Republished on Wednesday 28th September 2022: We're bringing this review back from the archives following the announcement of October's PlayStation Plus Essential lineup. The original text follows.
Injustice 2 may be one of the most impressive fighting game sequels in recent memory. Following the release of Injustice: Gods Among Us (which raised its fists over four years ago), this successor continues the story of a hypothetical universe, in which Superman has been tricked into causing a devastating tragedy which has consumed everything and everyone he loves. The original title was inspired, and the execution of the initial concept was legitimised by NetherRealm’s presentation and storytelling, which had become notorious following the release of Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. But years later, it's upped the ante all over again.
The story mode – which has been kept alive by a comic book series to bridge the gap between games – is followed easily if you have only played the first campaign. The story starts before the events of Injustice, and introduces the character of Kara-El (Supergirl) as she watches Krypton be destroyed by the primary antagonist of Injustice 2, Brainiac. She escapes as the only other House of El descendant apart from Kal (Superman), and as she leaves her home planet we skip to five years after the first Injustice video game, as Bruce Wayne is attempting to rebuild the society which Superman (now imprisoned) had taken over and controlled. While the premise doesn’t have the shocking moments found in the first game such as Superman pushing his fist through the chest of The Joker, it still has its flickers of cleverness and great writing which make the story mode a blast to play through.
However, what makes this story mode stellar is its presentation. Impressive facial capture brings flesh to the narrative, as Harley Quinn jostles pieces of gum in between her jaws, Batman’s sweat glistens below his nose, and as the frustration of Wonder Woman is shown through the creases accentuating on her forehead – the attention to detail is what pushes this next chapter in the Injustice story much further than its predecessor.
This ideal execution seeps over into the fighting game mechanics, which have been evolved in Injustice 2. These particulars have been adjusted to compensate a quicker combat style, by adding meter burns which adjust manoeuvrability, removing the heavier characters (with even the returning Bane shedding quite a few pounds), and increasing the overall agility of the characters. The result is a welcome change, and encourages a more active playstyle which discourages individuals from relying on minimal tactics such as projectile spamming. That isn’t to say that you will have to adjust your playstyle too differently if you’re used to a specific character which is returning from the original Injustice, as basic combos and mechanics are still present.
One of the new additions to Injustice 2 is the gear and character customisation options. You unlock this gear through loot boxes, and while many were scoffing at the idea of creating and building your own unique character, the implementation and utilisation of the gear allows this part of the game to feel easily justified. The amount of gear and customisation options present are staggering, and doesn't constrain your character to a specific gear-set for more than a couple matches, as you're continuously unlocking more and more options to customise your comic book star. There's five different tiers of loot boxes, and you receive them constantly. Also, if you have a high level character and decide to go to online play, the game will auto-adjust your level to the same as your opponent's, making the game fair for more competitive players. Injustice 2 is commendable for its customisation additions, and it will be great to see where it takes this system in their future titles.
Another thing to commend NetherRealm for is the solid netcode in Injustice 2, allowing low-latency online play. While there definitely were some hitches on the first couple days the game was released, the fighting is much more responsive than it was in the original Injustice or Mortal Kombat X (although that title went through extensive netcode testing months after release which has been implemented to Injustice 2 with great effect).
Apart from online, if you’re a solo player you might be spending a lot of time in Multiverse. An ever-changing range of tower options which range from affecting environments to affecting specific character’s abilities. Seeing story vignettes at the end of each individual’s Multiverse is a welcome return. However, bosses in The Multiverse are poorly balanced, executing combos in a way which would be almost impossible for even a dedicated player to be able to punch in. This, coupled with the increased health and damage output, creates a seemingly unfair fight which requires a great deal of repetition and relying on AI manipulation. Many times, it’s a test of endurance, and others you need to rely on specific combos and manoeuvres which the opponent can’t counter. It’s unfortunate that cheap difficulty spikes are still seen even after Shao Kahn smashed many players in Mortal Kombat 9.
For those of you which fantasied about your favorite DC characters fighting by bumping your action figures together, Injustice 2 extends that fantasy into an impressively executed video game. There’s a lot to offer, and it will take you hundreds of hours to unlock everything, let alone attain the Platinum Trophy. The game’s depth in fighting, story, and customisation options make it a worthy addition to not only any fighting gamer’s library – but demands to be tried by people of all tastes.
It really is very good, thanks for the review Dan. Bizarrely, I feel like the facial animation is on par with Uncharted 4, which blows my mind a little bit.
It's a great game, my only complaint would be that it's, possibly, region locked on online? My US friends can never connect to my matches, unlike our MvC3 bouts. MKX did something similar I think?
I've been quite looking forward to this, and glad to see it's just as good as I would have hoped for!
