Four years after the first instalment of this new IP, Injustice 2 strikes back with a vengeance. After years and years of Mortal Kombat, NetherRealm Studios introduced this new saga based on DC Comics characters, setting a new standard among the Beat ’em Ups.
As you surely know, the concept revolves around the idea that all those demi-gods, for some reasons tired of being in favour of the mankind, turn against us in an attempt to make Earth a better place. In the first game, the event that triggers this change is the death of Lois Lane (at the time awaiting a baby from Clark Kent). Deceived by The Joker, Superman turns mad, kills the villain, and then decides that the only way to prevent any further crime is to become an “absolute dictator” and rule the Earth by means of a special force. In the meantime, a nuclear device set up by the Joker detonates, creating by accident a gate to a parallel universe…
At the end of the first game, the only hope for mankind is with The Batman, and it’s only thanks to him if Superman is finally stopped and put in captivity. Injustice 2 starts exactly from this point where Bruce Wayne is, at the same time, trying to restore law and order and keeping Clark Kent in custody.
As for the others NetherRealm games, Injustice 2 features a well-conceived “solo campaign” put in the form of a story mode: extended cinematics are interwoven with Player vs AI fights, where you meet all the different character while the plot unfolds. The entire roster of characters and all the combat arenas are available from the first minute, with the only exception of the “guest star”, available after finishing the main campaign.
Unlike Mortal Kombat, the controls layout is set in a way that Triangle, Square and Cross buttons are used for High, Medium and Low attack: if this attack is fist or kick based depends by the combination of the directions buttons (be them the digital cross or the analogue stick), whilst the Circle button triggers specific abilities (Harley Quinn, for example, will use it to summon her favourite dogs … or whatever they are).
I personally don’t like this kind of layout, but I must admit that it makes the fights much more technical and the game gives its best with a fighting stick. There are no secret characters to unlock here, but winning battles (both in the story mode or in the “normal” fights) unlocks power-ups that can be used to enhance your preferred fighter. You can so build new attires and change your equipment according to the opponent you have to face.
It is clear from the start that, once again, a formidable menace is about to strike our Earth …
… and, once again, Batman will be our only hope …
Inside the game plot, Batman is also in charge of Brother Eye, an incredible space station loaded with sensors and state-of-the-art software able to scan the different dimension and keep an eye (literally!!) on what’s happening in the multiverse.
This set up basically is the counterpart of Mortal Kombat Tower, where you can find daily challenges and guilds to join.
One thing that I like, especially after all the Limited Editions that I got in the past, is that this one comes with a fighting stick, instead of an (albeit well done) figurine. Don’t get me wrong: I love action figures and stuff, but I really don’t have where to put them anymore. The only thing that, as a collector, I really missed, was the Batmobile that was supposed to complement Batman: Arkham Knight. Sadly, that item never came out and why Warner Bros decided to go for a huge “nightstand lamp” is still a mystery to me. The Hori Stick, on the other hand, is really a nice piece of equipment and the bundle is, overall, very well though.
In the end, after trying out Injustice 2 in all its different aspects, I believe that giving a score below 9 would not be fair to the product. The game is indeed nice, with a nice story and many different and charismatic characters (as usual, Batman above all). The online part is strong and the graphics are great. On the other hand, though, I must honestly say that this is not a product for everyone. I always loved the beat ’em ups, but what I loved most was the fact that you had to struggle with the “arcade” mode in order to get to the end of the fight. Only after defeating the boss you had access to a cinematic depicting the story of that particular fighter, possibly unlocking a new, hidden one (or a new arena, or a new power-up). The fact that everything is available from the start is a little bit of a turndown and after a few fights (well, at least a few dozens of them), I tend to lose interest. But if you are really into these kinds of games and you love to challenge yourself with online battles this one is indeed the game for you.
Credits: Many thanks to LordTindarus80 for providing the testing material.