Injustice 2 Review
The fighting genre of gaming has become a real slugfest. Each game attempts to cater to its fans, and give them what they’ve been looking for in previous franchise installments. Smash Bros. eases Nintendo fan worries, while veterans like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat never really seem to lose steam.
When I had first laid eyes on Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, I was a little surprised. Not because I didn’t want a superhero fighting game other than Marvel vs. Capcom, but mostly because I never felt the two really meshed well together. Mortal Kombat was built on copious amounts of blood and excessive violence, while the DC Universe was quite the opposite.
Then, the curtains were drawn back and Injustice was revealed. The game felt truer to the DC Universe, housing a more fleshed out concept and direction in terms of combat. However, it still felt as though it hadn’t quite hit its stride.
Although there was plenty of fanservice found within Injustice, it still felt as though it was a phantom limb to Mortal Kombat. I had hoped that it would further break away from its roots, delivering a more fresh feeling than an offshoot of a franchise. I did like the addition of Mortal Kombat characters, and the use of Ultimate Moves within combat. The combos were fulfilling, but there was still more to be desired overall.
And now, we have Injustice 2.
As I walked the halls of E3 2017, I had realized that a new Injustice was on its way. I didn’t really pay much attention to it as Marvel vs. Capcom Ultimate seemed to overshadow its presence. However, it was still on my radar considering the hopes and desires from stemming from its predecessor.
One of the first things that you will notice about Injustice 2 is that the game is running on the Unreal Engine 3. However, I do not feel whatsoever that this detracts from the overall experience.
Although scenes are mildly dated, I did find the story mode that unfolds houses some of the best scenes and cinematics. Each scene is designed to become seamless transitions into combat, something that kept me plucking away at the story until it was complete. In Injustice 2, Brainiac is attempting to rid the world of humans, while squabbles amongst heroes and villains are attempting to be resolved in order to keep earth safe. The whole story mode will round out at about four hours and some change depending on how well you adjust to each character’s move set.
Much like the cinematics and cutscenes in the game, the character models and level designs have been some of my favorite in the franchise. Levels like Brainiac’s Ship and Gorilla City are elaborate in design, while locations like Slaughter Swamp, Jokers Playground and Metropolis deliver a sense of authenticity and fun. In Metropolis, the setting is a bar somewhere in the city. You can literally grab a patron of the bar and send them flying at your opponent. Joker’s Playground is cast in shadows, with a ferris wheel spinning in the background. Purple and green lights give it that Joker feel, while a Zoltan fortune teller machine is available to pounce off of during combat.
Much like the cinematics and cutscenes, the character models shine. Blue Beetle, Harley Quinn and Brainiac seem meticulously designed with the attention to detail found within each of them.
This time around, I did feel like the combat of Injustice has finally evolved to its true potential. Moves are more easily stapled together, while ultimate moves are just as fast and over-the-top as ever. The first time I saw Superman launch Green Lantern into space, only to be face-palmed and sent smashing back into the ground, it left me chuckling with enjoyment. The same can be said for Harley Quinn and her duo of dogs that will attack and then disperse, allowing her to come slamming down with a final blow from her bat.
At this point, I have only thrown my hat into the ring a few times for online matches. However, there are two things you will immediately note from once you jump in.
The first thing you’ll notice about the online environment of Injustice 2 is a benchmark for frames per second. This populates and must be done before your first online match. This is interesting as matchmaking will pair you with someone who has similar attributes, not to mention character levels.
The second thing you will notice about your online experience is the involvement of loot boxes. It seems that most games in the current multiplayer landscape will include loot boxes of some sorts. These can be unlocked with experience points, allowing you to complete challenges in the Multiverse levels or through regular battles. Boxes will contain shaders or different items that can be equipped once a certain level is reached.
This might seem like it delivers unfair advantages to players of different skill levels or those willing to purchase new boxes for better items. However, they are balanced with the leveling system of each character, and I never found myself in a situation where my opponent wasn’t similarly matched. I can’t really say that my opinion on these stems much further than that. They don’t seem unobtainable by traditional means, meaning, simply playing the game to unlock them and their contents.
The fighting genre has games and franchises for practically anyone’s tastes. But, the DC Universe has finally found its stride, creating one of my favorite experience out of the three games thus far.
You will find impressive cinematics, followed by seamless transitions into combat. The character assets are detailed, along with the environments that minimize the thought of the Unreal Engine 3 holding the game back whatsoever.
The story mode of the game will run you through the majority of the characters in the roster and conclude at around four hours. But, you won’t be disappointed in your experience.
Although the PC version of Injustice 2 came at a much later date, I will say that it was well worth the wait. The Ultimate Moves each have a certain flare and pop to them, and they never really seem to get old even if you’re on the receiving end.