THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD JUST GOT A WHOLE LOT BOLDER!
HOO BOY! How I’ve been waiting anxiously for this one! In 2013, NetherRealm Studios, Warner Brothers and DC comics came together to create one of the best fighters in years. When the first Injustice game dropped it was an instant hit, garnering rave reviews, winning awards and sprouting a graphic novel series which is still going to this day. It was a huge step up from the widely panned Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe and it was just grand, with DC lovers and gamers alike catered to. Fast forward to 2017 and Injustice 2 is revealed and I was instantly invested, wondering how the last entry could be topped and improved upon and not to mention the wish list of new and returning characters that would be included. Well, upon finally getting my hands on it I was not disappointed, the tagline stated that ‘Every battle defines you’ insinuating and more immersive experience and sure enough the boys at NetherRealm captured the essence of this down to a tee.
Continuing 5 years after the events of the first game, Injustice 2 delves into the aftermath of Superman’s defeat and incarceration. In a wonderfully cinematic Medias Res sequence, we are introduced to Kara Zor-El AKA Supergirl during the destruction of Krypton and her failed evacuation to Earth and sub sequential separation from her cousin Superman. Moving on to the present day and with the Justice League left disbanded, a new threat arises in a group of some of the DCU’s villains know as The Society, however they are just a front for the games real antagonist, Brainiac looking to finish off the last two remaining Kryptonians and take planet Earth in the process. Though seriously divided and with a common enemy in their midst, Batman and Superman must reluctantly put their differences aside and become a team once more.
When it comes to gameplay, Injustice 2 plays exceptionally well, with responsive controls and a fantastic layout with all buttons on your controller being utilised. Each character has very distinct move sets and fighting styles, capturing each and every one of them perfectly and easily setting each hero and villain apart in each battle making it very hard to grow tired while playing. Along with all the super moves from the last game have been brought back and made so much better, they look more damaging and the developers really thought outside the box when it came to their execution, one such example is The Flash’s super move (ever bitch slapped a T-Rex with your mortal enemy?). Other mechanics brought back from the first game is the interactive surroundings, battering your foes with trash cans, chandeliers and slamming them into the background creates a far more immersive experience and shows that your battle doesn’t just have to take place on a one layered foreground, which brings me gracefully onto the returning area transition mechanic. Watching the other player (and yourself sometimes) flying though the air with a whole number of terrible things happening to them on the way is incredibly satisfying and though it was used in first Injustice game brings a whole new element of gameplay to the overall experience. NetherRealm also amped up the RPG elements as well, as you play you can level up each character individually along with collecting various pieces of stat boosting equipment, allowing you to customise your fighters to your liking, making the whole experience your own. Along with the incredible story mode which shows of its fantastic narrative and steady yet fair difficulty curve, Injustice 2 also boasts both single player as well as exhilarating multiplayer options and a new addition called The Multiverse, a brilliant homage to DC Comics love of the infinite reality theory and to the last Injustice game. You fight alternate versions of the roster with optional objectives that can be completed for extra rewards; this proves a great challenge as well.
Injustice 2’s gameplay is also brilliantly complimented by an all in all extravagant aesthetic; it looks fantastic and bests the previous entry with flying colours. Character models look less cartoonish and more for, the lack of a better word human, except for the characters that aren’t exactly human (?)….but they still look awesome! This is supported by an all round amazing voice cast with Kevin Conroy yet again reprising his role as Batman and Tara Strong putting on another great performance as Harley Quinn and in my opinion, Green Arrow and Alan Tudyk (STEEEEEEVE THE PIRATE!) goes hand in hand. However, with all this absorbing sound I did a few times experience the sound cutting out completely for a brief section but that’s nothing that can’t be easily patched. Injustice 2’s cast of characters meld together perfectly and the new additions like Blue Beetle, Firestorm, Supergirl and Atrocitus fit in seamlessly and feel like they all belong in this game, the omissions of Dick Grayson and Deathstroke is itself injustice (cue the tumbleweed) but in games like this you have to choose your battles. The game’s protagonist, Brainiac at first doesn’t seem as much of a threat as Superman did in the last game…..UNTIL YOU FIGHT HIM! I found myself eating my words with a side of egg on my face when my fourth attempt came around. Among the whole grand scheme you have to take a step back and appreciate the finer details of the game also, the little Easter eggs presented by the script and the villains you see meandering in the background are part of what make comic books and video games great and clever little touches such as the two fighters hacking at each other on the character select screen is just delightful and acts as a nice nod to the Mortal Kombat series.
Injustice 2 is available now on Playstation 4 & Xbox One – Review code by Warner Bro’s