Since NeitherRealm Studios first took charge in the making of Injustice: Gods Among Us in 2013 it changed how we saw and played a fighting game entirely, adding all new mechanics and interactive environments to the battlefield gave players more verity to beat up their opponents in a more stylish/aggressive fashion. Not to mention the fact that you also got to choose from your favorite DC heroes and villains, it gave combat fans a brand new purpose. Following up with Mortal Kombat X in 2015, NeitherRealm completely took what they created out of the first Injustice game and created what was probably one of the most polished Mortal Kombat games we’ve seen in years. With Injustice 2 NeitherRealm once again continues to one up itself.
Like its cast of heroes, Injustice 2 is exceptional. Fight mechanics have been led in the right direction with more smooth and dynamic combat than before. The fun long hours with story and multiverse mode are impressive alone. The heroes and villains look are much more defined than ever, even as they star a grim and joyless “what-if” story-line. Much like its heroes that come with it though, Injustice 2 overcomes adversity and soars, with tons brand new single-player content than I’ve ever seen in a fighting game at launch and an unmatched combo system that is downright enjoyable once you get the hang of it.
Injustice 2 is the fine line of being a well-balanced combat game from Injustice: Gods Among Us and by making smart changes for more improved fighting mechanics. It’s story mode now feels much more cinematic than ever before compared to how Gods Among Us was which is HUGE step forward for both NeitherRealm and for the Injustice franchise — possibly for the next MK game as well. For starters, it’s much more crisp in detail, facial features of all characters throughout the story really stands out. I just couldn’t help but enjoy at how well Supergirl looked as she cried in the beginning or how realistic Harley looked as she chewed and popped her gum, much like how Margot Robbie would in Suicide Squad. Even The Joker’s new look and laugh is a lot creeper. Every laugh; every smirk; every angered expression of rage or intensified strength makes this game feel that much more satisfying to play because you can actually see and feel how the characters emotions and expressions rather than making them look angry with a mask over their face or just having a blank doll look all around. Another added feature to the story is the option to pick between to fighters to choose from depending on the chapter of those characters. Out of twelve chapters there five totally chapters that give you the options to choose, with the final chapter being a totally different option all together. Have you complete all character options throughout the story you’ll get different alternate cut-scenes to that character; finish the finale chapter and you get 2 totally different endings.
I can’t recall any fighting game ever giving you this much freedom of options in a story so this was quite the thrill (it’s very overwhelming, but that’s a good thing).
After completing it’s satisfying story, head on over to Injustice 2’s new “multiverse” mode for even more endless hours of fun. If you’ve played Towers mode before on Mortal Kombat then this is nothing new. Well it is for Injustice, but not for the fans seeing as it’s a lot like a copy and pasted DC Universe version of Mortal Kombat’s towers, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing, in fact it’s actually slightly different from the original version, but still just as enjoyable then you would expect. With your “towers” here being endless parallel universes that change under a timer and all having their own set of difficulties and challenges much like Test Your Luck, you’re not stuck just playing the same game in a loop. One disappointment however, is that all those Multiverse Test Your Luck styled challenges aren’t incorporated into multiplayer mode which would’ve more fun if they was an option instead of standard multiplayer.
Another thing NeitherRealm has always been known for in the Mortal Kombat series is the added endings that go for each character. In Injustice 2, we now get to see endings for our favorite super heroes and villains for the very first time after defeating the finale boss (Brainiac) in the Multiverse battle simulator.
What’s also great about Multiverse is that helps you get some good long practice time in for yourself and allows you build up your favorite particular fighter(s) by playing countless hours of challenges which build up your fighter the more you play as them. You can even complete some of the additional objectives for more points which can help you collect credit to unlock armor to help you upgrade your fighter’s strength, ability, defense, and health which you can retrieve in the brand new Brother Eye Vault menu. Here you can acquire new gear and purchase various styles, shaders, and equipment to use on your characters which are varied by different tiers: bronze, sliver, gold, platinum, and diamond loot crate Mother Boxes, each one costing you more marks. There’s also a different section to where you’re in the league you can even purchase items in that league. You’re also given a new option to transform and regenerate your gear to fit your desired character play style and appearance.
