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Injustice 2 Review: Undoubtedly the pinnacle of fighting games

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The original Injustice: Gods Among Us was a fantastic fighting game that merged all our favourite DC heroes and baddies into one extreme package. The game featured a fast-paced combat system, with some stunning environments and combat arenas. Injustice 2 has improved on every aspect of the original to a degree that the game almost feels like something completely different at times. Combat is slower, easier to handle and adapt to, and the visuals, oh the visuals. Playing the game on PS4 Pro on a 4K TV with HDR support, served up a visual feast that finally felt like a payoff for PS4 Pro. I have not seen something so gorgeous since Ratchet and Clank. Given that most of the game is dark and uneasy, the visual aspect is a massive payoff for the series. Let us not forget the facial animations that borderline photorealistic. Injustice 2's production costs are the game's biggest payoff.

Injustice 2 has an unbelievable amount of content included in the game, and it all ties together perfectly. From the epic story mode that continues the saga from the past game to the expansive Multiverse that acts as a major key factor in the post-game content. Sure the story gets a bit "DC-fied" after a while, and makes no sense, it is still packed with some spectacular set pieces, facial animations and spot-on voice acting. Injustice 2 delivers the same quality of action that you would expect in any triple-A movie blockbuster. The story mode completely engrossed me from start to finish, and I have, to be honest with you, I kind fell in love with most of the characters as they all are pretty beautiful CG specimens to look at. 

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The story mode is the best place to start in the game, as each chapter focuses around one or two fighters, so you are thrown into the deep end and forced to learn every fighter's move set. Some chapters let you select between two of the fighters in the scene like Wonder Woman or Supergirl, but given that each chapter has four or so fights, you can spread your time across both of them and give them both a whirl. It is also a nice way to get a head start with the detailed levelling system in the game, as XP earned in the story mode is carried over to your overall profile. What this means is that after the story mode, each fighter was on level three of four, depending on how may times you used them, and how many losses you had.

Harder, better, faster, stronger

Combat in Injustice 2 has taken a faster path compared to the first game, and after I played the first one to polish up my skills a bit, it was a big difference between the two games. Injustice 2 feels much faster, but this is not an issue as combat is still fluid, and relies on you pressing the right buttons at the right time to counter attacks and grabs. Combat in general plays much better thanks to the ability to use up a meter to dodge attacks, dash and roll, and basically get out of any spam situation. Blocking and dodging super moves is much easier if you know your opponent's fighter, and what the area of attack is when executed. Super moves still deal a large chunk of damage and look better than ever. The sheer amount of attention to detail put into every fighter and their attacks and skills make my head hurt. Just to think how much work went into polishing up every move and ability is unfathomable. 

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Bouncing opponents of walls and the floor seems easier this time around too, and it makes combos easier to pull off. There was nothing better than knocking Batman into the wall and then juggling him in the air and then doing it again and again. This after he beat me a couple of times. Sure there are often ways to get around AI's defences, but most of the time you will find yourself experimenting with your favourite fighter's moves, over spamming them on a constant basis. Special moves can also be enhanced with the cost of a meter, very similar to Mortal Kombat X. These moves then have an extra punch or attack in them that deal a pinch more damage at a cost. 

When looking at the roster, there are some fighters I love, and others I cannot stand. Some of my favourite ones from the original game did not make it into the sequel like Doomsday, Raven, and dear old Solomon Grundy, but somehow the Blue Beetle made it in. See what I am saying? There are just some questionable additions to the roster if which I could not understand. The Joker, on the other hand, is in the game, but for all things DC, the version in Injustice 2 could be my most disliked version of all time. Just no, I have no idea what they were thinking. 

Post game content for the Gods

When the story was done, the post game content was plenty. Injustice 2 has a new Multiverse mode that changes events at a time. The mode sees you explore a selection of planets for challenges that await you. Specific ones have set level requirements that you will need to meet first, but once you have reached them you will gain greater rewards for completing them. Some of them have eight matches, and some four. It all depends on the challenge and the level. Some of them even have set modifiers like double speed, health globes that drop at times to refill your health, and some that even deal damage to you. If anything, the Multiverse offers a great amount of content that will see some exciting developments over the next few months. Completing these events in the Multiverse will be your main objective, as it is the best way to get the game's biggest and if not the best new feature, loot.

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I never knew I would ever farm for something in a fighting game, and Injustice 2's new loot and gear system gives you all the reason to keep playing once you have completed the main game. Every character can be modified with pieces of gear that change their appearance and stats. Although these stats only matter in specific modes, the appearance is what really counts. Opening boxes that you obtain in the Multiverse and other modes, each box will reveal a couple of items which will be randomly generated for different fighters. Each fighter can equip this gear if you are on the right level. The best thing about it all is that these items come in different rarity from common to epic, and each also changes the look of each fighter from a subtle point of view to an extreme one. Weapons and even hairstyles can be found in the game, and they all have some sort of buff on stats. Harley Quin's pot hat, for example, is an epic piece of gear that boosts her strength and ability power. Then you get some gear that focuses on mainly a set stat. 

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The gear system is unique, and to be honest there was nothing better than starting off with a roster of fighters who looked simple and original to their characters in the DC Universe, and ending up with a set of them that looks as epic as ever. Shaders have been so carefully chosen to bring out the best of the fighters too, so new gear, plus the shaders, makes for a limitless customization feature. There are even epic skins that completely change the look of the fighter, and the gear equipped still affects the stats even though you cannot see it on them due to the skin change. All this comes together so well in the end as you level up your favourite fighter, gather gear, and then test your strength while looking as epic as ever in the Multiverse that changes every day, and even online matches. 

Online was bliss, to say the least, stable connections, no lag at all, and overall enjoyable experience. If I ever did experience lag, then there was a neat option that let me turn a lag input delay on to be able to cope with it. Overall, however, it was simply flawless and added yet another great mode to an already-packed experience. 

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Injustice 2 is the pinnacle of fighting games, and it seems to have perfected the formula. I can find zero faults in it, and I highly recommend you give it a go. Sure you might be thinking that hanging out until next year comes around when Warner Bros releases the "ultimate edition" with all the DLC fighters in it, might be a good idea, but you are seriously missing out on one of the best fighting games in years. A fighting game that breaks boundaries 

Available on: PS4, PC, Xbox One | Reviewed on: PS4 Pro | Release Date: 19 May 2017

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