Greetings, fans of both DC comics and fighting games. You may be wondering where our Injustice 2 review is. We’re playing through it now in order to bring you our thoughts. Keep an eye on this space over the next few days for a review diary, where I’ll be giving initial impressions on the game’s many features and fighters, culminating in a final verdict and score.
For now, here’s day 1:
I don’t know about you, but the first thing I do when I get a new fighting game is fire up story mode. Most of the time it’s a slog or just plain bad, but when it’s a game by NetherRealm Studios, I genuinely look forward to it. NetherRealm is great at telling stories – I particularly enjoyed the slew of new characters created for Mortal Kombat X. But I digress; this is about DC heroes and villains slugging it out in order to save the planet.
It’s not a particularly original plot. Really, it’s more or less the same thing that happens every time Superman baddie Brainiac shows up: the mastermind begins assimilating and collecting cities, turning both structures and inhabitants into digital versions of themselves. Some villains join their new overlord, some heroes resist.
The only person who stands a chance of defeating the villain is Superman, but he’s a bad guy now. Well, maybe not bad guy – but he’s definitely not the perfect angel he once was. Even so, it’s not long before he’s freed and everyone teams up for the greater good. Yadda yadda yadda and one McGuffin later, the heroes stop Brainiac’s invasion. I swear, if I’ve heard one Brainiac story, I’ve heard ’em all.
There are no “holy crap did that just happen” moments like there were in the first Injustice (you know, like that time Superman freaking killed a child). Still, what the plot lacks in innovation, it makes up for in writing and performances. Everyone is on their A-game here – Injustice 2 even made me give a crap about Captain Cold. Captain. Cold. When characters talk about feeling betrayed or helpless, it really comes across. And the facial animation is downright freakishly uncanny, especially when it comes to Harley Quinn (maybe it helps that her face is covered in makeup?).
Here’s a scene from the prologue. Check out every little wrinkle that appears and disappears. Notice how the neck skin stretches tight with pained expressions. It’s mesmerizing.
There are also small moments during the campaign where you’ll choose between a pair of fighters. Will you fight Bane as Black Canary or Green Arrow? Blue Beetle or Firestorm? The choices don’t really seem to matter much, since the story plays out the same regardless of who you choose. But! There is an alternate ending to be earned from going back and picking the other character, so that’s tantalizing. I can’t tell if that makes me happy that I got to skip out on using characters I didn’t really want to use the first time around or annoyed that now I have to go back and use those lame ducks if I want to see the whole story.
Regardless, even with these multiple choice moments and 12 chapters to plow through, the story mode hasn’t given me a chance to try out all the fighters yet, so next stop for me are some single fights and online bouts. I’m looking forward to it.