‘Injustice 2’: NetherRealm Does It Again —Now with Less Batman

When I first heard that NetherRealm was taking on DC comics for Injustice: Gods Among Us, I had my reservations. After the travesty that was Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, one can understand the hesitation, but somehow the development team pulled it off, finally giving DC a suitable game not focused strictly on Batman.

But I’m still here … and awesome!

Injustice 2 is a suitable follow-up, doing everything you’d expect from a sequel by giving us:

A larger fighter roster…

Impressively enhanced graphics…

And new features to increase the game’s longevity…

Front and center is the one-on-one fighting, which shows that NetherRealm is still quite pleased with the core gameplay introduced in Mortal Kombat (2000), and pleased it should be. The hand-to-hand/super power–to–super power combat is precisely what’s expected from a metahuman fighting game— fast, fierce, and, at times, frustrating.

This is going well…

The level design calls back to some of the best stages of Gods Among Us, including Atlantis, and introduces a few new locales. Of course, each is as interactive as ever.

All 29 out-of-the-box characters feel surprisingly unique, especially when it comes to their cinematic “Super Moves” and unique character powers.

We’ve got a T. rex. Your argument is invalid.

Where Injustice 2 truly improves upon its predecessor is not just in the stunning graphical upgrades that really make the on-screen action pop, but with the game’s extra offerings.

NetherRealm carried over the concept of Mortal Kombat X’s “Living Tower,” replacing it with an infinite number of worlds, each offering their own challenges and rewards. Just like “Living Tower,” “Multiverse” (along with the online multiplayer) will ensure players are still playing long after the story has been completed.

Speaking of story, it may be the game’s weakest point. We see how the dystopian world has changed since the death of The Joker and fall of Superman, but it’s overshadowed by a hammy plot following a telepathic, talking gorilla named Grodd who forms a society (literally named The Society) of baddies at the behest of a much greater threat. Of course, it’s up to the all-seeing Batman and friends to stop him.

Pretty standard comic book stuff.

“The Society”? Really, that’s what we’re going with?

Now, back to what matters…

Not wanting to just match Mortal Kombat X, NetherRealm took things a step further and introduced a surprisingly deep character customization. Obtained through Multiverse events, the game’s story mode, and purchase via in-game credits, players unlock unique gear to outfit their characters with. Each piece of gear — like Batman’s utility belt or the Flash’s golden wings — come with its own STATS and perks that alter the hero or villain’s Strength, Ability, Defense, and Health attributes while potentially providing power augments.

Will this Augmented Gold and Silver Faceplate make me look fat?

Possibly the best addition to Injustice 2, this customization gives more weight and diversity to the online and offline multiplayer, allowing players to fight with their version of Robin against one that may be entirely different.

Aww, the little guy’s so excited to be included!

Where sequels are known to take missteps, Injustice 2 is sure to follow, but it carries over much of the exaggerated charm of its predecessor — and having the largest roster ever for a NetherRealm game doesn’t hurt. Despite a messy plot that’s a bit grander in scale than Gods Among Us, the meat of Injustice 2 all boils down to what happens within the arena, and that’s about as solid as we could ask for.

Off to start ‘Injustice 3’!

Mark LoProto is a horror-loving gaming enthusiast who also has a soft spot for Ghostbusters, bubble wrap, and kittens. Look for his work here, here, and here.