To regenerate Gear you’ll need two things: a piece of gear and a Regen token. once you have both, head over to the Brother Vault, Press R1/RB or right on the d-pad in order to the Regen menu. Choose the character who has the piece you to regenerate then choose the piece of gear you want to try your luck with. You’ll be promoted to spend the one Regen token. You’ll then be presented with two pieces of gear: the original and the new, regenerated version. The newer piece will now match the level of the character in question. Also, the stats and perks will be changed. You can decide if you want to equip them with the new improvements, or if you want to just stick with the original piece. There will be certain Gear that will appeal to your eye but the stats, or abilities won’t actually be great for battle. In Injustice 2, you can actually transform the Gear to look like the one you want but give it the ability of a “superior” piece. Transforming a piece of Gear will change its appearance to that of another piece without affecting its Stats. This too will cost you credits so try to get as much playing time in Multiverse mode as you can, decoding Mother Boxes, and having battles
Once that’s done, head over to Character Customization mode where you can mix around with all your unlocked and customized armor to better your character for future combat. The possible combinations are endless, from changing how your character wears their gear, to how they wear their padding, or pants, each demonstrating a variety of looks as well as giving you different options of which armor you would prefer to use for battle. You can even add in a 2 extra abilities if unlocked or reached by a certain level. And if you have more than one set of armor that you have for different purposes, you can now save those as loadouts so you never have to constantly change back and forth from the customization screen, or just have multiple color skins that usually comes standard to most fighting games.
Another interesting factor about the customization feature is that the additional alternative characters that come as character skins when you go to change a characters color scheme. Only a few characters have these such as The Flash to Reverse Flash, so if you were looking for him or other characters that don’t appear in the games official twenty-four character list don’t worry, there’s five additional alternate character skins to choose. Although, even though the additional characters are entirely different from the original skin — even they encounter each other as their own character — they mostly feel like the nothing more than a copy and pasted characters with recycled moves. It would have been interesting to see Reverse Flash (Eobard Thawne) have a completely different super-move of his own, sadly he just runs his opponents into the exact same dinosaur as Barry Allen. Still, the idea of having two opposing speedsters go at it 1-on-1 or just two alternate characters face-off with each other is an exciting site to see.
For the most part Injustice 2 excels over its original by a long shot, though I must say that as enjoyable as it story was, not much goes into detail of the games actual plot. Sure, we were given a back story and prologue of how its plot from Gods Among Us ties to now but that’s kind of the problem, the whole end of the world plot mixing the continuation of the Superman being the evil super…hero…villain just felt confusing. Don’t get me wrong the idea of having Batman and Superman, and all other super heroes and villains team up to defeat Brainiac was exciting to see, but the fact that Superman’s determination to go back to his ways throughout the story was quite frustrating for me. Trying to save humanity while being reminded that “hey, just because I helped you save the world, I’m still going rule the world as leader because I’m Superman” really contradicts itself. And the formation of The Society, take a cheep representation of Planet Of The Apes and bunch that up with super villains to take over the world and then have that faction disperse half way through and try to help save the world makes itself just feel there. And what was supposed to be a threat then suddenly is never brought up again felt like a waste of time and was just added to create tension. Adding on to the confusing story plot is the double-sided alternate endings. It’s refreshing to be able to choose how you want a fighting game to end but since it’s one of the first of it’s kind it’s hard to imagine how that follows moving forward for the next game in the near future.
Despite it minor story flaws, multiplayer/character disappointments, also the fact that the online servers were down for service maintenance every day so often after it’s launch, it’s all around performance still manage to live up to its hype making its flaws a lot easier to forgive. It’s newly redefined combo system make each fight feel amazing and fast paste with it’s all new improved juggle mechanics that fit perfectly well with properly timed combos once you’ve come familiar to them with hours of practice. Plus when the online servers were up I was able to have smooth well-played matches that never felt interrupt as I played, and leveled player skills only work if both players agree to on quick play matches but not on ranked. Player choice, and the ability to customize your favorite characters strengths and weakness mean that skill is no longer the only factor that plays an important role when your fighting and that’s something that’s never been done before — I’m sure we’ve all been wanting to have this for years besides mobile games — which I believe will change the battlefield tremendously. So if you’re not prepared to go toe to toe online, its best you start unlocking some Mother Boxes now, because in Injustice 2 you’re going to need a lot more than just combos to win. Injustice: Gods Among Us changed the game once, Injustice 2 is doing the same, so gear up and hit the lab, because Injustice 2 is here to make its presences known, and I’m sure well going to be talking about it for a while and years to come.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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