Fighting games has always been one of the genres that suffers to capture the attention of newcomers. Few big franchises has made changes to encapsulate the attention of the new or interested. Introduction of fresh mechanics or content for accessibility while satisfying the more adept crowd. It is a very tricky scale to maintain. Nonetheless, NetherRealm latest entry seemed to have packaged that is able to please both sides without compromising either crowds.
If there is a need to describe Injustice 2 with one word and it has to be ‘meaty’. It is surprisingly chalked full of content that of which many fighting games these days do not offer. The amount of content is simply amazing. From the variety of characters to random daily activities is more than enough to keep anyone busy for a lengthy time. NetherRealm certainly have put up a very strong presence in the fighting game community with the reboot of Mortal Kombat. The release of Injustice 2 shows Ed Boon and his team are one step closer in perfecting their brand of fighting game.
Injustice 2 shows effort of improvements that can be considered unprecedented in its genre. One of the most striking changes are definitely the visuals. Each character in Injustice 2 has received a tremendous overhaul compared to its predecessor. From Superman to Cat Woman, everyone looked almost too lifelike. In addition, animations for everyone is amazingly well done especially Harley Quinn in particular. The jump in realism from its predecessor can be startling to many especially those that have played Gods Among Us.
Another amazing improvement comes from its Story Campaign which can be considered one of the game’s strongest draw. Injustice 2 picks up where the first game left off, in an alternate DC universe which Superman is currently imprisoned in a red sun jail cell that is keeping his powers in check. It is up to Batman and some reformed Regime members as well as new allies to maintain peace and order in the wake of Superman’s dictating control while at the same time fending off an incoming threat from Brainiac.
Like in Mortal Kombat, NetherRealm’s efforts for Injustice 2’s story need to be applauded. The multi-hour campaign is filled with amazing and impressive cutscenes that really is simply captivating to watch. The Story mode transitions back to one-on-one fights but the fights themselves are so tightly woven into the story that it makes these fights all the more engaging to play. Furthermore, the story also offers alternate paths by choosing which different scenes will playout. They don’t exactly affect the main storyline but it is nice to see some small differences.
One of the new additions in Injustice 2 comes in the form of a very simple RPG-esque element. As players fight through in the games’ online and offline modes, experience and loot boxes can be earned – which consist of randomized gears, armor, shaders as well as special character abilities. These new items opens up to new avenues for customizations as each gear and armor offers different benefits to certain skills as well as boosting certain stats like attack and health. This new mechanic may seem like a very odd addition especially for a fighting game but in actuality, it helps to boost an element of excitement for players.
As far as the loot boxes are concerned. They are pretty much like any other games that features them. The random nature makes it all the more frustrating as the loot received may be for another character that players may never play. Injustice 2 does allow players to cash in those junk gears for in game credits but ultimately it will be spent again on more loot boxes. It is simply a boring vicious cycle being played out here. Another downside, all of these loots are gated by character level. This can be seen as both exciting and frustrating to many if not some players. Nonetheless, the game’s inventory and load out system makes management a lot easier and efficient so at least this takes away a bit of the frustration.
The fun side of these loots however, as mentioned, offers an abundance of customizations. Each equipable gear offers a boost in certain stats which can be satisfying to see, does not really offer much substantial difference or impact. Like a RPG game, most equipments can be quick to be disposed as new and better gear is received. However, one of the cool features of these equipments is that it alters the looks of the character. This gives players a strong sense of ownership and personality for the characters they invested their time in.
NetherRealm hasn’t really made much changes on the fighting mechanics from the previous game. The Clash system returns in Injustice 2 as well the amazing stage transitions upon hitting or getting hit. Even much is in touched, the visual upgrade makes all of these returning mechanics a spectacle to watch. Injustice 2 is actually a pretty deep and refined fighting game but it also allow newcomers to feel safe with its relatively simple move list and the variety of rewarding gameplay options. NetherRealm was simply able to strike a good balance in what to offer to both crowds without compromising too much.
The game also offers a good amount of variety modes for players to duke it out which includes one-on-one rank and unranked, King of the Hill sessions as well as local versus modes. Online sessions had been smooth without much noticeable lag. NetherRealms manages to make the online experience a pretty acceptable one by showing out helpful information on the next online opponent and the odds of winning. Another appreciative help is that, if an opponent cancels a match, you will be thrown into the next one almost immediately.
Injustice 2 also brings a new mode called the Multiverse mode. Those that have played Mortal Kombat’s Living Towers mode will find this one very familiar. This mode features weekly, daily and even hourly challenges to try out and also comes with its own rewards in the end. Sticking true to its Multiverse theme, the mode list out each different challenges in the form of different versions of Earth and opponents in these challenges are comically dressed differently or accordingly to the version of the Earth.
- Visuals is simply amazing for a fighting game
- Story mode is very good and well made with alternate paths to choose
- Large variety of characters that stays true to their comic counterparts
- Deep and yet simple to approach fighting mechanics
- A large variety of gear sets that inspires experimentation
- Multiverse mode offers a variety of challenges and rewards
- Loot boxes can be a frustrating fare
- Randomized gear rewards