Back in 2013, those Mortal Kombat guys teamed up with the comic book megastars, DC Comics, and made what could very well be the best video game based off a comic property ever. In Injustice: Gods Among Us, Superman suffers from a devastating loss at the hands of the Joker. Superman immediately and brutally murders the Clown Prince and then goes on to take over the world and make it one totalitarian state blinded by what he thinks is justice. Batman does not agree with what Superman is doing which leads the entire DC roster to literally be split in two, causing enemies to become teammates and teammates to become enemies. Injustice 2 is set 5 years after the events of Injustice Gods Among Us. Superman has been captured and is now locked away in a red sun prison cell.
While I’m not totally acquainted with fighting games, having only played a couple before Gods Among Us, I know the story is never usually too important in them. That being said, not unlike the first game, Injustice 2 has a great story full of depth, emotion and a few dashes of comedy thrown in the mix. The story is well written and it’s no doubt that the writers had DC fans in mind while writing, and they definitely knew what they were writing about. Playing through the story also acted as a good way for players to play as fighters they might not necessarily pick in freemode, for example, because I played through the story I now know one of my favorite fighters to play as is Blue Beetle. I was very pleased with the length of the story, sprawling over the course of 12 chapters. The story mode is easily my favorite aspect about the game.
The dialogue was very well acted out and I have no complaints whatsoever with the voice cast. As with any production there will be standouts in the cast, and Injustice 2 is no exception. Kevin Conroy as Batman is, of course, a no brainer. He’s incredible every time he puts on the cowl. Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator, Star Trek), portrayed a great and utterly creepy Brainiac. Phil Lamarr as Aquaman AND Green Lantern (John Stewart), Steve Blum as Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Fred Tatasciore as Swamp Thing, and Robert Englund as Scarecrow were my absolute favorites but of course there are many more great voices in this game, you’ll have to play and see.
Still sticking along the lines of audio, the game just sounds really good. All the levels seem properly balanced, the environment’s sound great, and of course the dialogue (but I’ve already went on about that). One thing that really stood out to me, and I may just be a sicko, but the brutal crunchiness of the sound whenever you knock someone through a wall, smash them into the ground, or crush them with a giant statue in Kahndaq. It just sounds so crunchy and it adds to the brutality of these hits, because you just think because they’re superheros they don’t really feel it. These sounds really bring the fights into reality (as much as they can be) and it just sounds so right in this game.
A big component in the game is the AI, as such with a lot of video games. The AI in Injustice 2 is seriously impressive. Not sure if it was totally by chance, but a couple times I would change gear on a character or a shader (color) and the next fight I went in with that character, my opponent would comment on the costume (my favorite, Gorilla Grodd calling Flash’s outfit ‘stupid’). These all could have just happened randomly, but if not then this is a super cool feature they didn’t have to do, but still did anyways.
The thing I most adore about this game (besides the story of course) is the fact that you don’t have to play online if you don’t want to and the game will still be worth it. There is so much single player stuff to whet my appetite that I never even thought about playing online, which is definitely a relief because I’m not a huge fan of multiplayer fighting and I royally suck at it. The single player has so much going on such as the story, and then when you’re done that there’s a totally different game mode called the Multiverse and consists of multiple time-restricted events that you can play through to earn rewards such as credits, tokens, and even Mother Boxes.
The amount of new characters vs characters returning from the first game is good. I’m definitely down with the new roster. The new characters featured in the Injustice 2 pretty much cover the entire spectrum from one’s everyone’s heard of such as Brainiac, Scarecrow, and Deadshot to ones not a lot of people outside the realm of comics will be familiar with like Doctor Fate, Atrocitus, and Gorilla Grodd. There are about 15 new characters joining the roster in Injustice 2 and that does not include the 9 DLC fighters making their way to the game in the coming months.
Lastly, the gear system. This is one thing I was worried about was the prospect of microtransactions and generally pay-to-win situations. I was glad to find out that I was wrong about this. Mother Boxes (gear crates) are not necessarily easy to obtain without paying cash, but as long as you play the game and put in the work you’ll get a bunch of them, and the gear inside properly reflects the tier of the box (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond). I’ve gotten at least one of each box and have given the game zero of my real world dollars. I really commend NeatherRealm for this.
My biggest issue with the game comes in the form of something I praised earlier in my review, the AI. I felt, a couple times throughout the story, that the AI difficulty felt very inconsistent. For example, a bit into the story I had to fight Aquaman. Now I had already fought 10-15 people before this. Some of these fights proved difficult, some were easier, Aquaman was near impossible. Say it took me 7 tries to beat him, the first try would be close but he won, then the next 5 would he would either beat me by a lot or it’d be close, and then the last time I beat him by a landslide. I never switched up my combos, or my playing style. So this was pretty frustrating. I know some games will get easier if you fail a bunch, but it felt like, with Injustice 2, every time I failed it just got harder and harder.
Some fighters are just extremely boring to fight with. For example, Black Adam was boring to use which is super disappointing because I love Black Adam and was looking forward to him. None of his movies had that certain pizazz like Flash’s ‘Fists of Fury’ or ‘Lightning Punches’. Playing as him felt like a chore. Some other fighters I felt this way about are Firestorm and Robin/Nightwing.
Something that I found REALLY annoying in Injustice 2 was that sometimes when an opponent would activate a supermove, the game would snap me into the animation track even though I was nowhere near the radius of the move. For example, I was fighting Wonder Woman who has a close range supermove. I was across the screen and in the air when she activated her supermove which showed her grabbing me with her lasso, except I was in the air and out of range. The game then snapped me right into the animation loop and I had no say against it, even though the move should not have hit me. I guess we can chalk this up to graphical issues, or maybe bad AI. All that I know is it’s very annoying and I hope this gets patched soon. Keeping along the lines of graphical issues, the only other real issue I have with the game is that sometimes the facial animations will get a bit goofy. Like mouths will look a little too big and eyes might look a little too off, but that’s about it.
All and all NeatherRealm Studios has made another GREAT DC fighting game. The game has so much going on but not too much so that you get overwhelmed. Everything can be achieved at your own pace. The story is a perfect length (but I loved it so I wish it went on forever), the Multiverse provides hours and hours of content and entertainment, and the Mother Boxes provide a fun ‘unboxing’ aspect of it hoping for some cool gear. If you’re like me and suck at fighting actual people online you don’t have to worry because there’s so much single player content, you don’t even have to touch Online if you don’t want to. The fact that there are microtransactions but it’s still easy enough to earn crates yourself is commendable. I love Injustice 2. If you were a fan of the first game, or even just a fan of DC in general (or fighting games in general) I’d say there’s a pretty good chance you’ll have a good time with this game.