Injustice 2: Accessibility Review


The copy of the game used in this review was provided by the studio behind the game, at no cost to the reviewer. I'd like to thank NetherRealm Studios for providing me with this opportunity.


Injustice Gods Among us wasn't the first fighting game to work with DC characters. That title, as far as I'm aware, goes to Midway Games' last effort before they went bankrupt, Mortal Kombat VS. DC Universe.

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.

Online Play

Before I jumped into Story mode, I decided to play a few matches online, skipping the introductions. This wasn't the ideal way round, but it did serve as a testing ground to see if the netcode lives up to the high bar set by Killer Instinct, which normally runs with little to no lag. So much so that Killer Instinct players have come with no tournament experience and done well just on the basis of online practice.

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.

Ranked Mode

I don't usually play ranked in fighting games that much, though I did with Killer Instinct (partly to get all the achievements I could, though this is the only time I ever played ranked to a great extent). I thought I'd give I2's a shot, even if it was just for the achievement for winning 10 ranked matches.

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.

Spoiler-Free Story Thoughts

Compared to IGAU's story mode, I2's counterpart is certainly an improvement, at the very least in the sound design and voice acting departments. However, the writing of certain characters, or more specifically one character, was unfortunately where the story fell flat for me. The character in question is none other than Superman, for those who are wondering.

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.

The Gear system

Now, we come to the part some readers were probably waiting for. The Gear system, a selling point for the title, is unfortunately, as of the time of release, completely inaccessible without sighted assistance.

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.

A quick note on Premier Skins

Premier Skins, whilst they do change the character's name (in certain cases) and lines, are very tricky to get working without sight. You have to add them as a part of the loadout, as explained in slightly greater, if less accessible detail, in these instructions, not written by me. However, the characters don't have their names spoken in the customisation screen. Even though the process after selecting a character is simple, the obstacle of having no announcements is a large one.

More information

If you'd like to see the rough notes I compiled over the course of writing this review, you can find them here on a separate page. Keep in mind that they might be updated with additional information as well





For fans of IGAU, this game might just feel like a rehash with a new story and updated visuals. However, this game packs in a large amount of content that is interesting and would, if made fully accessible, keep those without sight entertained for numerous additional hours.

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.

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