Review: Injustice 2 Mobile Isn't Quite a Flawless Victory, But It's Really Close
When Injustice: Gods Among Us came out for consoles, the mobile version could have just as easily been a tie-in product to promote one of the biggest fighting games on PC, Xbox, PlayStation and Wii U. But with amazing Unreal Engine graphics, quick action, and deep gameplay, Injustice became a mainstay on phones and tablets for nearly four years.
And now to coincide with the console release of Injustice 2, NetherRealms Studios has its mobile app cousin.
Parts Ain't Broke, So Don't Fix'em
In the same vein as what you'll remember from Injustice: Gods Among Us, this new Injustice game brings back the familiar fighting action with quick tag-in teammates. The DC Universe is well represented here, with old favorite heroes like Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman, plus villains like The Joker and Harley Quinn.
Like before, you fight your way through the single player challenges, with the option to take on other player teams in the PVP Arena. As you earn experience, you can upgrade your roster's base ability, their special moves, and personalized gear.
Your Kung-Fu is Strong
What has changed first and foremost with Injustice 2 is the fighting mechanic. In the original Injustice: Gods Among Us, you'd tap for a basic attack, swipe for a heavy attack, and hold to block. Then you'd build up to your special attacks -- and for many players, it was easy to get into a rhythm... maybe a little too easy.
Injustice 2 feels even more like a console fighting game now, because they've added a whole new dimension with character movement. You can swipe left to back up or flee attacks. Swipe right to lunge into your opponent or pursue. Down swipes perform a low attack, while swiping up performs an aerial assault.
You still hold to block and tap for quick attacks -- but now it's not just tap, tap, block, swipe, swipe, block etc. You have to change up your strategy and be ready for whatever the opposition brings. Old school Injustice players might be a little thrown at first. But I really welcomed this improvement.
And of course, the roster has grown. Characters like Dr. Fate, Gorilla Grodd, and Black Canary have joined the fray. You can be sure more will be coming later as the game grows.
Something I really dig is the addition of nameless thugs on the enemy side. And the baddies aren't limited to just 3 member tag teams. You might be facing 3, 4, even 5 or MORE enemies -- which can totally change your tactics.
Look at All the Goodies!
Injustice 2 showers you with upgrades, gear, and loot. Each character's special moves can be improved, special abilities can be unlocked and reset, and customizable outfits or objects can be added to your fighters as well.
Unlike the original game, where you bought a new character outright, you can find or earn shards to upgrade or unlock new fighters -- similar to DC Legends. There are other ways to increase your roster as well.
Another feature similar to DC Legends is the SIM cards, which let you repeat battles for extra loot without having to spend the time to actually fight them. Of course, you have to unlock the battle the old-fashioned way first.
Besides fighting single-player campaigns and duking it out in multiplayer, NetherRealms gives your team plenty to do. You can send unused team fighters on Operation Missions. These allow you to get experience while finding more coins and potential gear items.
And Now Our Feature Presentation...
If you played the console version of Injustice: Gods Among Us, you'll remember the single-player Story Mode. It followed various characters from Earth 1 as they encountered their Regime or Insurgency doppelgangers and tried to set the multi-verse back to normal.
This mode featured one-on-one battles, and you played whichever character was in the story for that chapter. Which was a pretty cool cinematic experience.
Injustice 2 brings this portion of the console game to the mobile app -- and it's gorgeous. Players get to see full-on cinematic animation leading into fights, then picking up for the next chapter. And since you can't use your own roster of fighters, it's not as easy as you'd think.
The new story picks up with Supergirl's origins and her journey to Earth, as it also recaps how Superman went all world-domination-y after Lois' death.
Getting Some Justice
Take it from an old-school gamer, who grew up playing NetherRealm's original Mortal Kombat games -- this team just keeps topping itself. And Injustice 2 is another achievement. The only thing holding me back from a perfect 10 review is that I did encounter some staggers or pauses in game play.
The Android phone I use is barely a year old with plenty of storage space, so the handful of inconvenient times the game froze on me were a little frustrating. So keep in mind that such a powerful app will need a top-end device to play properly. I'm hoping the performance issue is addressed in future releases.
Like the original mobile game, Injustice 2 is completely free to download and play, but it offers micro-transactions to help jump start your fight roster or get that one character you really, really want. You can pick it up now on Google Play and iTunes.
If you need help getting started with the game, check out our beginner's guide for Injustice 2 on mobile. And let us know what you thought of this new mobile fighter in the comments below!