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Let me say from the off that I am not particularly good at fighting games like of the StreetFighter type and INJUSTICE 2 fits that genre in a general manner. The reasons I am not good at them is they move so fast that I don't know which buttons to press and when to press them, well actually I have a fair idea of which buttons to press as there are only a finite number on the PS4 controller, so my way of playing this game style is to rapidly press every button as often and as together as I physically can, while waggling the movement lever up, down, back and forth in an equally manic and random manner. I may not be very good but I do see and understand the attraction of this wild, crazy, violent without being gory, fun action combat. In fact I am having a hoot playing it. I will add that I am not totally up to date with the Batman story, in fact with the whole super-hero universe (Marvel and DC) - my main memories are still of Adam West, Burt Ward, Burgess Meredith, Cesar Romero, Frank Gorshin and all the original TV show stars, though I have watched all the latest movies and television shows so I am trying to get my act together. Having knowledge of the current DC Universe is of no consequence to playing INJUSTICE 2 except that you will recognise the characters quickly and will almost certainly appreciate their special moves and equipment more than someone like myself - though I quickly learned to get out of the way of Grod's Fists and Feet for instance.

The Universe in which INJUSTICE 2 is set is actually not one that everyone will be familiar with. Most DC fans will know that the movies and comic books have, for the past number of years, darkened the Batman story, and now in INJUSTICE 2 and the prior game INJUSTICE: GODS AMONGST US they have created a new hard-boiled Batman whose intentions are wiping all crookedness off the face of the Earth and placing all the perpetrators in huge prisons like Gotham's Arkham Asylum. How he captures them or what state they are in after he has done so is of no consequence to him, just as long as they are alive and locked up. In this Universe Superman, Robin, Wonder Woman and many others are in agreement with Batman wanting to clean up the streets but they prefer to see the Villains executed rather than arrested. Seeing and hearing your favourite Super-Heroes acting like an angry mob of vigilantes is a real eye-opener and quite startling.

INJUSTICE 2 has its own reward system. Depending on how well or speedily you win a fight various awards are given. These can be used to gain new gear for your characters - there being specific equipment and buffs available for each of the playable characters. The stage back-grounds against which the fighting takes place is not your standard matte. Objects such as upside-down crocodiles (maybe it's an alligator?), dinosaurs and various other objects hang on ropes, and swing wildly when slammed into by the combatants who get to throw each other around like rag dolls. Some of the Villains have a speed/strength skill that allows them to charge at your character. To counter this your characters have various objects etc that they can call on to run over the Villains - the Batmobile, a pet dinosaur odd creatures etc. Gorilla Grod, for example, depends on his powerfully abnormal strength whereas Harley Quinn utilises her twin Rhino's (her guns), grenades and dynamite sticks as well as a baseball bat etc.

  
If you were quick on ordering your copy you got the bonus of fighting as Darkseid.

I have played for a number of hours and spent many of those retrying every combat until I finally hit the buttons in the correct order and win the fight. Before and after every contest there is a movie-style sequence where more about the story is discovered. The more I continue into the game the more DC characters, well known to me and some not so well known to me, come into play. Once you have won a fight the defeated character backs away and lets you go on to the next encounter, again after a cinematic sequence. Also if you hit the right combo during combat you can trigger a visual effect over which you have no control, but it only lasts seconds and you have to be ready to continue as soon as the movie stops. 

Some of the combat is ridiculously comic book, probably even beyond comic book and into the realms of Tom & Jerry: - for example Robin running Batman right through with a katana-style sword through the stomach so that it comes out of his back and then Batman gets up and continues to fight as if nothing had happened to him, not even a splinter. Now we all know that Batman isn't a "Super" Hero in as much as he isn't from another planet, he wasn't bitten by a radioactive spider, didn't fall into any kind of toxic waste etc he is just a "super" fit human with lots of gadgets and bulletproof clothing and equipment, so how can he be impaled two or three times during a single fight and not be bothered physically or mentally.

