Despite not really being a fan of fighting games – other than Super Smash Bros. – Injustice 2 became one of my favourite games of 2017. A noticeable effort went into making it a game that appealed to people like me; there is an exceptional story picking up where the original Injustice: Gods Among Us left off, and the Multiverse supplies endless replayability for solo players who don’t want to get destroyed online. A lot of my gaming time went into that game last year, maxing out my favourite characters like Green Arrow and getting new gear for them. With the long tail of DLC characters coming, I could see myself playing Injustice 2 for a long, long time. Yet, the DLC strategy has sadly failed to retain my interest.
Let’s be clear here – I’m a huge fan of DC and their characters, which is another major draw of the Injustice series for me. Having that investment before even starting the game gives Injustice 2 a big advantage compared to the likes of Street Fighter or Tekken, which are very foreign worlds to me. Using Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, or even side characters like Robin give an extra level of enjoyment to my time with the game, especially as the history of the characters is used brilliantly in opening exchanges and mid-fight clashes.
The concept of DLC opened up more possibilities in my mind for characters they could introduce. Once we got to see the silhouettes of the hidden characters, that only added fuel to the fire (check out this Jeremy Jahns video to see I’m not the only one), with some characters being clear – only Black Manta has a head shaped quite like that – but others bring more ambiguous. I was quite hoping to see major DC personalities like Batgirl (DLC in the first Injustice) or Shazam return, after being noticeably cut in the transition from the first game. Also, with Injustice 2 already introducing many side characters that have rose to prominence in the CW TV “Arrowverse”, maybe Killer Frost or Arsenal would be sweet additions.
With my Deluxe Edition of the game, I got the first DLC Pack of 3 fighters included. This meant Red Hood, Sub-Zero, and the highlight, Starfire. Red Hood was ultimately quite a generic, ranged weapons-focused fighter, and sort of just another version of the Robin persona. Sub-Zero was a character from Mortal Kombat, and a reference to the origins of developers NeatherRealm. I had very little enthusiasm for him, but it was a one-off; it was fine, and some fan service for fans of that series. Starfire was the pick of the bunch, a reference to the beloved Titans (a group of younger superheroes, including Nightwing and Wally West). Her space-faring powers were something we hadn’t quite seen before, and she brought a colourful look with her to Injustice 2. Starfire was the only character I played with of these 3, despite having access to all of them – and that was the start of my interests waning.
DLC Pack 2 was another step down in my eyes. Again, I see the appeal to fans of having Hellboy in Injustice, I really do, and my personal happiness with the DLC choices doesn’t have to reduce the enjoyment other gamers have with the game. My point here is that Injustice 2 did such a good job to bring in new players with the accessible story, solo game modes, and perhaps most importantly, the DC affiliation. I feel the DLC forgot that. We got Black Manta – shock, eh? – and Raiden, who are two neat characters, but not top-tier names of DC in my eyes. Now DLC Pack 3 has also been confirmed, including Enchantress (recently seen as a belly-dancing Cara Delevigne in the film Suicide Squad), Atom, and… the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? What?
Look, don’t shoot me, but I am indifferent to the Turtles – though I recognise their cultural significance and the massive fanbase around the property. But again, the DLC pack is being led by a non-DC character(s), when the DC property is a big reason why I came to love this game so much in the first place. It must be said that Atom is a great choice, being prominent in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow – though Enchantress is, like a Black Manta, more of a lesser-known character. I would be all for the more obscure choices if there weren’t gaps in the roster of big-hitters. No Shazam? No Nightwing?
I’ve been meaning to get back to Injustice 2 for a while. The Legendary Multiverse was a superb extension of the base Multiverse mode, giving you (frankly ridiculous) long-term tasks for each character. The reward for the commitment is extra special gear, and completing this with Green Arrow or Supergirl was appealing for me. I also have yet to 100% the Story Mode – but I’m just not finding myself booting up Injustice 2. The DLC should have been a sure-fire way to keep the attention of those who came for the DC characters, but the focus has instead moved to crossovers with other series. Knowing your audience is a crucial part of the success of any product, and Injustice 2 has lost its way a little bit for this small segment of that audience; I can confidently say that I am in the minority by saying that I’m not overjoyed that the Turtles took one of the 9 DLC slots. Come on, though, wouldn’t Batgirl have been cool?
You may have an urge to tell me I am wrong after reading this. If so, you can leave me a comment below!