Cheetah, Swamp Thing (whom I do love) and Scarecrow — because while they are awesome, they have very cheap and brutal moves that are guaranteed to win any match. Like we're talking "Mei from Overwatch" levels of overpowered.
My only other gripe is that the the AI overuses the clash system way too much in this game; it's pretty much guarateed that when your AI opponent is low on health, they will always clash, and it gets a little annoying at times.
The Gear System
Rather than just making Injustice 2 a great tournament fighter, NetherRealm added RPG elements by introducing the now-famous Gear System, which basically sold most players on buying the game. Have you ever wanted to create the Batman, Superman or Wonder Woman of your dreams? Well, now you can!
Using the Multiverse Mode (more on that later), the Story Mode or the Online Multiplayer, you can earn pieces of gear via random loot drop to equip your characters. They not only change the characters' looks, but how they play. You can change the stats of your Batman completely, making him just as powerful as (or even more powerful than) Superman.
If you're concerned about the competitive side of the game, don't worry, because Ranked Matches deactivate all stat boosts from your gear, putting the two players on equal ground. All of the gear looks great, adds more layers to the game, and are a lot of fun to earn — since your character has to be the right level to equip certain gear, thus making the grinding even more satisfying.
I love the gear system! My only gripe about it is the inability to customize Premier Skins like Reverse Flash, Mr. Freeze and Power Girl, which seemed like a wasted opportunity.
We've got Story Mode and the online matches, but we also have other fun things — such as the Multiverse, where different Earths appear with different quests and objectives appearing hourly, daily, weekly and bi-weekly. Each Earth has heroes and villains with random gear to make the fights more challenging. It's by far my favorite mode.
We also have AI Battle Simulator, a mode that I wasn't expecting to like but was genuinely surprised by — you send three AI characters of your own to fight other AI characters of another player, thus earning Mother Boxes (gear loot boxes). Guilds are a fun little addition, allowing players to work as a team to earn more Mother Boxes and other rewards.
Graphics don't matter to me as long as the gameplay is good, but the graphics in this game are GORGEOUS! The movements, the facial expressions, the lip syncing, the detail ... it all looks amazing for a fighting game, and that carries over to the gear, which is filled with so much detail. With Injustice 2, NetherRealm has made a visually stunning game.
Overall, Injustice 2 provides great, exhilarating fights along with a captivating story, as per usual with NetherRealm Games — but then it adds more depth with the RPG elements, the Gear System, and multiple modes, turning the game into something more than a simple tournament fighter. It's a game that should (and just might) become an inspiration for future fighter games. I'm having a blast playing through it.
What are your thoughts on Injustice 2? Did you love it? Hate it? Let us know your thoughts down below!