Have you ever been in a love hate relationship? That spiralling mixture of passionate highs only to be followed by suffering lows. Injustice2 boogaloo is that to me.
So just to make this clear; I fricking loved Injustice1 (complete videogame edition). I only picked up the game months after it was a free PSN title but as soon as I had it in my hands I blasted through the story, a few side stupid missions and largely ignored the online. I loved it so much so I even re-bought it for the WiiU and Pc just as an excuse to replay the story. All that practice means I’ve a pretty good grasp of the MK/NetherRealm fighting engine, Which is good as mechanically Injustice hasn’t really changed at all.
Maybe my expectations were too high but story mode for Injustice2 just didn’t deliver. It has a great start and the side character arcs are the shining points but it felt mediocre and without focus, this isn’t helped by a multiple choice ending system (good ending batman or bad ending superman) that waters down an already anticlimactic finale.
The meat of the game is it’s fighting engine and this game delivers with gusto. The levelling system is clever and I found myself plugging in that one extra fight to reach level 20 with battles actively scaled in every mode. The game even looks fantastic with some of the best face animations in any 3D game to date, the music, sound effects and voice acting is pure comic book brilliance even when it all starts to grate after a while, you’ll still find a neet little bit of banter. But and this is a huge But, a But with jiggle physics and twerking skills, a But that just refuses to let you enjoy the game, But the Gear System ruins everything.
For every fight you can at random unlock ‘Gear’; this can be anything from Swampthings legs to Doctor Fate’s Helmet. You can also unlock credits (yes microtransactions are bloody in this) to buy motherbox loot crates which have multiples. This could have been a simple addition without too many problems but my issue with it is alternate colours, abilities and alternate costumes are buried in the random boxes. Want your Batman to look like the box art? Time to grind for a helmet, chest, arms, legs, colour and abilities for it! It also means that say you want a quick local 1vs1 and one of you wants to play as reverse flash? They have to ‘Equip’ The Flash with an alternative skin, tinker a bit and then your good to go. No simple “alternate costume” option at all. Just more GEAR.
It’s even infested and heavily integral to the interesting single player feature of the Multiverse where each day timed quests (some update hourly) have to be completed for loot/cash/tokens/gear. Each mission has random modifiers that can effect how easy/difficult the level is, even a super hard character can drop in to challenge at random. Sounds cool right? It is super fun until you get to fight 6 of 15, come against a totally unbalanced fight of boss rage proportion and the fun experience dissolves into an unfair “your gear isn’t good enough go get more gear” scenario.
There’s a good reason this hasn’t been picked up as strongly as other multiplayer games online as well. The balancing issues isn’t simply at the gear level (although you quickly find people with lvl 20 gear will never select the option to turn off the modifier) it’s at a character level. If your playing as swamp thing your going to have a huge uphill struggle against characters like deadshot and captain cold. This isn’t a simple Sagat vs Vangief comparison when you see numerous videos on YouTube showing similar scenarios.
It is an injustice this game is so riddled with stats and what feels like a true sequel with unique quirky features has been bogged down by terrible design decisions and greed. You get the feeling Netherealm made a cracking game and handed it to Warner Bros to ruin. I to was hoping for more from WB and like Batman should have really known better.
Unbalanced and unfair.