By Daniel Dockery
I’m sorry, everyone. Whether you’re a friend that I promised to call back, or a family member that I swore I’d visit, or a co-worker that I agreed on a deadline with, I apologize to you all. You didn’t deserve this. You deserved a Daniel that was present and interested and engaged. And you got a Daniel that was playing Injustice 2.
Injustice 2, the sequel to 2013’s Injustice: Gods Among Us, is a fighting game that allows you to pit Batman against Superman, Wonder Woman against Green Lantern, and Gorilla Grodd against a Gorilla Grodd in a different costume. I wish I could explain more, but I feel like simple synopsis detracts from the beauty of this game. Its single player mode includes all of the themes that you expect from DC media at this point: “What are the limitations of a god?” “Should we be allowed to kill those that do us harm?” “Shut up, Robin.” But spliced in between the tenth grade English lesson is a bunch of people pummeling each other into radioactive bits.
It’s a beautiful system. Cut scenes (all of which are the perfect length) feature characters you know and love having conversations about alien invasions or how to apply morality to an immoral world. And then, boom, another team of characters that you know and love bursts in and beats the shit out of that first group of characters. You repeat this until every DC character in the game has either gotten the chance to get beaten up or has beat someone else up, and then it’s over. I won’t spoil the ending for you, because it, like the rest of the game, is pure radness.
Does the game play smoothly? That’s always a concern, especially when you’re dealing with a bunch of characters that aren’t exactly fighting game veterans. You can assume that a Street Fighter or a Tekken plays well, but a fighting game that has a glowing, cosplay Superman on the cover? Wouldn’t you just play as Superman and watch as the rest of the DC universe attempted to recover from a broken everything? Not here, because, luckily, the characters are pretty well balanced. Even Swamp Thing, who you’d imagine to be a lumbering pile of combo fodder, is a joy to control.
Do you need to have played the first game in order to enjoy this one? I guess. Injustice 2 is a direct sequel, but it’s not like Mortal Kombat, which feels like you’re walking into the middle of a NetherRealm in-joke with every dialogue scene. Let me put it this way: If you know what powers Superman has, you should be fine. And even that probably won’t matter much since the online play is where you’ll spend most of your time. Matchmaking is a breeze, and the game even lets you know how likely you are to win against your opponent. Thanks, game. I’m glad to be able to let you down as well.
Have I been waiting my entire life for Injustice 2? Honestly, yes. Was this game my one true destiny? Yes, again. How long will I be playing it? Is there even a way to measure that kind of time span? Did the creators of the pyramids look up at their wonders and say “Hmm. I give it a century, at most.” Did any deity ever gaze at mankind and think “This should be fun for a few weeks.” No, they didn’t. And so I don’t think it’s right to put a time frame on my enjoyment of Injustice 2. Like earth, fire, wind and water, my love for it is elemental. It is stronger than any human concept of time. 4.5 out of 5.