Injustice 2 is not exactly a “new” game — it was released on the 16th of May 2017 by NetherRealm Studios, the studio behind the infamous series that brought with it the ESRB rating system (and broke it many a time). It’s, of course, the Mortal Kombat-series.
I played the predecessor to Injustice 2 (Injustice: Gods Among Us) and fairly enjoyed it, however, I never really got into it like I had with the Tekken-series. It may have been because I grew up with Tekken and not Mortal Kombat, but nevertheless, when I bought Injustice 2 I really wanted to like it, which meant getting good at it… I didn’t quite succeed at getting good at the game, but I had fun nonetheless. And that is really the moral of the story!
The Elephant in the Room
With games like Injustice 2, Mortal Kombat, or Tekken, we’re talking about a specific genre of games. I’m, of course, referring to fighting games. Injustice 2 is a fighting game, stylised very much like its predecessor, but a bit prettier and to me also a bit smoother. Combat-wise, it borrows from its creator’s smash-hit, Mortal Kombat, as each character has:
- #1, moveset,
- #2, a few go-to combos,
- #3, an extended list of combos, and lastly,
- #4, a literal “super-move” — a PEGI-kinda-fatality.
Fighting game-wise, I wouldn’t be able to so much tell the difference between Injustice 2, Injustice: Gods Among Us, or Mortal Kombat, as they to me are very alike. However, the uniqueness of the Injustice-series stems from that fact that it’s a DC game (DC, of course, being the superhero franchise that’s not Marvel). And because it has characters I know and love, Injustice 2 quickly became my second favourite fighting game of all time (only beaten by Tekken).
If the game hosted original characters, it would to me, sadly be as generic as most fighting game sequels. Of course, Injustice 2 isn’t a generic fighting game — it’s a superhero fighting game, hosting some of the most well-known and beloved characters from both comic books and movies alike. It’s pretty, it’s smooth, it’s fair*, AND it has a neat RPG/ collectable-system that keeps me coming back!
If I hadn’t already played Injustice: Gods Among Us and saw gameplay of both games, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell much of a difference. But with that said, if I stood with both games at a reasonable price, I would opt for Injustice 2, because it only adds to the already excellent game of Injustice: Gods Among Us.
But, let’s dive in a bit more and focus on some specific areas, ending with my opinion, and hopefully yours too!
*There is a boss battle that I hated because I thought it to be unfair: making my character weak, his character strong, and having the boss use unobtainable moves. Some games get me, and this one did. And although the feeling after, finally, beating the boss was rewarding, it left me with a sour taste in my mouth.
The gameplay part of a fighting game is generally the meat of the game because it carries through 80-90% of the entire playthrough. And I have already talked about most of the elements of Injustice 2’s gameplay. But to just add a thing or two, let’s compare the gameplay of Injustice 2 to Tekken (mostly Tekken 7, as it’s the most recent game in the series).
Tekken is about fast-paced action and long combos (up to 20 hits or more) or “juggling”, as it’s called (where you actually juggle your opponent up in the air, making him/her incapacitated),. Injustice 2 is much much slower. In the beginning maybe even too slow because you feel like you can’t finish a combo. I was used to more fast-paced combat, which meant that I had to relearn what I’d used for most of my childhood and up.
I couldn’t button-mash! …I had to learn the combos — and that may be good or bad, dependant on what you like in a fighting game. I enjoyed the game much much more when I caved in and played the game the way it should be played.
But with that said, if you like something that’s quite slow, but also packs a punch and focuses far more on waiting for the right time to strike, then Injustice 2 is right up your alley! I would even go as far as to state that this style of combat is highly addictive because it’s so rewarding. Whenever I lost, I lost because it was my fault* — I didn’t time something right or I failed to use a combo right.
A game mechanic that really ties into gameplay is Injustice 2’s RPG-elements… and loot boxes. Yes, Injustice 2 has loot boxes and it’s not purely cosmetics… but it’s not what you might think!
*Except that one boss fight…
RPG-Elements and Loot Boxes
Loot boxes are one of last year’s most debated subjects within the gaming community, and I won’t discredit any opinions. Whether you like Overwatch’s cosmetic loot boxes or the mobile pay-to-play model that’s not what this is about. It’s up to you and I would love to hear your opinion! But, let’s talk about Injustice 2.
The loot boxes in Injustice 2 are called Motherboxes, and Motherboxes have been in multiple DC stories, even being a major story element in 2017’s Justice League. Within the Motherboxes, dependant on the variety you have (bronze, silver, gold, etc.) you get from 2-6 different kinds of gear with a chance of it being epic.
Each piece of gear you have has its own stats and they affect your character: how he/she plays, damage given/ taken, special gear traits, and so forth. So, if you’re into stats, levelling up, and customizing your character, then you will probably like this game a lot.
If not… it will bother you. But when you’re playing with friends, you can turn stats and modifiers off!
