But that didn't stop IGAU from making waves when it hit the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in its original release, subsequently coming to PS4 and PC in the form of the Ultimate Edition and the Xbox One via backwards compatibility.
Being the first NRS game to do so, IGAU set a precedent for accessibility options, adding in additional sound cues for when players were able to use interactive objects.
This trend was carried through in to Mortal Kombat X, the studio's next release, but I wanted to take the time to discuss whether this newest entry in the superhero fighting franchise lives up to the hype. Not just from a writing and gameplay standpoint but also an accessibility one, given how far technology has come since the first game in this relatively new series.
Though in Injustice 2 there is a very serious bug with sounds panning and defaulting to the centre channel, the online experience presented myself and a fellow player without sight with no problem, save for the unlocking of gear discussed later. Moreover, the fact that music, when I did go into story mode, didn't stop playing in the background of a relatively important cutscene was very jarring to say the least. Hopefully these issues can be worked out in a future patch to the game.
Whilst it was easy to get into the mode, I discovered that once I did, it was tricky given that either I'd seemingly face players who continuously zoned, or jumped just to have a way of getting in. Jumping in fighting games is a general issue without sight, at least in my personal experience.
However, I kept getting frustrated at the amount of ducking going on in the game, to avoid either projectiles or high attacks, thus nullifying them completely. Whilst it does make the game more patience-oriented, which I do like at times, the pace did then slow to a crawl as you tried to get in and were promptly hit away by a wayward uppercut.
However, in all the matches I played, the connection felt solid and the only reason matches disconnected was because of my opponents.
After playing the aforementioned online exhibition matches, I jumped into story mode.
Whilst the rest of the characters seem to have a reason behind their actions and motivations (with even Wonder Woman having a slightly skewed version of this), the man of steel seems to be the most one dimensional, driven by one emotion and not much else.
His hatred for all crime after the events of IGAU and his time leading the regime unfortunately make him nowhere near as likable as he could be, when he returns to combat by a new threat. Superman's characterisation in this story mode also makes certain events and moments in the latter part of the story seem underdeveloped, but I won't go into those for fear of spoilers. I know he's not meant to be liked when he returns to the forefront of battle, but I'd at least like him to feel more emotionally believable instead of being on a single level.
One interesting feature is the ability to choose your character in certain pre-determined sections of story mode. However, like the menus and gear system, they suffer from accessibility issues that would be rendered moot by the use of the Microsoft API allowing speech systems on the console or potentially in Windows 10 to be used for menus and other spoken elements. Such elements would need to, so as not to exclude those without sighted assistance from as many achievements as possible, include inform the user of potential character choices in the aforementioned story sections.
Going back to that point on writing briefly, given that there are two endings to the game, I do wonder which will be accepted as the "true ending" for the game and whether that might lead to interesting character developments in the future of the franchise.
The mode feels sufficiently lengthy for a big budget title like this and the lead villain doesn't disappoint with his first reveal. That being said, it's almost a shame that we don't see how a larger cross section of the roster interact with or react to him. Given the improvements to sound design and story progression (no more of those frustrating minigames from IGAU), this mode will at least keep you coming back to finish the rest of the related achievements if nothing else. That's certainly worth something, I'd say.
This does also mean that a large percentage of the unlockable content is inaccessible. As much as I might start to sound like a broken record, the integration of the Microsoft API tapping into Narrator's speech systems would greatly boost the ability not only for those without sight to more fully enjoy the game in general, but also allow for an easier time when the developers come to add new gear as the game's lifecycle goes on.
However, much of the entertainment provided by additional content is currently locked behind an accessibility wall. It is up to NRS to bring down this wall via integration of the API for Xbox. Though this would leave PlayStation 4 users behind, Sony would then be forced to catch up, thus imposing a need for greater competition.
Accessibility centric frustrations aside, with the fairly elaborate story mode and well written character interactions mid-game, Injustice 2 is a firm improvement over its predecessor. But with the Gear system and the frustratingly overpowered zoning at the time of initial release, I don't know if I can fully recommend this game at the current time. As and when things change, I'll update this review.
Again, I'd like to thank NetherRealm Studios for giving me the opportunity to review this game for accessibility.
Back to the main reviews and guides page