The DC Comics fighting game sequel thwomp pows and biffs its way on to PC, but how does it hold up?
Much like the first game, Injustice 2 has been a long time coming on PC – at least we didn’t have to wait for a Game of the Year Edition this time. On consoles Injustice 2 was considered a triumph, one of the best games of the year and possibly the best selling fighting game of all time. However, the PC port of Injustice: Gods Among Us was a little lacking, so hopefully Netherrealm and Warner Bros won’t fall into the same trap.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are coming to Injustice 2!Check out our list of the Top Batman Games on PC!
In the first Injustice game, Superman was tricked into murdering Lois Lane and destroying Metropolis by the Joker and becomes unhinged, turning himself and the former Justice League into despots who rule the planet. Batman, with the assistance of the “regular” Earth-1 Justice League, ousted the Regime and put Superman, Wonder Woman, and their other compatriots behind bars. Now several years later, a new threat is rising and the remaining heroes might need Superman to defeat it.
Injustice: Gods Among Us was praised for its wonderful and extremely DC fanboy-friendly story mode, and Injustice 2 is even better in this regard. The graphics have been upped for starters, and it’s the animation that’s truly extraordinary – the facial capture is perfect, lifelike and fully expressive. The acting is great too, mixing veterans from the Justice League animated series with perfectly cast actors such as Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger, playing Scarecrow), Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator and Star Trek, playing Brainiac), and Alan Tudyk (Firefly, as Green Arrow, who he actually played on Young Justice).
The story is sizeable, well-written, and unlike the first game has plenty of opportunity to play more than one character. It even has an alternate “dark” ending. There are moments where rather convoluted events happen in order to provoke a fight, but then you remember you’re playing a fighting game and they kind of have to do that – believe me, it’s easy to forget. Oh, it’s occasionally very funny too. Mostly thanks to Green Arrow or Harley Quinn.
The fighting itself is, in a word, wonderful. Netherrealm have taken the Mortal Kombat style and satisfying mechanics and improved them even further. Their fighting game engine is slick, brutal, and massively fun to play, but most importantly they realize that non-fighting game fans of DC Comics will want to play Injustice 2 so they’ve kept things as simple as you want. Moves are generally straightforward to pull off, the tutorial tells you everything you need to know, and even if you barely touch beat-em-ups just pick a character, learn a few of their special moves, and you’ll be able to get through most fights – and enjoy them.
The inclusion of an Ability Meter helps with both Newbie Inclusion and Pro Domination, and as such is a work of genius. As you fight a Meter builds up to four bars. A single bar can be used with Right Trigger (on a gamepad) to cause extra damage with certain special moves, or dodge. All four bars filled and you can either do a Clash to gain back health (which can be defended against by spending Meter bars) or burned all at once to do a devastating Super Move. Using the Meter is clever and easy to do, but deciding when to use this Meter is key to success. And it adds to the fun, too.
In addition to the Story Mode, if you don’t want to face Online there’s also Multiverse, which is also wonderful. Essentially it’s an endless series of offline single-player challenges against AI opponents in themed matches. Sometimes you’ll get an Assist, sometimes gravity will be low, sometimes the floor will occasionally go on fire, and so on. Get through these and you get epic gear for characters and other rewards. Whereas so many fighting games focus on Online Multiplayer you could buy Injustice 2, play it every single day in Multiverse, never touch online and still enjoy yourself and have a reason to play.
Performance & Graphics
OS: Windows 7, 8.1 or 10 (64 Bit)
Processor: AMD FX-8350/Ryzen 5 1400 or Intel Core i5-3570/i7-3770
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: Nvidia GTX 770 4GB/AMD Radeon R9 290 4GB or better
Storage: 55GB Available Space
OS: Windows 7, 8.1, 10 64 Bit versions
Processor: AMD FX-9370/Ryzen 5 1600X or Intel Core i7-4770
Memory: 16 GB RAM
Graphics: Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB/AMD Radeon RX 470 4GB or better
Injustice: Gods Among Us was a fairly shaky port and we were hoping Injustice 2 would sort things out. Our test system is an AMD FX-6300 Six-Core Processor, 16 Gb RAM, Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti 4Gb, and Windows 10 64-Bit, and results were mixed. Plenty of PC gamers have reported that Injustice 2 runs perfectly for them, but we had issues. Without Frame-skipping turned on in Options the game ran in slow-motion, and when we did turn it on the game ran at the correct speed but skipping was occasionally very noticeable. Loading times were pretty bad too, especially compared to the PS4, which made Multiverse a little more annoying. It looks gorgeous though, certainly one of the best-looking fighting games around, even on lower settings.
Online at least things are far, far better than Injustice: Gods Among Us, where it was very difficult to get any sort of match. There are plenty of options, including the ability to turn off Gear, and we got matches frequently and quickly. Once in microphones are optional, and you both vote on maps and whether to have a rematch. During matches everything runs just fine, well, at least as well as the rest of the game anyway. We certainly triumphed at it enough to satisfy our curiosity.
The one thing we have to mention before we finish is the Gear system. Playing matches or opening Loot Crates (they’re harmless, we swear, and you get them for absolutely everything) gets you random Gear pieces to equip on characters that also offer bonuses – although as mentioned Online these can be switched off. You can create some truly bizarre and outlandish creations with Gear and the colour shaders available, and that’s part of the fun of Injustice 2. It’s a lovely addition and a great reason to keep playing the game. Yes, you can spend real money on things, but with the exception of new DLC characters or Premier Skins (which are basically new characters, just using an old character’s move set) you never need to.
We do have to sadly report though that there are a few things missing in the PC version of Injustice 2, although it’s up to you whether these are vital or not. Hellboy, the latest DLC character and one of the coolest, launched on console the same day as the PC version, but we still haven’t got the character. There’s no way to connect to either the Injustice 2 Mobile App or WBPlay, meaning you miss out on the bonuses for playing both.
And perhaps most annoyingly, the console versions have a big Justice League movie event going on right now – which the PC version has been left out of. Does this mean we’re going to get future events and DLC characters like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles either late or not at all? We hope so, as stuff like these are great incentives. Hopefully they’ll cycle back in.
INJUSTICE 2 VERDICT
Despite a few performance hiccups we encountered and the absence of a few of the more fun console perks or events, Injustice 2 on PC is a much better port than the first game or Mortal Kombat X. And a good thing too, because Injustice 2 is a superb fighting game. Combat is satisfying and is just as accessible to casual fans as professionals, and there’s an absolute wealth of content both online and offline that could keep you playing forever. The story mode is an absolute blast, with fun writing, acting and amazing facial animation, and sports a far better villain than the Justice League movie.
Injustice 2 is by far the best fighting game this year, and may very well be the best fighting game on PC.
TOP GAME MOMENT
Finishing the basic “Combat Simulator” Multiverse and discovering there’s more to the story.
Truly wonderful story mode, with excellent writing, acting, and animation
Combat mechanics are straightforward and satisfying
There’s an infinite amount of great content here, both offline and online
Online works perfectly and you can get matches easily, with a lot of different options. Hooray.
We encountered some framerate issues, especially when Frame-Skipping was off, but doesn’t seem to be affecting everyone
Missing or late fun console events, such as the Justice League multiverse battles and the Hellboy DLC