The release of Injustice 2 is finally among us and NetherRealm Studios has delivered yet another deep and engaging fighter, piling on more modes and characters than its predecessor. Sticking with the darker edge in an alternate DC universe, where even the most light-hearted super heroes aren’t afraid of turning the tide in favor of doom and gloom, Injustice 2 takes you on an epic story giving you almost 30 characters to fight your way through. On top of the devious story mode there’s the multiverse, plenty of rare equipment and other online/multiplayer modes to keep the game from stalling out well past its release.

The game itself looks stunning. Impressive animations and CGI run smoothly leaving Injustice 2 in the top of its class as one of the sharpest looking games to date. The story mode is filled with gritty cut scenes and high-impact versus matches switching between the immense roster of characters, each chapter pertaining to a different hero (or villain). Delving deeper and deeper into the chaotic realm of the DC universe, it’s increasingly satisfying catching new characters share a little spotlight, as well as some lesser known comic book personalities showing off their abilities. Of course, the more prominent names share a demanding role creating the grander stage for the irreplaceable super heroes that we all know and love.

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Stringing together brutal combos, leading into one of the characters’ many super moves, leaves an all-too-real gratification, engrossing you in every match. Each character comes with an assortment of special moves, from Batman’s grappling hook attack to the Green Lantern’s power ring. With a long list of varying combo and basic attacks, each superhero/villain also has a unique Character Power. With the push of a button each player performs a new move or enhances other skills giving more depth to the fighting ring. Environmental hazards and weapons play a huge part in turning the tables during the heat of battle as well. Whether you’re flinging a table across the screen or bouncing your enemy off a movie theater marquee, the 3D setting leaves a broad sense of perception in the 2D fighting plain.

The Super Meter acts like most other meters in previous fighting games. Filling with every hit landed or taken, once completely full you’re able to land a seriously outrageous attack known as a Supermove, not only dealing a massive amount of damage but showing off over-the-top superhuman strength. Using only a portion of the meter at a time combined with a special move causes a Meter Burn attack, which increases the damage done, adds extra hits or grants the ability to follow-up with combos. Graciously using up your super meter for stronger attacks or risking it all at once for a crucial strike is all part of the strategy during the intense brawls.

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Offense isn’t the only purpose for use of the super meter. Drawing power from the meter, you can escape potential long running combos or attacks by starting what’s known as a Clash. Working in the sense of a wager, the characters go elbow-to-elbow, one player bets a portion of their super meter against the other’s bet. Whoever wins based on the difference of the wagers will either gain health if playing as defender, or the enemy will lose health, if you’re on the offensive. Following strict guidelines for when they can be used, one player may only perform one clash attack per match, leaving this method as a game changer if properly achieved.

Aside from killer graphics with addictive gameplay and a stunning story, there’s other engagements keeping you occupied in the game. Multiverse serves as a challenge map, giving you constant online updates with all new ways of fighting in the game, including modifiers that manipulate the match. Sometimes in your favor, other times not, the mods that are applied range from giving out health boosts to cryo rockets being steadily dropped upon you. The true multiverse opens up after completing three tutorial challenges, giving you a healthy dose of fighting but only a fraction of what you’ll be up against later on.

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Equipping different pieces of gear, receiving new stat buffs and other various perks like bonus experience or additional damage from certain moves, is a perfect incentive to grind out battles in multiverse. From head pieces and helmets, arms, greaves, belts or chest pieces, there’s loads of equipment, including rare epic pieces that significantly boost your player’s stats. Not only do they enhance fighting capabilities but also add a little style to the game, giving you the option to change the traditional appearances of the characters. Though not available right away, equipment pieces are all level-locked for each character, all with tons of pieces, so sticking with one specific hero is vital for leveling up.

Various online modes are found as well as offline multiplayer, with classics like versus ranked/unranked matches, tournaments and the all new AI Battle Simulator. Acting almost like horse racing or some form of spectator fantasy league, you build your team of three, challenge a player’s team online and watch the battles ensue. Building your heroes up with appropriate gear helps tip the scales in your favor, all while trying to earn more precious rare equipment. Other rewards you may earn are known as Mother Boxes, which contain loot based upon the ranking of the box: bronze, silver, gold, platinum and diamond. These are easily obtained and are great ways to build your gear library, keeping the customized equipment plentiful as the game progresses.

Injustice 2 goes well beyond its purpose as a ‘AAA’ fighter, during what seems to be, a drought in the fighting genre. With fluid combos and universal comfort with almost every character, there’s still a strong sense of individuality, leaving a desire to try out a large amount of the available cast based upon how you approach the game. With one climactic moment after another, Injustice 2 hits you where you feel it, throws plenty of options into the mix and commits to being a demanding fighter with breakthrough equipment options and gameplay, while leaving you breathless and exhilarated along the way.

Review copy provided by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment UK

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