NetherRealm has been on a roll since 2011’s Mortal Kombat reboot, and with the release of Injustice 2, it’s come one step closer to perfecting its particular brand of fighting game. Injustice 2 is dense, deep, and refined, but also accessible to newcomers thanks to relatively simple move lists and a variety of rewarding new gameplay opportunities. The addition of gear makes the biggest splash in this regard, allowing you to craft a personalized hero or villain, both inside (with stat boosts) and outside (with elaborate costume upgrades)–all while maintaining the game’s balanced roster. There are some complications to gear management that may frustrate, but minor gripes aside, character growth and customization proves to be the biggest boon for an already strong fighting game set in a fractured DC Comics universe.

It may sound unusual for a fighting game, but Injustice 2’s story is a prominent feature, told through a multi-hour campaign filled with NetherRealm’s most impressive cutscenes to date. An ideological gulf divides the Justice League; Superman’s desire to execute criminals is at odds with Batman’s non-lethal approach to justice. This conflict is woven throughout the story, but the arrival of Brainiac temporarily unites the League against a common enemy. Though some interactions and events come off forced as you battle mind-controlled allies and true enemies alike, these narrative shortcuts are ultimately there to introduce you to the large and eccentric character roster.

The cast sees the return of familiar faces–the likes of The Flash and Green Lantern–but also introduces unlikely fan favorites such as the blood-barfing Red Lantern Atrocitus and the plant-based behemoth, Swamp Thing. The nearly 30 characters offer a broad range of super powers and fighting styles, and each has a distinct trait that can instantly trigger a status buff or summon an underling in the middle of a fight.

DC’s famous faces have never looked better, but the real star of the show is the fighting system, which consists of a mix of hand-to-hand combat, super powers, weapons, and environmental hazards. How characters fit into these styles of combat differs, but as is the norm for NetherRealm’s games, most attacks feel hefty and deliberate at first. Special moves and combos are easy enough to learn, but it takes time and practice to get combo timing under your skin–to move fluidly from one attack to the next.

Still, newcomers can easily impress each other with simple two-button Super moves that pause the action for an absurd and cinematic combo attack, or halt an incoming combo attack by activating Clash–a move that forces players to gamble segments of their Super meter in hopes of regaining health or inflicting damage. In the hands of a new player, clashing can provide an escape plan. In the hands of a pro, it opens up a mind game that can drastically alter the playing field.

Injustice 2 provides basic, practical tutorials for every mechanic and each character’s notable attacks, though neither avenue goes in-depth enough to satisfy prolonged research. The most specific info you can find pertains to frame data for each attack, but this will only be helpful if you already understand the esoteric terms therein and how their measurements apply in action.

Ref: Game Spot