Sunday, October 8, 2017

Injustice 2

Supergirl, Batman, and superman in the injustice title artwork

Rating: 9.5
Happy Price: 59.99

Injustice 2 is a nearly flawless fighting game, if you want to stop reading now you can. I'll go into what is great about the game, but the only thing I found that could use improvement was PvP matchmaking. The game boasts an incredible roster of DC characters that have modern relevance and have done some of the most creative combat design I've seen on characters that would otherwise get little mainstream representation. 

Combat Design

I'm not comic book buff, but after playing this game for over 60 hours I now have a great sense of who characters are like Dr. Fate, Atrocitus, and Blue Beetle. As I went through every single character to find my main, I learned about their movements hence learned about who they were as heroes (or villains). It was a great experience, and it seemed like each time I tried out a new character I would think to myself, "this is my new main". I would do great with them in the multiverse or during practice. The reality would hit when I played PvP however. That aside, every character has noticeable strengths and weaknesses that go beyond just what they are capable of. What I mean by that is, characters need to be judged on the number of frames to start combos, as well as their super moves, and the difficulty of hitting combos.

Supergirl shooting laser beams out of her eyes into Atrocitus

A great way to illustrate this would be the matchup of Catwoman and Dr. Fate. Dr. Fate is a mage that primarily uses ranged projectile attacks, but also posses a 3 button combo that includes an overhead attack. When facing someone like Catwoman, the strategy is to keep her away as much as possible, as Dr. Fate does not have very many combos that are good for close range. Catwoman does not have any ranged projectiles. She does however, have a nasty mix of easy to hit combos that have a variety of high and low attacks which make it hard to defend and setup devastating combos when an opening is found. She also poses the ability to "dodge" which builds up her character power. Her character power is a one button 4 hit combo. So someone playing Catwoman could potentially think this is a great matchup, or a bad matchup. It can be hard to tell, and it usually depends on the skill level of each person controlling the characters. This is what I love about fighting games, and in particular Injustice 2. A great Dr. Fate player can destroy an average Catwoman player and vice versa. 


The artwork and animation in this game is some of the best I've ever seen. There is so much spirit and attitude in every character. Their personalities a threaded into each move and animation that creates an immersive experience that comic book fans would salivate over. This is truly a deathmatch between different heroes and there is nothing that is held back. When Supergirl shoots layers out of her eyes, she's walking forward with an anger about her that is felt through the screen. This actually psychologically affects you as a player, it can be demoralizing if it happens to you, and invigorating when you can hit this attack with full power. The cleanliness of the animations provide great feedback during gameplay, because the animations are so clean you understand what is happening even though kicks and punches are coming in really fast. The voice acting and animations in the main story are also great, and makes you feel like you're watching a movie rather than playing a video game.


Netherealm Studios has come up with a great method of introducing the player to as many characters as possible while still having a story with twists and turns. Sometimes things feel a little cheap, like "in my dimension we don't like each other" but this is something DC has been doing in its TV shows as well, so there is some liberty since it's a common theme we see with DC these days. That being said, it is difficult to achieve the goal of getting the player familiar with a bunch of characters while trying to tell a story. Stories typically revolve around just one person, but this story has the overarching component and tries to introduce a bunch of subplots with key characters so the player has a good variety and get a feel for the majority of the characters. Even though Brainiac is the main villain, it feels more like a Batman vs. Superman story and Brainiac is only there to increase the tension between the two. It can be a bit tiring to see Superman outside of his character, I guess I'm a fan of a more simpler time. The story is still immersive and you'll find yourself glued to your controller because you will be craving for what happens next.

black manta, Red hood, sub zero, starfire


 Gear customization adds yet another layer to an already deep fighting game system. Gear provides different buffs for the multiverse, which is an area of the game that offers rewards and allows you to grind to level up characters. Leveling up characters can grant you access to hidden moves which are gained at level 10 and 20. The buffs you earn will not be applied during competitive gameplay, but the skins do apply. This gives the player personalization when in a PvP environment, and can add an intimidation factor when you see someone has all the best gear on a character because you know they worked for it and got familiar with the character they are playing as. This feature adds the element of loot drops that we see in MMO's and it fits in great with not only a fighting game but a fighting game that has some of your favorite DC characters. Another great thing is you can infuse armor pieces, so if you've gotten a epic piece of hardware at an early level, you can always infuse it with a higher level item and the epic piece will level up to your current level. 

Batman in his Batman vs Superman gear


The Multiverse is an area of the game that allows players to practice but with meaning. There are different planets that have a set of missions that lead to a boss battle. These mission sets usually start with the barrier of entry being "any level" and the final stage would be the boss battle that would require "Level 20". By the time your character has reached level 20, you've probably mastered that character so the multiverse is a great way to have purpose while practicing with a character and trying to find your main. There are usually five active mission sets you can do, each with a different difficulty setting. If you want to practice against "very hard" A.I opponents, you can do that. The loot drops from very hard opponents will be better than if you were to choose "easy" AI opponents. I've spent many hours in the multiverse with characters before I attempt PvP and even though it's a grind, it's a fun way to grind. If the option was not there, you'd just be sitting in the practice room or competing in noncompetitive PvP which in my opinion are worse options than the multiverse.

The kill blow in the Injustice 2 multiverse


My experience in PvP has both its good moments and bad moments. When you are matched up with someone with a similar skill set as you, the matches are amazing. Your heart rate is going, your are completely focused, and you feel the back and forth going between your opponent. At the end of the match, there is mutual respect between both players. When I face someone that is undermatched, it's fun to really demonstrate my superiority over another person, it's a demonstration of the time I've put into playing the game.  It's not so fun when the reverse happens, and I get absolutely destroyed by someone that has 200 wins and 40 losses. When you see the record, you know what is coming and you just try to survive at that point. I do wish matchmaking was better, I'd like to get that mutual respect game much more often. Sadly, I'm usually matched up against someone that is way better than me or way worse than me. I'm not sure if matchmaking is random or there is a system in place that is broken. 


Injustice 2 has it all. Great combat design, characters, and story. You'll find yourself playing this game for hours on end as you try to find your main. Since each character feels just as great as another character, you'll have a hard time figuring out which one you like best. PvP competitive matchmaking could use improvements. I'm at the point where I've basically stopped playing the game because PvP just isn't that fun anymore. I have a .500 record and it's obvious I win a game, then lose a game. 

Design: 9
Animation: 10
Story: 9
Sound: 9


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