When Injustice: Gods Among Us first flew onto the scene back in 2013, DC fans were finally able to settle the age-old debate over who would win in a fight between Batman and Superman - namely by duking it out for themselves as the Dark Knight or Man of Steel respectively. Four years later, and Injustice 2 releases into a world that has since witnessed the two comic book titans face off on the big screen. Despite that, NetherRealm’s fighting sequel feels fresh, contemporary and one of the finest applications of the DC license to date.
Being the king of fighting games, NetherRealm could have easily played it safe with Injustice 2, but the studio has instead used the sequel as an opportunity to formulate new ideas for enriching and enlivening the genre itself. Some of these revisions arrive with caveats, such as the microtransaction-friendly rewards system, but such grievances can only chink the armour of an otherwise stellar experience.
In a genre-defining first, players are able to tweak and customise heroes via a bounty of unlockable gear, acquired through fighting online, accomplishing arcade-like challenges in the new Multiverse mode, or progressing in the excellent campaign (a continuation of the original game’s alternate universe story featuring a broken, stony-hearted Superman).
The gear system brings a welcome layer of depth to character mastery and competitive interplay, while also allowing NetherRealm to further embellish its presentation of DC lore by decking out the 28 playable heroes with new costumes, weapons and other accoutrements. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to worry about how these changes might affect gameplay balance, but the fighting mechanics are so fine-tuned and battle-tested that the new components manage to work as successful evolutions of the form.
Injustice 2 is also a very good looking game, flaunting a high production value that can be felt across every seam of its design. Facial animations are some of the best seen in this console generation so far, while the franchise’s trademark “Super Moves” are delicious displays of the theatrics of superhero skirmishes.
Rich, robust, and drop dead gorgeous, Injustice 2 is a sublime follow-up to the already impressive foundations set by its predecessor. Fighting game fans will no doubt already be checking their diaries for tournament dates, but the peerless quality of Injustice 2 makes it a worthy investment for anyone who likes their interactive entertainment delivered with punch.