Injustice 2 Legendary Edition Review
Final Score 8.5/10 Injustice 2 Legendary Edition is the game we all wanted to arrive last year. This is the relaunched Definitive version of the game with all DLC characters and other upgrades. I did not get a chance to play Injustice 2 last year when it released, but I had enjoyed the first installment with Injustice Gods Among Us With the definitive version, I felt it was a perfect opportunity to circle back and give this game a review.
Watch the Legendary Edition Trailer here.
Cons: Players who patiently waited for the the legendary edition receive 10 additional characters and 5 “premier skins”. A “premier skin” is a somewhat lazy and easy way to add extra characters to the game without much extra work. Premier skins are characters that have shared moves, animations, abilities, but differ only in voice and outfit. For example, we see both Powergirl and Super Girl, Flash and Reverse Flash, Superman and Bizzaro Superman. These characters are different in comics, but they are similar enough in actuality that it is somewhat forgivable that these are done this way. For fans of these characters it is better to have them than not.
That being said, it should be realized that this game would be lacking 10 (15) characters than its current roster. In order to have received this full roster, players would have originally had to shell out 100$ for this. The Legendary Edition delivers us the game that reasonably should have been delivered a year ago. While time delivered us a game that is great, I don’t think that detail is very forgivable. It doesn’t help that the Legendary Edition dropped during all of this coverage we have seen for Super Smash Bros Ultimate. I feel Nintendo is making these other developers look bad who are launching fighting games with laughably small rosters and then charging 40$ for a few more characters. Sixty dollars for the roster that the Legendary Edition comes with is far more reasonable, that roster still feels like a minimum size. If I was to review this game without the 15 extra characters I feel like its score would suffer significantly.
Some other drawbacks to the game include how weird the ultimate moves are in a lore, environment, or even a repetitive stand point. Regardless of characters used, location of battle, or frequency used each character has ONE ultimate ability. This was one of my primary drawbacks with the original Injustice. These are super heroes, and you can battle them against any other hero in a variety of locations. So much detail is put into the variety of banter between heroes and the visuals themselves, it seems so empty to have one unvarying ultimate. It feels weird to see Deadshot shooting Superman. Literally he takes damage by bullets. It would be nice for heroes to have different ultimates that maybe change based on who they fight. Better yet, it would be nice to take a card from the racing genre. Imagine a racing game where a Honda Accord is racing and defeating a Lambo. It would look a little odd wouldn’t it? Well racing games break cars down by class and usually that restricts what can race against what so it is still fun. It looks weird to see Harley Quinn fighting Superman. Honestly it would just look and feel cooler if characters “felt” more powerful and were broken down into classes. Having characters with no powers fighting super beings like Superman just is odd. It makes the more powerful characters feel weak and nerfed. But even if you could ignore the power differences, it would just be nice if all characters had at least three ulitmates, especially since the original game launched with such a small roster. Some characters get a simple on map move, while others get a more spectacular cinematic one, but honestly for the 30th battle it gets old. Making them maybe less cinematic and offering more variety would be excellent. The ultimates just feel lazy and repetitive. They don’t take into account the opposing player, and often don’t account for the setting. You could be on a night map, and Superman’s Ultimate still flies out into the day sun lit sky. The biggest one is when you play on Brainiac’s ship, Brainiacs Ultimate still shows that same ship above you blasting down on the opposing player. Explain that one NetherRealm. The ultimates just simply break immersion. The biggest drawback is just how for an “legendary edition” the game feels normal in size of characters and maps. This game only goes to show a growing trend of developers releasing games that feel gutted and sold piece by piece in DLC, so much so that when you re-release the game a year later, it feels oddly whole? That being said, when viewed in a vacuum, viewing this game by itself, and ignoring its gutted first edition, makes the game finally feel finished and worth its 60$ launch price tag.
Now despite the cons, this game had many amazing pros that boost up the score. The biggest pro is that being a re-released Legendary Edition, this game does makes up for what would have felt like a hollow failure last year. Like I said, this IS the game we wanted last year. The characters are fun and unique. The facial animations are simply STUNNING. Many developers should stop and look at NetherRealm and bow down before them. Perhaps NetherRealm could make Mass Effect Andromeda 2? The story campaign feels like a high production DC animated movie with the occasional side view fighting. Now in a way, this at times felt like a negative, as it had almost a “high school musical” feeling where here you are watching this beautiful DC movie and out of nowhere characters start fighting in game. It is definitely somewhat broken immersion. People who are friends one second start beating each other to death in another. While this felt more like a movie with fighting gameplay mixed in, I’m not sure how else you could even build a fighting game with a story? While it had odd immersion; they do their best to make it make sense, and it is completely made up for in looking so good doing it. The story itself was fun and entertaining as it picks up after Injustice Gods Among Us. Superman is still the villain of the story. As a diehard Superman fan, it is so weird to see this else world story and see a Superman with compromised morals. They add more ethical dilemma and greyed morals to this story. In the first one Superman is simply grieving from a loss, while in this one Batman and Superman have a very reasonable disagreement on how justice and punishment should work. It adds real weight to the morals as these are questions society asks today. The story also dangles us a “lesser of two evils” story line as Batman needs to trust Superman again in order to defeat Brainiac. The story does a great job of keeping us on the edge wondering how that is going to resolve. Will the Justice League be reunited, or will it all come crashing down again? The game has two alternate endings which do no disappoint.
This game also has amazing mechanics. The moves and fluidity of the combat are just amazing. I’ve never had a more smooth fighting game experience. This game balances intuitive learnable controls that aren’t too intimidating for players who don’t frequent the fighter game genre, but at the same time offer up enough complexity and skill to hardcore fans of that genre. Now, despite what I said about wishing for characters to be put in classes to better fit a lore standpoint, in absence of said system, NetherRealm did at least give an amazing balance in the roster. I’ve played every character multiple times, and while I have favorites, none of them felt broken or cheap. The internal balance of the different characters just feels polished. I would like to have seen customization that offered more cosmetic variation and more alternate characters. Many of the customization options for characters only change the color scheme of their outfits slightly, with a focus on gear upgrades that actually affect stats. The problem with this is you will be constantly opening loot boxes filled with items that you also have to have the appropriate skill for so you can’t use it unless you grind with a character a lot. This feels like double the work, and so much of the gear just change the appearance slightly. It would have been much better to have a purely cosmetic loot box systems. It would have made balancing even better and make room for more characters. While I think more could be done, I can’t argue with the amount of gear and unlockables there are. Premier skins are the best as they change the look of a character the most, although it could be displayed more prominently to artificially inflate the roster with variant characters.
All in all, this is by far my favorite fighting game to date. We shall see what Soul Calibur VI and SSB bring to the table later this year. If you can’t wait any longer, picking up Injustice 2 is a great way to tide you over.