After the breakaway success of Injustice: Gods Among Us way back in April of 2013, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that NetherRealm Studios and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment would revisit this popular franchise at a later time. Fast-forward to 2017 and we are now only a little over 2 months away from the official worldwide launch of Injustice 2.
During GDC 2017, I had the opportunity to sit down with a few NetherRealm Studios representatives and instantly gained more insight on the upcoming sequel. My session consisted of an overview presentation on the new character customization system and a complete playthrough of the first chapter within the story mode. Here are more in-depth details on what you can expect from the hotly anticipated next installment of this action-packed series.
Injustice 2 takes place after the events of the first game and revolves around Batman trying to restore peace and order to society while also dealing with a vengeful Superman aiming to rule over all mankind. New and returning heroes and heroines align themselves with either side leading to intense showdowns on par with those seen in Marvel’s iconic Civil War storyline. Matters get even more complicated when Brainiac and a new group of adversaries called The Society show up to eliminate every hero in their path and successfully take over the world. NetherRealm describes the narrative as an alternate take on the previous game where the conflict between Batman and Superman remains intact but is further compounded by the inclusion of a much more high profile threat in Brainiac.
For the most part, Injustice 2 looks and feels like the last game with the one major exception of a new customization feature called the Gear system. Simply put, this is an unlimited system of reward drops that players receive after every match. These functional pieces include upgradeable attire, shaders, and additional abilities. Gear is segmented into five specific areas consisting of helm, chest, arm, leg and accessory items. Shaders are an endless amount of color variations that can change the cosmetic look of each and every character. Abilities allow players to not only improve their strength, defense, and health statistics but also replace an existing finishing move with a brand new or slightly modified one. As a whole, all of these options add a bit of personalization to the overall experience and assures that every fighter won’t function the exact same way.
There are two very important notes that are worth mentioning in regards to this new gear system. First and foremost, gear is only earnable after matches and can’t be purchased ahead of time. NetherRealm emphasized that they didn’t want to make the overall experience a pay-to-win type of scenario and thus this decision guarantees that everyone will always be on a level playing field. Secondly, while reward drops will happen regularly throughout the single-player campaign, gear can’t be used at any point during this playthrough. The cinematic stylized approach to storytelling means that characters will appear as they are now with no noticeable gear enhancements. Furthermore, the gear system is essentially an added layer to the multiplayer experience that’s designed to keep fans playing long after they’ve completed the story mode.
After witnessing the Dr. Fate character reveal trailer, I finally spent some hands-on time with the first chapter of Injustice 2. The campaign starts with Clark Kent standing trial for all of the crimes that Superman committed and shifts in time to show the events leading up to this moment. Players then take on the role of Batman over the course of four separate matchups with characters the likes of Cyborg, Wonder Woman and The Man of Steel. The fourth and final character that you confront is nothing short of surprising and really hits home the fact that sides are broken and not every ally can be trusted. The overall narrative structure and presentation are what you would expect from a NetherRealm game. The title looks fantastic and runs smoothly on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Lastly, both the gameplay and controls remain virtually the same, making them easily accessible for both new and longtime fans of the series.
Warner Bros. has been working closely with NetherRealm to create the largest DC roster to ever appear in a fighting game. While we don’t yet know how many fighters will be in the final build of the game, we do know that there will be many more surprise reveals over the course of the next several weeks. Some of these new additions will include characters that were more popular in the comics and are finally getting their time to shine in a mainstream game release. One confirmation that we can make is that there most likely won’t be any appearances by Mortal Kombat fighters moving forward, leaving the creators to explore the DC Universe even further for creative inspiration.
One final aspect about Injustice 2 that remains a mystery is whether or not the game will be region locked on PlayStation 4. Most of you already know that I complained about this being one of my main issues with Mortal Kombat X. This is obviously not something that every single person will care about but I did feel that it was necessary to mention for those that do.
In closing, Injustice 2 is already shaping up to be another smash hit for NetherRealm Studios. New fighters, an entertaining story mode, and a deep customizable gear system are more than enough to elevate the franchise to new heights. If you loved the first game, then you definitely won’t be disappointed with the sequel.
Injustice 2 launches worldwide on May 16th for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Are any of you planning on picking up this title? Please feel free to let us know in the comments section below.