Like a costumed vigilante showing off a new uniform and powers, "Injustice 2" passes the "wow" test within the first few minutes. This is the superhero fighting game DC fans have long dreamed of, with heroes and villains squaring off with a full, dizzying set of background-shattering, enemy-splattering powers.
And just like every interesting comic book hero, there are flaws beneath the surface that keep the game from superhuman levels.
Just about everything has improved from the original game. Not only are the visuals sharper and more authentic, the standard moves are more fluid and the specials are easier to execute and more spectacular. It's a thrill, for instance, to use the Flash to pummel Superman through various dimensions.
Online lobbies are streamlined and efficient, pairing you with fighters of similar skill in order to make your experience more accessible and challenging than punishing.
The story mode also takes the mythos to new heights. While the previous version was little more than a flashy tutorial, the new story is a robust and worthy effort that is far more than a throwaway side mode. Ignore the campaign to dive into multiplayer without looking back and you're missing out on a thrilling, twist-filled journey.
The character selection is robust, with new additions such as Supergirl, Firestorm and Scarecrow, but those familiar with "Injustice: Gods Among Us" will miss the fighters who don't show up in the sequel, such as Doomsday, Lex Luthor, Lobo and Martian Manhunter. Even more disappointing is the way devs held back characters for premium editions of the game. If you want the likes of Reverse Flash, Power Girl or the John Stewart edition of Green Lantern, you are going to have to fork over more money upfront or wait for the inevitable rerelease.
Fighting game sequels should leave you no reason to return to the predecessor, and the lack of defining characters from the original makes the follow-up fail at that task. That said, this is a robust overall effort that will please fans of fighters and the DC mythos alike.
Geared as much for easy couch co-op while balanced enough for the e-sports circuit, "Injustice 2" is a game that has started off well and will likely only improve as players shake out its kinks and developers pump out updates, refinements and additional characters. Even if this year's slate of DC movies disappoint fans of the franchise, they'll be able to retreat to the game to take solace.
The publisher provided a digital copy of the game for review.