I have really enjoyed it and always like kick some butts in Ranked 1v1 to get Push Square guild points. I'm glad I picked up the Ultimate edition cause I'm going to be playing this game for quite some time.
How long is the story? And can you map the buttons?
@get2sammyb it was my pleasure, I couldn't be any happier with the game and I'm excited to see it blossom.
@adf86 yes, you can completely map the buttons from the ground up.
@vegeta11 You're doing God's work in the Guild!
@get2sammyb yeah I've piled up quite a few points so far and completed 4 guild challenges. Fun time!
I'll wait for a price drop and I will definetely get this one. Still playing Fallout 4 which saved me a lot of money by keeping me entertained.
I still plan on getting Tekken 7 first, but this is also a must have. I played Gods Among Us to death.
I want this but right now my budget and time only allow one fighting game and with Tekken 7 coming in a few weeks that spot is taken. I will probably pick it up around holiday time (maybe a Black Friday sale). I just hope the game isn't dead by then.
@Tasuki I think it'll be fine. I recently went back to Injustice 1 ahead of the release of this one and there were still people playing that.
Looking forward to getting my hands on this one when I can, looks a really fun fighting game. I think Tekken 7 is higher on my priority list for the time being though.
This sounds very cool!
NetherRealm games always get a Komplete Edition later down the line so no use in buying it now for me. And yes, more interested in Tekken, but not even that one is day 1 for me.
I think the last time I enjoyed a fighting game was with Injustice 1....but it was free. I rarely have people over, and get stomped online, so for me I can't see it being a wise $100 investment. I miss the SNES/N64 days when I ruled Killer Instinct with an iron fist!
@fabisputza00 lol you may be playing that forever if you do all the side quests and the never ending settlement missions w/ that guy from the start!
Injustice: Gods Among Us was my favorite fighting game last gen, so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised that Injustice 2 has risen to the top of my list this gen. It's story mode is definitely NetherRealm's best yet. My only complaint is how freaking cheap Brainiac is.
@Gamer83 Hasn't Netherealm's fighters always had cheap final bosses? Shao Khan still gives me nightmares, never could beat him in MK3
Given that this is a dedicated PS4 site, I'm always disappointed in the lack of PS4 Pro comparison and analysis.
The subdued word count here is always a bit of a let down too. Maybe PS is now aiming to be the dumbed down Newsround of games journalism these days? Fair enough I guess. Who likes to read?...
Am I the only one who thinks this game feels a bit clunky in control. I can't pull off combos quite as well as the 1st game. Kind of throws me off.
Yes, but I think Brainiac is a little over the top even for a NetherRealm designed boss.
@b1ackjack_ps Really? I think it's right up there personally.
I agree with you. Facial animation is really good in this. I'd put it ahead of many games this gen.
@fuzzy833 Thanks for reading. With regards to the PS4 Pro/PS4 comparisons, we generally feel there's better venues for that. We do try to post when there's pertinent information. One thing I do want to add — and really must pester @antdickens about — is an addition to the review so we can clearly display which platform the reviewer played the game on.
As for the shorter reviews, we found that most people didn't bother to read longer form so we've cut down across the site. I know there are people that enjoy longer-form writing, but my personal preference is for all of the relevant information to be relayed as quickly as possible — rather than rambling.
Cheers for the feedback, though! It is still taken on board.
I love it! This is how a fighting game should be made. There is tons of content for both single player and multiplayer fans.
I'm a huge RPG fan so the loot system has really pulled me in.
My only real complaint is I wish there were a few more maps.
I wanna play this game so much!! But I'm gonna wait until the price drops, can't afford it now... =/
@sinalefa The Ultimate Edition is out currently this time around, so you can buy the complete package whenever.
@get2sammyb thanks Sammy
@get2sammyb @vegeta11 You're doing great work in the guild! I managed to knock up a few more points last night but my skills are still pretty poor, so not as much as yourself
Absolute must buy for any fighter and comic fan alike.
And the ever changing Multiverse and its rewards are plentiful.
Plenty to do and visually, it looks incredible.
The way the Multiverse works justifies the customisation too, legitimising the different look of each character.
And as for the bosses, absolutely.
Brainiac actually has a combo which isnt available to users and has boss specific moves, one of which can remove and entire health bar in 4 hits(2 uses).
Excellent game, excellent review.
@b1ackjack_ps so far Ive noticed that different gear has different visuals that you can trandform into your favourites akin to an MMO.
The shaders are mostly iconic colour schemes.
I have yet to find anything thats like the iconic outfits.
As for grinding, I personally feel the loot drop rate is incredibly high.
From one run of a multiverse five opponant battle, I had a total of 12 mother boxes each dropping at least 2 bits of gear.
(2 for bronze, 3 for silver and so on)
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