By Nick Schifani
How's it going, guys!? It feels like was only a short time ago we were dropped into the DC world Ed Boone and his NetherRealm Studios team created. Like its predecessor, Injustice 2 is outstanding. The roster in 2013's Injustice: Gods Among Us was your basic intro in a fighting game based off comic books heroes. Injustice 2 pushes past the basics to toss in some hardcore DC stables that not everyone will recognize. Tie this stunning roster in with a deep storyline I've never seen in a fighting game before, and presto you have a sheer masterpiece.
Injustice 2 builds on the momentum from Gods Among Us by taking us back to the Earth where Superman is still imprisoned. This universe is still in shock from what the meta-humans did to its world. Odd alliances have been formed and people aren't so happy to see capes anymore. It's an Earth where Bruce Wayne is trying to get everything back to normal. Luckily, the darker tone Gods Among Us took starts to fade in this new game. I know the tone of the last game was needed, but I started to yearn for a lighter one. I believe NeatherRealm sensed this too. Bringing along wise-cracking Green Arrow, chop-busting Black Canary, and the always lovable Flash help makes the narrative more upbeat.
The story mode throws in tons of playable characters allowing you to bounce from hero to hero. First glance this can be a bit tough for newcomers, but the player gets 3-4 battles with said character to learn on the fly. Sure, some characters are more difficult to master than others (Harley Quinn was my Achilles' Heel), but being able to play as these iconic heroes is more than enough to keep your interest. In some battles, you even get a choice of which character you want to fight with. For example, early in the story, you find yourself deciding to fight with either Green Arrow or Black Canary. Personally, I split the fights ensuring I would be able to fight with both heroes. I love the option to do this in the story mode, allowing me to find a niche in my fighting style. Learning 28 fighting styles on the go is complicated at times, but fear not it's all for the sake of fun.
Fighting mechanics have improved greatly from Injustice 1. This game strikes a perfect balance of keeping what made the first game enjoyable and adding smart changes to make it better. Besides adding more environmental attack options, like throwing a huge stuffed alligator, the game devs added in more ways to burn your special meter. Allowing the player to add more depth to attacks, new defenses against combos, and punishing an opponent in a matter of moments. Of course, a NetherRealm based game wouldn't shine as bright without over-the-top Super Moves. Using everything in DC's creative arsenal, players can travel through time to slam your opponent into the ass-end of a T-Rex or even building a huge mech out of Green Lantern’s power to blow your adversary to another planet. We owe the team behind these moves a big "thank you" for not holding back on creativity.
One of the bigger improvements during gameplay is movement. Gods Among Us suffered from what felt like sluggish movement during fights. Injustice 2 corrects this with faster walking speed. It makes even the largest characters feel more quick and agile. Thus, allowing fights between range characters like Arrow and Deadshot less infuriating. The added quickness to the game takes combos to another level. I am a crazy person who likes to spend a copious amount of time training and learning all types of ways to land extravagant combos. The new fighting mechanics only helps fuel this childhood obsession. An obsession developed by one Street Fighter 2 match with Adam. I won't stroll down memory lane for you but know because of this experience I find great pleasure juggling my opponents in health-depleting combos.
Lastly, there are hours upon hours of content in the game. Aside from the story mode, the game is featured with Multiverse mode. In simplest terms, it's basically fighting games answer to the likes of Destiny or Tom Clancy games. The Multiverse gives players the opportunity to level up their characters, add gear, and gain extra abilities. Adding gear is a key component to helping further develop a stronger character to tackle tougher challenges inside the Multiverse. After each fight in this mode, you get gear ranging from common to rare to legendary. Each piece of gear can change how a player builds their favorite heroes or villains. You can build a more defensive character or one full of offensive firepower, either way, it's up to you. The gear can change the color of your heroes’ suits, or it can even change the size of a projectile.
I was overly pleased to see some of the rarer gear change the appearance of my characters. Something I've always enjoyed in a fighting game is the different skins or shaders that come attached to the playable characters. For example, I love being able to switch between different costumes Batman has donned over the years. I can play as a classic Batman, a Batman Beyond skin, or even one from the epic Flashpoint comic storyline. All these types of different outfits add more depth to the character progression. It's the simple things in fighting games that can take it from a bland experience to an outstanding one. Even changing the logo on Superman's chest or adding winged tips on Flashes head keeps me going back to the Multiverse challenges. Between all these different unlockables and options you can change arms, legs, chest plates, shirts (or tops), helmets, and headpieces. The options are practically endless!
Injustice 2 is an improvement on the already brilliant Gods Among Us in nearly every way possible. From addressing fan concerns of slow movement to adding fun and new ways to deck out your character, this game delivers it all. This unprecedented amount of single-player content alone, especially the Multiverse Mode, should peak your interest for hours upon hours. Even a meta-human with the ability to travel through time shouldn't pass up the opportunity to get lost in this world. Hit me up on Twitter at @WebHeadNick86 if you want to talk more about this delightful game.