Injustice 2 has a deep story that could have been ripped out of a comic book, a rich roster of unique characters and plenty to do. NetherRealm Studios seemingly reinvents the genre with every release and Injustice 2 is just another example of what fighting games should strive to be.

It’s been a long time since Injustice: Gods Among Us gave players a superhero beat ‘em up with an awesome story and unique characters. The first Injustice brought the DC heroes and villains into a new world, with an original story that allowed these classic characters to get their hands dirty in a way that hasn’t been seen before.

So when NetherRealm Studios announced the sequel, Injustice 2, a lot of people were ecstatic, myself included. Injustice 2 promised a bigger story, a larger cast and even more features, including the introduction of a Gear System that takes character customization and strategy to a whole new level.

After playing Injustice 2 at E3 2016, my expectations for this game were leaping tall buildings in single bound. But now that the game is out, there’s no way Injustice 2 could have met those lofty expectations, right? Well, I’m happy to say that Injustice 2 DOES meet every expectation I had, in terms of story, gameplay and improvements upon the original. I may go as far as saying it’s one of the best fighting games I’ve ever played.

STORY

The story of Injustice 2 brings players back to an alternate DC Comics Universe, where Superman became an evil tyrant and Batman and a motley crew of heroes and villains had to take him down. Some time has passed and the world has almost recovered from Superman’s Regime. But it’s not long until a new threat comes to Earth in the form of Brainiac.

There’s been plenty of trailers and looks at the story of Injustice 2 so I won’t go too deep into it, especially with possible spoilers, but the pacing and dialogue of the story is top-notch. The Injustice versions of these DC heroes and villains are different but the core characteristics like motivations are the same so it was like watching a story straight out of a comic book.

Supergirl-Injustice-2-story Supergirl plays a pivotal role in the story of 'Injustice 2' NetherRealm

The only gripe I have is how certain characters feel shoehorned into the story. I won’t say which, characters but there are a couple who appear once and that’s it. Would have been great to see how they fit into the larger picture.

Despite these minor flaws, the story of Injustice 2 builds upon the first and fleshes out this universe to the point that I want to see what Injustice 3 ’s story will look like, if NetherRealm decides to continue with the franchise. There are a lot of stories that can be told.

While the gameplay during the Injustice 2 story mode can get repetitive, like the previous game and the Mortal Kombat series you are forced to play with certain characters, which helps to break up the monotony a bit.

The story also allows players to choose which character they use in certain chapters, leading to different cutscenes and dialogues. If you want to see them all, you’ll have to play the story mode over again, adding to the post-game hours you’ll spend.

It took me about five hours to complete the entire story mode on medium difficulty, but if you want to replay the story with different characters, you’ll be given an alternate ending. So unlocking every part of the Injustice 2 story can easily take 10 hours, which isn’t bad for a fighting game.

BATTLE/GAMEPLAY

The actual fighting is crucial to the success of any fighting game, and Injustice 2 ’s battle system is the deepest I’ve ever experienced.

Not only does the Gear System add more strategy to fighting (more on that feature a bit later) but each character feels so unique that you’ll want to try out each and every one of them.

NetherRealm Studios does a great job implementing its battle system into every one of its games, so if you’ve played one before, many of the controls are the same. If you are familiar with the first Injustice’s level transitions, clashes and meter burns, then you’ll feel right at home in this game.

Superman-Batman-Injustice-2 The fighting in 'Injustice 2' is top notch. NetherRealm

The new characters in Injustice 2 are welcome additions to the universe, bringing unique play styles that haven’t been seen before. Even characters who look like they should have similar play styles (like Catwoman and Cheetah) don’t. NetherRealm also modified legacy characters to have new tricks and combos, so returning players can learn something new with their favorite Injustice fighters.

As for Game Modes, outside of the story you can fight in local or online multiplayer, as well as in single-player matches against a CPU. There aren’t any traditional Tower modes, but a new mode called The Multiverse where you can defeat a wave of enemies offers a similar experience.

What makes The Multiverse different is that some fights will have special “modifiers.” For example, you can be facing an enemy and random hearts appear on the stage; if either one of you touches them, you’ll gain some health recovery. Your opponents along the way can also be augmented with boosted stats or in some other way. These tweaks make climbing these towers a little less grindy and more interesting.

Players can also create or join a Guild with other Injustice 2 players. Similar to Mortal Kombat X , players can fight in The Multiverse to raise their Guild’s prestige and rank while also getting enough Guild Points to unlock more Mother Boxes. It’s a great way to play with friends and gain Mother Boxes to receive the specific Gear you’re looking for.

GEAR SYSTEM

The standout new feature in Injustice 2 is the Gear System. This system allows players to obtain specific pieces of armor or gear to change the way their character looks, increase stats, augment abilities or even change certain Hero Powers.

Gear adds a whole new layer of strategy in fighting as it can completely change the way a particular fighter plays. If a character is more of a “rush” character, certain gear can make them more of a tank and take hits.

Characters who don’t have projectiles can equip gear giving them one. There’s so many different combinations, players will be arguing over the “perfect” setup of gear and character for months.

batman injustice 2 gear Batman gets some killer gear in 'Injustice 2' NetherRealm

Gear in Injustice 2 can be earned through online battles, playing in the Multiverse and Story Mode, and opening up Mother Boxes. Mother Boxes can be earned through The Multiverse and completing tasks for your Guild. You can also gain enough points through battles to purchase them on your own. Obtaining Gear adds hours of gameplay, as you can grind up points to get the look or augments you want for your favorite characters.

VERDICT

Overall, Injustice 2 is one of the best fighting game in terms of content and actual fighting that I’ve every played.

Its exciting and deep story feels like reading a comic book, while the multiple game modes will keep players entertained for hours at a time. The fighting keeps to the high standards fans expect from NetherRealm Studios and the rich roster of characters will make players want to try out every single one of them. The Gear System deepens battle strategy while giving players an incentive to keep playing to get the look and augments they desire to become the best Injustice 2 fighters.

NetherRealm Studios continues to raise the bar for fighting games and Injustice 2 is another benchmark that the studio will have a hard time topping. But I’ve said that before about NetherRealm offerings, so I’m sure they’ll prove me wrong again.