Despite the recent success of Wonder Woman at the box office, the DC cinematic universe is at a standstill. Where Marvel continues to produce hit after hit the DC films are becoming tarred with the same grimy brush. They take themselves too seriously and don’t respect the source material. Batman Vs Superman and Suicide Squad being the main culprits. Despite this Injustice and now the sequel Injustice 2 both tell excellent stories within the universe.
Injustice 2 picks up where the story mode on the first left off. Batman is in charge, Superman is in jail and we are reeling from the effects of the Superman regime. The central conceit of the story is capital punishment. Superman led a group of DC heroes who felt it was right to kill the criminals rather than lock them up. Batman led a group who opposed. Without spoilers, that’s pretty much it. Injustice 2 developed by Neatherrealm of recent Mortal Kombat fame are experts in giving the single player a reason to buy a fighting game. Their story modes are truly as good as many movies and after debuting in Mortal Kombat and the Original Injustice, continue here.
The story mode involves playing through a number of well-animated chapters controlling various characters from the game. Luckily enough there is usually an option to select which character suits your playing style before each individual fight. I found Catwoman to be unplayable and kept getting beat so being able to select Cyborg instead was perfect. There will be the odd moment you get stuck but in general, there are usually two ways to get around the fights.
The gameplay is similar to the original Injustice and of course the modern Mortal Kombat games. Fights are slower-paced than traditional fighting games with an emphasis on hard hits and small combos. There are environmental aspects which can be really useful if you are in a tight spot and stage transitions. These are spectacular enough but I find them harder to trigger than ever before. The other elements are the super moves and clashes. Clashes can be triggered between the fighters with benefits for the random winner such as a health boost or damage dealt. Super moves are each characters out of world move that takes around half a health bar away. Matches usually revolve around getting the first bar off your opponent while building the super move. Then hit the super move as soon as the second round starts meaning you have only half a bar to break down.
Throws are as powerful as other fighting games and tough to block. Uppercuts are not the go-to move that they are in Mortal Kombat and the leg sweep is very effective. The main trouble you will face in story mode is unfamiliarity with the characters you are using. You can’t just pick Batman or Superman and go through the whole story. This adds another layer of challenge to the whole game.
The best new feature of Injustice 2 is clearly the multiverse mode. This is a single player mode where you can take on various challenges from many universes. It allows you to play on so to speak after the story mode is gone. It is similar to the tower of doom in old Mortal Kombat games but feels much more robust. This allows you to collect gear that levels up your character and gives them more power, better health and generally allows you to make them look as you wish. This means if you don’t particularly like the Injustice versions of some of these characters you can take them back to their more traditional garb. The first example was changing Batman’s chest back to the yellow background. It adds longevity to a game where there was none in the previous game. You can only play through the story a few times before it feels boring, with Multiverse mode you can continue for power-ups, trophies and more that you can cosmetically at least carry on to competitive multiplayer.
Online multiplayer in Injustice is not for me. Despite the improvements and vast array of training modes available it just doesn’t feel as robust as say Tekken or Street Fighter. The depth of combat isn’t there and it can just degenerate into people spamming the best area of effect moves. The Flash is particularly strong and his ability to slow time can be used by skilled players online to dominate. In games like Street Fighter or Tekken, there is a base knowledge or base set of rules for most characters meaning you can pick who best suits your style of play. The special moves are also more easily triggered so the competition comes down to skill and when to hit a move. While injustice has made great strides towards this the competitive game is just not the choice of purists.
Thankfully the massive amount of single-player content makes this a great purchase for fans of DC and great looking fighting games.