It’s been five years since Batman and his team of doppelganger companions defeated the sociopathic tyrant that was once the beacon of hope, Superman in Injustice: Gods Among Us.  However, when the world seems to have finally made big strides in putting our planet and its people back together, but now a new threat has emerged, a threat that has even more sinister intentions then Superman.  With a new group of bad guys known as The Society led by Gorilla Grodd, they push forward their plans for world domination and it soon becomes apparent that The Society are mere pawns in the game to the puppet master known as Brainiac (who is voiced superbly by Jeffery Combs).

Brainiac is a collector of worlds that wants to create a galaxy in his “perfect image”, so you think bad guy Superman and times that by 1000, then you have some idea of Brainiac’s evil schemes.  In the world of Injustice 2, Brainiac was the one that destroyed the planet Krypton, the home planet of Superman and Supergirl.  However, with the fact that Kal-El and Kara Zor-El had escaped his clutches, that only drove Brainiac mad since that very day.  But when Brainiac discovered that both of them reside on planet Earth, he pays our planet an unwelcomed visit and while he’s at it, he plans on taking over our world!

As they say, “desperate times, call for desperate measures” and a desperate Batman calls for the aid of the imprisoned Superman.  Knowing that this has huge risk and potential repercussions for our home world, Batman with the aid of Harley Quinn, Green Arrow, Black Canary and more, have little to no choice.  Willing and potentially able, Superman maybe the only one to stop Brainiac, but once it’s said and done, can Batman trust the friend that he once held so dear?  Only time will tell, but first a new Justice League must be formed to save the world once more from Brainiac and The Society.

In terms of gameplay, in its essence Injustice 2 pretty much remains the same as Injustice: Gods Among Us.  You’ll be hitting those combos, smashing opponents through the scenery and landing plenty of over-the-top super moves.  If something isn’t broke, then don’t fix it, as they say.  However, after playing the original game quite recently before the sequel released, it became very evident that the gameplay of Injustice 2 feels more fluid, perhaps a little faster paced then before.  So even though the gameplay remains very familiar due to having little reason to change it, developers NetherRealm Studios have still somehow improved on its original formula.  Although as great as some of the Super-Moves can be, it would have been great to take extra advantage of the new Gear System by having the choice of acquiring new Super-Moves to keep this aspect a little more fresh in the long run, as even the most fun Super-Moves can get a little stale after a while.

Speaking of which, one of the biggest aspects improved in Injustice 2, or to be more accurate, introduced, is the new Gears System.  When I heard of this new mechanic some months prior to the games release, I thought it would be a mere gimmick, something that once the game released, I would end up paying little attention to.  However, now that this Gear System has been introduced, I can’t possibly see how future releases in the series can live without it and the same can be said for the next Mortal Kombat instalment as I would be disappointed if this mechanic couldn’t be introduced in some way with NetherRealm’s other big hitter.

Basically what this Gear System does is that it provides an insane amount of customisation options for each and every of the 28 playable characters in the game.  From their appearance, move-set, damage input and output, and more.  If you don’t like the look of your favourite characters or just feel like adding in your own version, then fear not.  As you can change their head gear, chest, gauntlets, capes, boots, colour scheme and more.  While these custom characters won’t make it into the story campaign, they will be implemented in pretty much any other mode that Injustice 2 has to offer.  To say that you have an insane amount of options available, is no understatement, as almost every mode and fight will earn you rewards, win or lose.  It certainly adds an element of the RPG formula without ever feeling out of place.

Of course by having this kind of mechanic, it leaves the door wide open for micro-transactions and Injustice 2 does offer this service, something that is a common staple in today’s generation.  However, while some games may milk the micro-transaction system to the point that it feels like you have no player reward without having to dip into your pocket, at no point when playing Injustice 2 did I feel short-changed or like I was missing out, due to the fact that there are so many ways to earn rewards.  If you’re still concerned that Injustice 2 might have a pay-to-win formula when playing online, then once again fear not.  Because when playing against other online players, only cosmetics will be implemented, so you won’t come across any overpowered playboy billionaire with juiced up bat-gadgets (so to speak) to pick up an win via an unfair advantage.

