After more than four years, the wait for a brand new Injustice title is finally over. Injustice 2 has easily been one of the most highly anticipated titles of the year and it definitely takes the prize for the most exciting new fighting game release in quite some time. But, as 2017 has already reminded us yet again, with a lot of hype comes a lot of responsibility. NetherRealm succeeded at wowing its audience back in 2013 with the original title and the game’s popularity quickly carried it over to the eSports circuit. Injustice: Gods Among Us was an incredibly entertaining fighting game experience that received a lot of praise from critics upon release. It turns out that Injustice 2 will likely see the same fate.
The DC brawler is back at it again, holding on to all the features the franchise is known for while also introducing new elements that will alter the way you approach every battle. Injustice 2 truly is, as every sequel should be, a well-rounded improvement over its predecessor. Where the sequel excels the most is in its offerings of more content and more options. There are simply more decisions to be made this time around. Whether it’s trying to select your main heroes from Injustice 2’s incredible roster, deciding if you want to join a guild or create your own, customizing your character with stat boosting gear or simply coming up with the best strategy to tackle difficult objectives in the Multiverse mode, this time around decision making is more crucial than ever.
Don’t let the genre title fool you. Fighting game players are aware that these games aren’t about mashing buttons or trying to rely on sheer strength. Fighting games are thinking games, so finding new ways to convince players to experiment with new strategies and tactics is already enough to have Injustice 2 stand as the better of the two games.
Fortunately, however, NetherRealm didn’t stop the game’s improvements there. All of the new evasion options that are now available in the game make battles far more interesting. In some cases, 2D fighters can start to feel a little monotonous but NetherRealm has the Injustice series picking up the pace and keeping players on their toes. In addition to blocking, jumping over opponents and properly utilizing Clashes, a strong defense must now also come with some well-timed evasive rolls and air recoveries. Both of these moves will cost you some of your meter but they can also be game changers if utilized correctly. The addition of these two new tools make battles feel a little more unpredictable and forces your strategy to evolve along with the new mechanics. To be fair, most players will easily clear story mode without really needing either of these tools but they are vital parts of online play where the trick is to outsmart an opponent rather than simply get the leg up on AI.
Both of these new mechanics also shine a special spotlight on another reason why Injustice 2 reigns supreme over the original title. The emphasis on meter economy in this game is greater than ever. Using your meter strategically was a key element in the previous Injustice game as well but Injustice 2 simply has so many different ways to spend your bars. You will want to have bars available for clashes, special moves, push blocks, evasive rolls, air recoveries and, of course, to perform your super. Getting careless with your meter economy at any point in the game is enough to cost you the entire match and those high stakes make every new fight all the more exciting.
Along with new mechanics and tools to utilize, Injustice 2 simply offers a level of content that the previous title never did. Most of the familiar faces are back from the original game but are being joined by new additions like Poison Ivy, Doctor Fate, Gorilla Grodd, Scarecrow, Supergirl and so many more. If you’re up for buying the game’s first DLC then you can also add Starfire, Red Hood and Sub-Zero to your roster as well. Once you take into account the amount of heroes available in the game along with the vast combinations of gear available for each character, you realize that Injustice 2 has created an ecosystem where every matchup has the potential to feel truly unlike any other before.
So, yes, Injustice 2 feels familiar. It doesn’t feel like a substantial deviation from the original title but it doesn’t feel like a safe play that was made from an unwillingness to change. Injustice 2 is built on the premise that if it ain’t broke… just give gamers new characters and a few new bells and whistles. With a great balance of the old and the new, Injustice 2 manages to do what everyone hoped it would—emerge as a successful sequel to Injustice: Gods Among Us that improves on the original title in every meaningful way.