Injustice 2 review for PS4, Xbox One

Platform: PS4
Also On: Xbox One
Publisher: WB Games
Developer: NetherRealm Studios
Medium: Blu-ray/Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: Yes

NetherRealm Studios’ continued success in the fighting game space doesn?t miss a beat with the release of Injustice 2 on PS4 and Xbox One. Both the single player and multiplayer sides of the DC Comics focused title manage to stand out as exceptional, especially when directly compared against some of its recent competitors. Injustice 2 provides a number of quality reasons to play, even if you don?t consider yourself to be competitive, or even competent, when it comes to the fighting game genre. Because of this, I think it?s an excellent title to pick up and play for just about anyone, regardless of your experience level.

First off, the story mode here puts pretty much every fighting game not developed by NetherRealm to shame. It builds upon the groundwork of Mortal Kombat 9 and X, weaving the story sequences between the fights in a near seamless fashion. It can feel a bit disjointed, you?re only given a few matches to get familiar with one character before moving on to the next, but I also find that it?s a good way to sample a large portion of the roster before deciding who you?d like to focus on.

It also helps that the story is largely entertaining. It?s a true sequel to not only the first Injustice game, but also the comic series, which spanned a number of seasons in-between. I think your appreciation of the story is certainly elevated if you?re familiar with the comic content, but I don?t think your overall enjoyment will depend on that information. The basics are pretty easy to pick-up, and explained well enough in the opening chapters, that I doubt anyone will be lost here. I also appreciated the use of a larger threat to bring the opposing sides of Batman and Superman together, and I think the payoff at the end is pretty interesting for both sides.

In addition to the story mode, the single player side of the game makes use of plenty of practice options, with a solid opening tutorial for new players that?ll run you through not only basic moves and special attacks, but other mechanics like meter burn for evasions, basic combo strings, and more. You can also go into character specific practice sessions that?ll give you a lot of the same information centered on the character you choose. These modes won?t necessarily turn you into a pro online, but it?ll be enough for you to get your feet wet and seek out additional info via YouTube and other places.

The Multiverse is another single-player mode wherein you?ll pick a character to face off against a series of foes, sometimes with additional modifiers. This mode is one of the primary ways you?ll level up your characters, and also provides ample rewards in the form of Mother Boxes, which in turn will grant you loot to equip.

Yes, that?s right, a fighting game with loot. Be still my beating heart.

Injustice 2 has a pretty well-realized loot and gear system, each character has five gear slots, and loot earned has various degrees of rarity, ranging from basic to Epic. Equipping gear will improve base stats for your characters, but certain pieces of gear can also provide other bonuses, like additional XP gains, more damage for throws, and so on. Gear also provides cosmetic changes for characters, reflected during fights, which allows for some decent customization. Injustice 2 also makes use of shaders to change costume colors, in addition to some character-specific shaders that downright change the character, like turning the Flash into Jay Garrick. And the rate at which you earn loot is pretty high, so while the game does feature some spend real money for in-game currency gimmicks, it honestly never felt necessary to do so.

You can also opt to join a guild, which will dole out additional rewards as various guild objectives are met. There are also guild specific events for the Multiverse, including ultra-tough boss battles that?ll require multiple players to take turns chipping away at the boss in order to win. If you?ve ever played Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, this reminds me a lot of the raid mode in that game.

And of course there?s multiplayer too. I think it says something about the absolute volume of single-player content that talking about the MP side of the game feels like a footnote, but for me that?s kind of what it is. Not to say that the multiplayer side isn?t great, it?s actually rock solid and certainly a step up from some of the technical woes that plagued Mortal Kombat X. But as a fighting game fan that?s not hugely into the competitive scene, Injustice 2 feels like a game that greatly caters to my interests, which in turn mostly circles around the single-player side of the game.

So if a robust single-player fighting game with solid multiplayer backing it up sounds like your kind of thing, then I?d urge you to pick up Injustice 2. It?s got a great roster, excellent fan service for DC fans, and a really entertaining story mode. The inclusion of guilds and ever changing Multiverse events give you a reason to keep coming back for more. And the addition of unique loot drops for every character in the game incentivizes playing through with various characters. There?s a lot to see and do in Injustice 2, and it?s all worth checking out.

Grade: A