Aside from the fantastic campaign which kept me gripped throughout, Injustice 2 has a whole host of modes to keep you invested in the game for quite some time.  To be fair, the original Injustice had a lot to offer in that respect, but its sequel puts even that to shame, in-fact, it puts pretty much every other game in this genre to shame.  For example, one of my favourite modes is the Multiverse, a feature that many DC fans would be familiar with and Injustice 2 has its own spin on that formula.  In the Injustice 2 Multiverse, you are granted with various planets/portals to visit.  Each one will be equipped with their own set of challenges to take on, each with evolving stipulations.  Each of these challenges will vary in tasks at hand, and each will have their own rewards to offer.  However, these portals will change daily or even by the hour, until its replaced with a new challenge to take on.  In some ways, it kind of feels like Injustice 2’s take on the traditional Arcade mode or Mortal Kombat’s Challenge Tower.

Online, you can take on your friends or ranked opponents in the Versus mode or even take part in Tournaments locally.  You can even take part in the games own version of the popular King of the Hill, where you attempt to knock the top player in the match off their perch.  If you want to take part in the online modes one way or another, but don’t particularly feel like playing other players at that time, then you can indulge in the AI Simulator.  Here you can create a team of three characters for other players to battle while your away from the game, kind of like being in the background.  You can also pick your team of three in an AI battle against other player teams.  Doing so will earn you rewards, win or lose.  Just like the singleplayer modes, many of the online modes will level-up your players that participate in each match.  Also, Guilds in Injustice 2 is kind of like its own clan system.  Here you can be a part of something and pretty much each time you play Injustice 2, you will earn rewards for you and your fellow friends that are members of your Guild.  The more you play Injustice 2 while being a part of a Guild, the further your Guild will move up (or down) in the online leaderboards.

Now, I’ve spoken a lot about the rewards that Injustice 2 has to offer and the many ways in which you can earn them.  This reward system all goes through something called Brother Eye Vault.  Here you will acquire various levels of loot reward boxes called Mother Boxes in two main categories, one for singleplayer achievements and the other for your Guild.  If I was being picky, with so many loot boxes being thrown at you left, right and centre, I wish that there was an easier/quicker way to get through them all, especially when you can have easily 20+ at a time to plough through.

As already stated, you should earn a lot of loot, and if you acquire duplicates or items of little use, then you can essentially infuse them if you wish to make your favourite pieces stronger, giving every piece of gear a use, one way or another (you can even sell gear to raise additional in-game credits).  There are many great things about Injustice 2, aside from the superb gameplay, gripping campaign story (which has a subtle branching storyline and an alternative ending), as well as plentiful action-packed modes, but its rewards system must really be commended.  Furthermore, while I’m not a fan of mobile games in general, if you have a compatible mobile phone or tablet device, it might be worth you considering downloading the accompanying Free-to-Play Injustice 2 mobile game.  It’s not great, it’s ok, but more importantly by linking accounts, its yet another way for you to earn rewards in the main game.

Being  a fan of the DC world and developers NetherRealm Studios, it was very difficult not to go into Injustice 2 will already high expectations, but somehow, someway, Injustice 2 is one of those rare games that not only achieves that high level of expectation, but it exceeds it.  From its refined gameplay, slick visuals, generous reward system, fulfilling modes and packed 28 character roster, assuming you have the Darkseid pre-order DLC (which just like Goro in Mortal Kombat X, that kind of pre-order DLC sucks in my opinion).  Injustice 2 has quality and quantity in abundance.  Injustice 2 is not only the best game in its genre for some time, in a year that’s gifted us with some truly great games already; Injustice 2 in my opinion is a strong Game of the Year contender in 2017!



Author

Richard Lee Breslin
Richard Lee Breslin

30+ years of gaming with no signs of ever stopping. I have a BDes Hons Games Development and Digital Media, and I hope to one day turn my passion for gaming and writing into a living. My favourite gaming series are Resi Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, Assassin's Creed, Uncharted and The Last of Us. I collect gaming merchandise, comics and movies. I love football (namely Aston Villa) and WWE. I can also often be found wondering the outskirts of Raccoon City. Follow me on Twitter @Solidus5nake