You can, of course, also obtain armour pieces by completing the story or battling opponents in the Multiverse (more on this later). But with that said, you can also buy the virtual currency in the game with real money, which you can spend on the different Motherboxes (except the two bests: platinum and diamond).
Now, you don’t have to (but with loot boxes that’s always the argument used), but I really do mean it. I’ve obtained close to 300.000 of the virtual currency, and you can easily get loot boxes by battling in the Multiverse, along with more virtual currency.
To me — and this is of course individual — but I think NetherRealm did loot boxes the right way! But let me know what you think!
Story (minor spoiler alert)
Spoiler Free Zone:
In some instances, the story in fighting games is a bit like a story in an FPS… not really the game’s main focus. I’m not saying that neither Tekken, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Dead or Alive haven’t got a story. But, I think it’s fair to say that compared to the Last of Us, Heavy Rain, Life is Stange, and the likes, the stories in fighting games, typically takes the backseat.
But here’s the thing… Injustice 2 has a great story! Not the Last-of-Us-great, but overall, enjoyable and with depth. The first game became such a success that they made a comic version of it, following the time before the first game. However, they expanded upon it so much that there are issues tieing in with the story in Injustice 2.
The following text contains minor spoilers for Injustice 2 and Injustice: Gods Among Us.
So, Injustice 2 is a sequel in its essence as it follows the first game’s ending quite literally with the Justice League splitting up as Superman’s Regime was destroyed and Superman himself became incarcerated by Batman and his resistance.
Wonder Woman joins Black Adam to free Superman — her lover — to take Batman down and restore the Regime. Aquaman has taken to the sea in solitude, and as always, Batman tries to restore the world’s faith in Superheroes by creating Brother Eye: a super-intelligent AI that can track superhumans along with detecting crime before it happens.
The evil antagonist bad-guy is Brainiac, who some of you might know from either the comics or the free-to-play MMO, DC Online. But, really, all you need to know is that he’s a collector, so to say, where we literally start off the game watching Kara-Zor-El (Supergirl) fleeing Krypton as Brainiac is invading.
She is sent off to space to protect her cousin Kal-El (Superman), however, an asteroid hits Kara’s spaceship and detours her so she ends up arriving on Earth much much later. Here, she plays her part in helping Diana (Wonder Woman) free Superman. From here Brainiac attacks Earth and we see a lot of fighting: Woman Woman vs. Batman vs. the usual suspects (Grodd, Captain Cold, etc.) vs. Brainiac vs. Superman.
Spoiler Free Zone:
I didn’t know what I got into when I started Injustice 2 because of the somewhat confusing trailers. At first, I thought the game would be set in a different universe (or multiverse) where superheroes were pinned up against each other in a gladiatorial-esque fighting game. I was expecting a general fighting game with the added twist of it being with my favourite superheroes and villains. But I came out, genuinely surprised and somewhat moved by the story’s unique approach to a superhero story.
Endgame content is done exceptionally well in Injustice 2 because if you’re a fan of the DCEU (DC Extended Universe) you’re probably going to love the Multiverse system as it’s just more of what you love!
The endgame is mostly spent in the Multiverse, playing the different scenarios from both comics, feature films, and television shows, as the Multiverse is exactly that: everything DC (or nearly everything DC). You’ll be able to play the different stories within the different universes of the DCEU (and DCU). And with this being a game by NetherRealm Studios, you can of course also play as different Mortal Kombat characters (DLC) along with the Ninja Turtles (DLC), who were just recently added.
And the thing I love about Injustice 2’s Multiverse is that who you play against and who you play as is explained in context to that specific universe. Which means you are actually playing a small story — the story isn’t explicitly told, but it’s still there. And to me, it gets a win for adding something more than just tournaments.
For example, there are also special events like when the Justice League movie was in theatres, where you were able to get the different costumes from the movie. Of course, this feature of the game might die down if the game’s lifespan falls short, but it’s still something extra, which brings the franchise full-circle.
This one wasn’t tough for me because of #1, when I bought the game I was craving a fighting game and it stood between this and Street Fighter V since I had already purchased Tekken 7. And #2, because I’m a massive DC fan.
I know this makes me biased and probably taints my view, but I genuinely found the story to be intriguing, fun and also moving because we’re seeing our (my) favourite childhood heroes battle it out because of their values. Some argue that the best stories are created, not solely on conflict, but conflicting values, and who else have opposing values as Batman and Superman has!
Now the gameplay was something I had to get used to as I’m more of a Tekken fan myself, but I found myself getting better, trying to actually do the combos, which, essentially is how a fighting game should be.
But, let me know what you think!
What’s your favourite fighting game? Did you grow up with Tekken or Mortal Kombat?
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- Fun and Enjoyable Story
- Superhero Fighting Game
- Slow, but Packs a Punch
- RPG Gear System
- Irritating Boss Battle
- Somewhat Repetitive