By Ben Harris
The DC Universe’s best superheroes and villains collide in the gaming world for Injustice 2, the second round of NetherRealm Studios’ fighting game series. The Mortal Kombat X developers enjoyed much success with the release of the first game on last gen consoles, and the new gen sequel promises to improve on all aspects.
Old gameplay elements return along with some new exciting additions, with improved graphics fit for the series’ full new gen debut. There’s hope that the game will deliver a compelling story mode and competitive online, just like its predecessor.
Injustice 2 currently has a UK release date of May 16th for PS4 and Xbox One, the same as its worldwide release date. This will be one month before the release of Namco Bandai’s Tekken 7 so it’ll be an exciting time for fighting game fans. A mobile version of the game will follow over the next few months.
A bonus DLC playable character, Darkseid, is available for people who pre-order the game before its release. A Digital Deluxe Edition and an Ultimate Edition are also available for diehard fans, containing plenty of bonus DLC content to aid them in their battles.
The cinematic story mode, which has become a popular aspect in modern fighting games, returns in Injustice 2. The game’s plot is set five years after the events of the first game, where Batman is trying to repair society after his battle with Superman. However, the game’s new main antagonist, Brainiac, threatens Earth’s existence along with a secret group titled ‘The Society’. It’s up to Batman to form a new team of superheroes to save Earth.
The story mode will once again switch the player between multiple characters, focusing on each of their individual journeys throughout the main plot. You can view the latest trailer for the story below:
Injustice 2 story trailer:
The core gameplay of Injustice 2 plays very much like its predecessor and like every other fighting game in general. Popular elements such as environmental attacks, stage transitions and character traits return in a new and improved way. The character trait system gifts players a temporary ability, suitable for the character they’re playing as. One major gamplay improvement to note is that most environmental attacks are now blockable, making the player feel more like a fighting superhero or villain.
There are some new additions to the gameplay too, with a loot-dropping system, named the ‘Gear System’, being the main element. How it works is that after every fight, the player is rewarded with gear which can then be equipped to customise the appearances of characters and improve their abilities. These abilities are their strength, speed, defense and health. For example, equipping Harley Quinn with the ‘Sturdy Jester’s Crown’ gear, once unlocked, will increase her strength, speed and health. Some gear even unlocks a new move for characters. Also, each piece of gear is separated into tiers, so gear labelled ‘rare’ will give higher benefits than gear labelled ‘common’. Players will have five separate gear loadouts, which can be switched during the beginning of matches.
Online multiplayer also returns in the game, with players able to fight either with the ability to use geared characters or only with default characters as part of the matchmaking options. This means that there will be a fair battleground in the game’s online world.
Injustice 2 features a larger roster of playable DC superheroes and villains, both old and new from the prequel, with a further nine DLC characters in the works. There are the familiar old faces of Batman and Superman and the lesser known new faces of Swamp Thing and Gorilla Grodd, for example. Players will be able to transform some characters into other characters, called ‘premier skins’, such as changing Green Lantern into the man behind the costume, John Stewart.
Being developed specifically for the new gen consoles, unlike the first game which was ported to new gen after its original last gen release, the graphics in Injustice 2 are a significant improvement. The graphical style of the game is similar to that of Mortal Kombat, which is no surprise given that both games are from the same developers.
The new stages in the game feature incredible detail, even during the short scene of a stage transition, which allows areas in the DC Universe to look more recognisable to fans. Each character is also very detailed in their appearances, with improved facial expressions so the player can really see a villain’s deranged evil happiness or a hero’s determination during cinematics. When watching gameplay, it was impressive to see the game run smoothly throughout each fight even when the pace was amped up. There were no notable signs of framerate drops.
The game has been given an age rating of 16 by PEGI.
With its release just a few months away, Injustice 2 already looks ready to battle the likes of Street Fighter V and Tekken 7 for the top fighting game crown on PS4 and Xbox One. NetherRealm have improved on the much-loved gameplay of the first game while adding a welcome addition in the ‘Gear System’. The DC cinematic universe may not be receiving positive fan feedback, but there’s hope that with this game’s release fans will at least get some of the satisfaction that they crave. Check out the latest from NetherReam with its Twitter page.