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Injustice 2 is both the sequel we need and the sequel we deserve

Posted by warreni, in game review 07 December 2017 · 7677 views

DC Comics multiverses fighting lootboxes in-game currencies

I won't bury the lead here: Injustice 2 is a lot of fun and it's the game you were expecting NetherRealm to make after the success of Injustice: Gods Among Us. At least, mostly it is. The game probably looks good (I wouldn't know because my rig won't run it at anywhere near its full potential, so my resolution is gimped at around 1280x720 and character models are of uneven quality--for some reason, Starfire looks particularly crappy). The voice-acting is terrific. The single-player campaign, is, as always, a fun but brief journey. Also, as you would expect from recent Netherrealm ports, there are a plethora of alternate game modes, enough to keep even a casual player busy for at least tens if not hundreds of hours.


Single-player modes include the traditional tutorials and practice modes, as well as single 1vAI fights and the new multiverse mode. The explanation behind the multiverse mode directly conflicts with the in-game story about the origin and design of Batman's Brother Eye surveillance system (think of Batman's spying technology in The Dark Knight), as it is now apparently capable of surveilling an infinite multiverse, a feat of invention that seems beyond the scope of even the genius of Batman. Be that as it may, multiverse mode generates a random series of challenges in different universes pertaining to different characters and providing different rewards, ranging from epic gear for specific characters to motherboxes to credits (more on all of this later). There is also a Battle Simulator mode, which functions similarly to the Battle mode in the original game, providing a postscript to one of the game's two endings or an alternate ending, depending on which character you choose to use to defeat Brainiac.


There are several offline multiplayer modes as well. In addition to conventional 1v1 local multiplayer and tournament modes, there is a confusingly-named AI Battle Simulator, which is analogous to the Arena mode in the Injustice 2 mobile game. The idea is that you select a team of up to three of your unlocked characters and pit them against a team of up to three opponents chosen by other players from their rosters. The teams battle it out automatically and you gain rewards based on whether you win or lose. While you are offline, other players can challenge your team. This mode is interesting but seems weirdly unbalanced, as there doesn't appear to be anything stopping you from challenging someone's team of level 3 characters with your team of level 20 characters, other than your own inherent sense of fairness. Levels don't always tell the full story in these situations, as the type and level of gear each character has equipped can tilt the matches in a player's favor as well. This is one of those modes that will probably become worthless as the server population drops, so by the time the game gets really cheap, it may be completely pointless.


There are a few online modes too. King of the Hill and and 1v1 matches are available, but matchmaking isn't too great; my first experience with the community also did not speak well of it. The game kept trying to match me with a person whose username was "rapebait" and had a hero card picture of a blonde white female. I refused to play against such an obvious dirtbag or mental defective. I did play a few KotH matches with other randoms, and that went well enough. However, the server populations don't appear to be robust when the game is new, so I think that bodes ill for when the game gets WB-cheap.


NetherRealm attempted to spike the longevity of the game by introducing an in-game economy in the form of several currencies (regen tokens, credits, and source crystals) as well as motherboxes. Motherboxes exist in several tiers: bronze, silver, gold, platinum, and diamond. The former three are available to purchase for credits, which you receive for completing battles; the latter two are only available as rewards for completing multiverse events. Motherboxes contain pieces of gear, character shaders, or powers. Shaders are pretty much what they sound like, literally slightly different color schemes for specific characters (except for the odd "premium" shaders which are only available through buying the Ultimate Edition/Pack or spending source crystals [at a rather steep cost of 6,000 per skin]). Powers are modifiers to a character's abilities; characters typically acquire a power at level 10 and level 20. Regen tokens are received as rewards for completing multiverse events and are used to spec up individual pieces of epic gear to match a character's current level. Gear pieces come in common, rare, or epic varieties, and epic gear sometimes comes in sets. I could probably write an entire post on the in-game economy of Injustice 2, because it's fairly nuanced but the bottom line is twofold: 1) it has the intended effect of driving the player who may be already partial to this mindset [like me, apparently] to continue playing the game to collect better and better gear for certain characters; and 2) while it is much less odious than the microtransaction schemes in recent games like Battlefront II, it is still a way for NetherRealm/WB to monetize the game beyond the typical DLC schemes. From what I've seen, the only things that you can purchase with source crystals, which are sold in packs for real-world money, are shaders, common and premium varieties, and these do not enhance a character's abilities in any way.


I've finished the campaign and have been tinkering around with the multiverse mode for a while. I'm pretty happy with the game, but, unless you're really keen on participating in the online modes, you could definitely wait until all of the DLCs have been released and the game has gotten cheaper. I realize this doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement for the game, but this is CAG; personally I have no regrets about semi-fakeying the game (~25% off MSRP) because I've enjoyed it quite a bit.

August 2020

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