Injustice 2 – Review for the Xbox One
Injustice 2 is the sequel to the surprise-hit Injustice: Gods Among Us, released in 2013. Yet, does ‘every battle define you’, or is this sequel the DC video game universe’ kryptonite?
Thankfully Injustice 2 delivers on all fronts, creating: an excellent fighting game, a clever sequel, and wonderful new aspects of gameplay. The beauty of the original Injustice was in how it utilised one of the DC comic universe’s oddities – the existence of multiple universes (or the multiverse) – to create a multiverse world in which Superman and Batman had become enemies. This was due to Superman going mad with rage and murdering the Joker after the Joker tricked Superman into killing Lois Lane. Here Superman became a god-ruler over Earth. His only opposition was Batman and his friends. Batman then called in allies – including another Batman – from another universe and the story could continue, with the player taking control of various characters as they fought against Superman and his regime.
Similarly the story in Injustice 2 also focuses on Batman, but this time, having defeated Superman and aware of the multiverse – Batman has become a monitor of the multiverse alongside his few allies. Batman becomes aware of trouble stirring in the world, due to Gorilla Grodd and his Crime Syndicate, and sends his allies to fight. What they discover is the real villain of the piece – the infamous Brainiac. A villain that requires the former-friends to unite once more or risk the destruction of Earth.
Moves and Gameplay
The moves in Injustice 2 follow those of any other fighter with a mixture of light, medium and heavy attacks. Combo moves and grabs also play an important role, alongside jumping and rolling. As with the first Injustice, the environment is interactive during fights, with stronger characters capable of throwing and punching many aspects of each stage. Some stages allow characters to be launched from one section of the arena into another with powerful blows. The transition itself deals additional damage!
Supermoves also form a large aspect of the battle, with characters possessing the ability to trigger devastating powered-up attacks unique to themselves (for instance The Flash runs back in time with his opponent, before bringing them back from the past to slam into their future self). All of these gameplay elements from the first game are much improved and polished here in the second game.
Yet on top of these polished moves, Injustice 2 adds in the ability to use ‘meter burn’ attacks during combos. This features alongside other unique character powers. Some of these character powers are as character-driven as Batman using remote controlled batarangs. Or there are more simple power buffs for characters like Aquaman and Wonderwoman.
Yet it is in the use of meter burns that Injustice 2 takes on a level of intricate complexity and enjoyment. During the course of battle the supermove bar builds up four levels. The supermove is able to create devastating impact when fully charged. Part of this supermove bar can alternatively be used in a meter burn. This deals a more devastating version of any combo.
The meter can also be burned once a character is down to their last bar of health. This will unleash a ‘clash’ moment. Each character has the ability to unleash one clash move per match. And once unleashed, this clash allows characters to ‘wager’ any bars of supermove they have at their disposal. If the defender (the person who activated the clash) wins, they can regain up to 33 percent of their health. If the attacker wins however, they deal a vast amount of damage upon their opponent. The use of clashes and meter burns, therefore adds a highly strategic aspect to Injustice 2.
The character list of Injustice 2 is wonderfully diverse. The favourite staples such as Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are all present. Alongside these heroes are recognisable faces such as Aquaman, The Flash, Harley Quinn and The Joker. Yet there are some unique choices, such as Attrocitus, Black Canary, Cheetah and Gorilla Grodd. Darkseid was also available as launch day DLC. Further DLC includes: Sub Zero, Starfire, Red Hood, Black Manta, Hellboy and Raiden.
Once the story mode ends, the game is incredibly rich in other content such as unlockables. If linked to the mobile version of the game, various unlockables become available for free. For example, there was a special movie-tie-in edition of Wonder Woman’s costume for completing the Wonder Woman challenge. These unlockables come in the form of lootcrate-lite ‘mother boxes.’ These feature five tiers of rarity: bronze, silver, gold, platinum and diamond. Each level of rarity offers various cosmetic items. Depending on their level, a character can equip these items which offer various stat boosts.
There are three key ways to earn motherboxes. Through Guilds, online multiplayer, or Multiverse-mode. Each of these modes provide credits which can be used to purchase gear/mother boxes. Alternatively, these items can be purchased with real world cash. Participation in these modes can also directly provide mother boxes, depending on the level of achievement.
Guild mode allows the player to create or join a guild and participate in various challenges with other players. Online multiplayer allows the player to play ranked or unranked matches online. Finally, Multiverse mode allows the player to verse changing rosters of AI fighters. This occurs in a variety of ever changing challenges on worlds which may be available for minutes, hours or days. It is this Multiverse mode, which is the real endgame of Injustice 2. A final challenge which promotes the game as one of the best fighters around.