  

Sometimes you may have more than one Hero under your control, such as when Batman leaves Green Arrow and Black Widow to go off one way while he goes another, you get to choose whether to fight with Green Arrow or Black Widow. Probably they are well balanced, but with different special moves, but for my wild way of playing I have found that Green Arrow has proven to be more successful than Black Widow, her "scream" providing more of a knock back than causing damage. Throughout the game the video cuts are simply cinematically awesome, in fact there are times I wish I could just sit back and watch rather than play. This isn't a sleight on the game or the game play it is meant as a salute to the excellence of the creators, the story scripters and the animators (or however they create such amazing visuals).

 
Superman is no longer the fluffy-bunny of the origi nal comic books

The game is set out in Missions or Chapters. The first of these is GODFALL where you control Batman. Not the Batman you might remember as the nice guy but the Batman who has been prominent in the jailing of Superman and other Super-Heroes as well as many of the infamous villains we all know and "love". The Joker is dead, Harley Quinn is working for Batman due to her brilliance with computers, Robin (Damian Wayne, the son of Batman and Talia al Ghul) is unhappy with Batman's capture and not kill attitude which has caused the death of many innocents as well as friends and so it isn't surprising that one of the first combats you have as Batman is against Robin.

I have to mention the quality of the movie sequences especially the one near the beginning when Kara-El (soon to become Supergirl) is seen on Krypton wearing a light blue leather outfit. The character is amazingly detailed and life-like, the leather, in particular, is so realistic if I had been playing in VR or 3D I would have been able to smell it. (Having written that, although I know what I mean it does sound a little creepy - help me out readers please by remembering the first time you put on a leather coat with that fresh smell of new leather .)

 
Batman is more "steely" than Superman    

In Godfall we see Kal-El as a baby wrapped in blue and red blankets and Kara-El getting into her rocket-ship and escaping Krypton just as her mother is killed. As the two rockets zoom away from Krypton the planet explodes with the blast sending them towards an asteroid belt which knocks them off course. From the beginning it looks like you are watching a film where you are the Director as well as several of the characters. Apart from fighting Robin, you tangle with Superman, Cyborg and Wonder Woman outside and inside the entrance to Arkham Asylum. We also meet Dinah Lance and Oliver Queen.

 
With Harley Quinn at the fingertips of your PS4 controllers the fun just rolls on and on.     

The GIRL WHO LAUGHS:
Enter Deadshot, Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, the Joker (yes even "dead" he gets into the action) and Swamp Thing are opponents of the dextrous Harley Quinn. Sometimes the banter between the combatants is so hilarious you (well at least "me") may forget that you are supposed to be fighting, especially between HQ and Poison Ivy. Harley is upset when the Joker appears through the fog but she is no longer under his spell and she is more than capable of kicking his green butt (just assuming).

All characters have special moves and actions that are unlike any I have seen in fight games before. There are the usual punches, kicks, grabs and throws but these are augmented by more and varying combo's that can be kept going if you are good enough on the controller. You can send out a chain or leash to pull someone towards you, hitting them hard as they arrive in front of you, you can toss them against the 3D back drops, you can even fly them high into the air and then zoom down so they headbutt the floor as they land; every character, Hero and Villain, has their own specific Combo which only they can perform. 

    

The BRAVE and the BOLD:

   

The SOCIETY: Cheetah, Catgirl/woman, Captain Cold, Deadshot, Bane, the massive talking monkey GROD the Gorilla, Dr Fate (wants to save Oliver and Natasha by teleporting them away and out of the City) and the mainline header Brainiac.

In INVASION  the Flash speeds into play.

     
My three favourite Heroes when I was growing up (not that I am admitting to growing up) The Flash, Green Arrow and Green Lantern

 
If you look closely you can see Wonder Woman's Invisible Jet in the background.

The Ankh's of DOCTOR FATE cause major problems to anyone who opposes him. He begins as if he is a nice guy but gets nasty very quickly and turns into a real Ankher- Santa won't be visiting him, that's for sure. The game is a gripping glossary of DC's major cast of Heroes and Villains that you can play, enjoy and get frustrated and excited by.

INJUSTICE 2 is superior in nearly every way to almost every FIGHT game available and the graphics and animations allowed by the excellent PS4 Pro brings the characters right into your room in full glorious life-like colour and vibration. If you enjoy fight games and especially if you are a fan of the current take on Super-Heroes and Villains then this is a game the likes of consoles such as the PS4 Pro were designed for.

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015