|You couldn't just give us costumes?|
There's no arguing that Netherrealm's approach to the fighting game is more appealing to me than anyone else's. The system they started with last-generation's Mortal Kombat reboot, and carried through the first Injustice, then Mortal Kombat X/XL, and now Injustice 2, is a system that lets you basically find your depth and have fun there.
I mean, I want to like Street Fighter. Honest I do. I frequently buy cheap copies of the most recent Street Fighter and try to get me and my friends into it. But the best stuff, the flashiest, funnest stuff, is locked behind a wall of skill that nobody ever gets to because it's no fun getting up to that learning curve. The NetherRealm games let you do cool stuff out of the box with a few basic button presses and then , once you're hooked, you can start learning deeper mechanics until you're happy or comfortable.
So Injustice 2 has that going on all over the place, with tons of new characters, tons of new stages, gorgeous graphics, a surprising amount of restraint in the male gaze department, and basically everything you'd want in an Injustice sequel. Plus tons of stuff you don't.
Injustice 2, on consoles, has FOUR in-game currencies. A money one, an important one, an online guild one, and one that lets you mess with your items. That is fucking ridiculous. This is a full price retail fighting game, not Clash of Motherfucking Clans. This makes the Krypts from the Mortal Kombat games seem like a simple and straightforward method of unlocking shit.
And speaking of unlocking shit. Look, I'm not proud to admit that I splurged on the Ultimate Edition. But frankly, if I'm spending Ultimate Edition money, maybe I shouldn't still have to grind out Source Crystals to unlock three to four "Premium Skins" which turn characters into different characters (same moves, new everything else, i.e. Captain Cold becomes Mr. Freeze). Maybe I shouldn't have to drop six more bucks on the preorder character (Darkseid). Maybe I shouldn't have to fiddle.
This game has SO MUCH FIDDLING. There's the armor system, which basically takes the idea of alternate character costumes, breaks the costumes up into five pieces, gives each piece a stat bonus, then doles out hundreds of pieces to you randomly via opening boxes, some more mobile game bullshit. Oh and the armor pieces also have level requirements and the characters can all be leveld up from 1 to 20 and there are up to five loadouts and also color combinations and ENOUGH ALREADY.
I bought Injustice 2 so I could punch people in the face with lasers. I didn't buy it so I could spend hours farting around virtual wardrobes for stat-boosting shin pads. But that's what you're gonna have to do.
The Story Mode is great, full of classic DC animation voice actors and a reasonably solid story about Brainiac and a cadre of villains posing a threat to both Batman's forces of good and Superman's defeated forces of criminal-murdering authoritarians. A lot of plot stuff is papered over, of course, and there's a bunch of nerd references in the dialogue that cannot be read naturally by professionals so it sounds clunky as fuck, but beyond that, it's solid.
The super-moves are a smidge disappointing this time around. Some of them are clever, but a lot of them are variations on what we saw in INjustice 1 - Firestorm, for example, inexplicably pulls his opponent into a red lava cave like Scorpion did. Why? Not Firestormy at all. The Flash's is awesome, though.
It's still worth a purchase, but be warned that it's aggressively monetized, aggressively fiddly, and a year from now will probably be available in a $20 Game of the Year edition with everything unlocked and all the DLC and shit.